Monday, 25 June 2012

Adipocyte Hyperplasia - Good or Bad?

The answer is "It depends!".

The above plot is from Fig. 4 of Cytokine-mediated modulation of leptin and adiponectin secretion during in vitro adipogenesis: Evidence that tumor necrosis factor-α- and interleukin-1β-treated human preadipocytes are potent leptin producers and shows that leptin secretion from adipocytes increases non-linearly with increasing culture period.

As adipocytes fill, there's insignificant leptin secretion up to a certain level of fullness. Above that level of fullness, leptin secretion increases non-linearly. What this means is that reducing adipocyte fullness by x% reduces leptin secretion by more than x%.

If adipocytes become full due to a chronic caloric excess, there are two possibilities.

1a: If there is continued caloric excess, no preadipocytes are converted into adipocytes. There is no additional storage capacity available for excess nutrients, so they remain in circulation. T2DM has developed = bad.

1b: If there is subsequent caloric deficit, adipocytes start to deplete, storage capacity becomes available and T2DM goes away (if beta cells haven't been destroyed). The low number of fairly full adipocytes secrete sufficient leptin, so metabolic rate is high and hunger is low = good.
EDIT: This is the principle behind the DiRECT protocol.

2a: If there is continued caloric excess, pre-adipocytes are converted into adipocytes. This is adipocyte hyperplasia. There is additional storage capacity available for excess nutrients, so T2DM doesn't develop = good.

2b: If there is subsequent caloric deficit, adipocytes start to deplete. However, there are more adipocytes than in 1b, so for a given fat mass, adipocytes are less full than in 1b. The higher number of less full adipocytes secrete less leptin than in 1b, so metabolic rate is lower and hunger is higher than in 1b = bad.

Adipocyte hyperplasia is good for preventing T2DM as fat mass increases, but bad for metabolic rate and hunger after subsequent fat mass loss. Children are growing, so have adipocyte hyperplasia. Adults aren't growing, so have less/no adipocyte hyperplasia. Therefore, adipocyte hyperplasia during childhood will result in some protection from developing T2DM, but life-long misery due to increased hunger and reduced metabolic rate after subsequent fat mass loss. This is why I believe that children need to be protected from the persuasive marketing of manufacturers of CIAB (Crap-in-a-Bag/Box/Bottle).

See Beradinelli-Seip Syndrome – stick that in your pipe and smoke it and read the comments to see why adults with insufficient adipocytes are highly likely to develop T2DM. This is why Asians who remain skinny in childhood (so have no adipocyte hyperplasia) have a high risk of developing T2DM. Sumo wrestlers are Asians who become fat in childhood (so they have a lot of adipocyte hyperplasia) so they have a lower risk of developing T2DM.

According to Adipocyte Turnover: Relevance to Human Adipose Tissue Morphology:-
"Occurrence of hyperplasia (negative morphology value) or hypertrophy (positive morphology value) was independent of sex and body weight but correlated with fasting plasma insulin levels and insulin sensitivity, independent of adipocyte volume (β-coefficient = 0.3, P < 0.0001). Total adipocyte number and morphology were negatively related (r = −0.66); i.e., the total adipocyte number was greatest in pronounced hyperplasia and smallest in pronounced hypertrophy. The absolute number of new adipocytes generated each year was 70% lower (P < 0.001) in hypertrophy than in hyperplasia, and individual values for adipocyte generation and morphology were strongly related (r = 0.7, P < 0.001). The relative death rate (∼10% per year) or mean age of adipocytes (∼10 years) was not correlated with morphology."

If you want to remain slim, high fasting serum insulin due to hepatic and/or muscular insulin resistance and/or chronic overconsumption is bad.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Hyperinsulinaemia and Insulin Resistance - An Engineer's Perspective.

Another techie post.
There's been some arguing discussion over whether Hyperinsulinaemia (HI) causes Insulin Resistance (IR). My answer is...Yes and No.

HI increases IR, long-term. See Downregulation and upregulation: The Insulin Receptor and Insulin oscillation.

HI doesn't increase IR, short-term. How can I claim this? The above diagram represents a Negative Feedback (NFB) control system, which is how Blood Glucose is regulated.

"Input" represents Glucose from digested sugars and starches. The arrow pointing at AOL represents Blood Glucose (BG). The triangle containing AOL represents pancreatic beta cells. "Output" represents Insulin Secretion (ISec). More BG = More ISec.

The box containing ß represents three things that work in parallel to reduce Blood Glucose.
1) The Liver. More ISec = Hepatic Glucose Production rate decreased.
2) Muscle mass. More ISec = Glucose intake to Muscle mass rate increased, via Glu-T4.
3) Fat mass. More ISec = Glucose intake to Fat mass rate increased, via Glu-T4.
The three things aren't of equal strength, but they provide overall negative feedback.

If overall negative feedback is halved due to doubling of overall IR in the above three paths, ISec doubles. If you don't believe me, see Idealised Negative Feedback Inverting Amplifier using an idealised op amp on WolframAlpha. Double the value of resistance 2 (the negative feedback resistor R2). and the output voltage on the inverting amplifier doubles from -10V to -20V.

The idealised Negative Feedback Inverting Amplifier using an idealised op amp on WolframAlpha is interesting in that an idealised op amp (the triangle with + and - inputs) has infinity gain and ±infinity voltage on its power supplies. As a result, there is zero volts (output voltage divided by infinity) between the idealised op amp's + terminal and its - terminal. If the idealised op amp's + terminal is connected to 0V (a.k.a. "Earth"), its - terminal is at 0V (a.k.a. "Virtual Earth") and has zero variation, whatever the input voltage. An actual op amp has a voltage gain of ~140dB (~10,000,000), so an output voltage of -10V can be achieved with a voltage of 1uV (one millionth of a Volt) on its - terminal.

If pancreatic beta cells had a zero threshold and infinity gain like an idealised op amp, BG would be zero and have zero variation with varying Glucose input. Pancreatic beta cells actually have a positive threshold and low gain, so BG is positive and varies slightly with varying Glucose input.

If ISec becomes zero (as in type 1 diabetes), there is zero negative feedback and BG increases. The same thing happens to the voltage on the idealised op amp's - terminal if its power supplies are 0V instead of ±infinity.

If ISec becomes insufficient (as in type 2 diabetes), there is insufficient negative feedback and BG increases. The same thing happens to the voltage on the idealised op amp's - terminal if its power supplies are limited to ±5V.

Having established that ISec is proportional to overall IR, what would happen if overall IR was proportional to ISec? If ISec doubled, overall IR would double, which would double ISec, which would double overall IR, ad infinitum. ISec would increase to maximum instantly. THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN. Therefore, IR doesn't increase in proportion to ISec, short term.

Long-term, increased ISec increases IR for a variety of reasons, one of them being that increased ISec increases the rate at which cells fill with glycogen. Once full of glycogen, cells must down-regulate their intake by down-regulating Glu-T4 and Glu-T2 (fat and liver cells also up-regulate their output of stuff) or burst.

Reduce your IR by addressing all of the factors in Insulin Resistance: Solutions to problems.

Chris Highcock emailed me a link to Muscular strength and markers of insulin resistance in European adolescents: the HELENA Study.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Weird Filters.

Here's a weird picture.

Why is it that some people see the world through weird cognitive bias filters? It makes discussion with them impossible, as what I write is remixed with weird filters into something completely different. They then argue against something completely different, not what I wrote. This is the classic Straw Man argument.

Here are some examples of remixing with weird filters, taken from Insulin, the Un-dead and coffin nails.

1) ""A" is..." is remixed into "I believe that "B", "C", "D",..."Z" do not exist".

2) ""A" is caused by "B"" is remixed into "A is only caused by "B"". This is similar to 1).

3) "As cells are emptied (of glycogen)..." is remixed into "Once cells are completely emptied (of glycogen)...". The "As" at the beginning of the sentence signifies an ongoing process. Next time, I'll write "As cells are depleted (of glycogen)..." EDIT: Rewritten using c/p'ed text.

4) The statement "eating too much and moving too little" is remixed into "Gluttony and Sloth". Gluttony and Sloth are conscious actions. Eating too much due to ravenous hunger and moving too little due to lethargy/sleepiness are unconscious actions. Anybody who thinks that I mean/insinuate the former rather than the latter is an idiot/insane.

Having remixed what I wrote into something completely different, I am then accused of intellectual dishonesty. Oy!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Who, these guys?

No. I'm referring to Manufacturers of Crap-in-a-Bag/Box/Bottle (CIAB), or MOCIAB for short.

In Obesity is multi-factorial, spectra and other stuff, I mentioned Mayor of NYC Michael Bloomberg's ban on the use of cups larger than 16oz for the sale of sugary sodas. Note that Mayor Bloomberg is not trying to ban sugary sodas or tax anything. People are still free to buy as many cups of sugary soda as they want. However, the whining from people is deafening!

Surprise, surprise! MOCIAB have retaliated with the usual dirty tricks.

1) Lies, damned lies and MOCIAB statistics.
Cherry-picked studies, much?
2) Have a number of MOCIAB/pro-MOCIAB groups/sites drown-out good advice with bad. This is a standard marketing trick pioneered by Edward Bernays. Some examples of MOCIAB/pro-MOCIAB groups are:- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,,, and

In Psychological manipulation, there was a link to a story about a hypnotist who used his freedom of speech to influence women into "freely" handing him cash. So, why is he not allowed to use his freedom of speech to influence people (Italian police were hunting him) whereas MOCIAB are?

EDIT: I'll repeat it here, in case you missed it in the other post. Confessions of a former Dirty Rotten Scoundrel.

Friday, 8 June 2012

A comment, a simile and insanity.

1) The comment: I'm just about to leave the following comment on Peter (Hyperlipid)'s blog post Insulin and the Rewards of overfeeding. I thought that it was so good at summing-up, I'll post it here first!

Insulin increases the amount of glucose & FFAs entering fat cells, muscle cells & the liver.

Insulin decreases the amount of glycerol & FFAs exiting fat cells & the amount of glucose exiting the liver.

Hyperinsulinaemia (which can produce sedation) results when one or more of the following tissues loses insulin sensitivity:- fat cells, muscle cells & the liver.

So, why do people keep saying that hyperinsulinaemia locks nutrients away in fat cells only, thus robbing other cells of nutrients, thus causing lethargy?

The relative insulin sensitivity of tissues determines the relative partitioning of nutrients into those tissues.

When tissues lose sensitivity to insulin, blood glucose control becomes impaired. This results in roller-coaster blood glucose levels after eating high-glycaemic carbohydrates. A rapidly-falling blood glucose level causes ravenous hunger. I have experienced this during medically-monitored tests (OGTTs & an insulin shock test).

Low-carb/ketogenic diets don't result in a roller-coaster blood glucose level and therefore don't cause ravenous hunger. Simples!

Overeating due to ravenous hunger is NOT gluttony, just as under-moving due to sedation is NOT sloth.

THIS is gluttony."

EDIT: This didn't go in my comment but should have:- "Low-carb/ketogenic diets result in the avoidance of moreish & calorific foods such as sweets, chocolate, cake, biscuits, pizza, Pringles etc. A single bite of such foods has a negligible effect on blood glucose & insulin levels, but encourages another bite and another and another ad nauseam, due to Food Reward.

2) The simile: I use similes. I used the simile "As happy as a pig in shit" in a comment somewhere on Woos blog. Now, you may (or may not) have noticed that my user-name is Nigeepoo. We Brits are obsessed by two things - The weather and our bowel movements. I find things to do with poo and farting amusing (schoolboy humour, I know!). I used the simile "As happy as a pig in shit" because it is amusing.

3) The insanity: According to Woo in the following comment:-
"Re: the comment...Sorry, not convinced.
You are basically refusing to admit your choice of words implied moral judgement. The phrase "happier than a pig in shit" is always applied to examples of people being content in immorality/bad behavior particularly gluttony and sloth... unless it is used ironically. Only an autistic or a non-english speaker would believe this crap."

Woo, you are as mad as a March hare. IMO of course, like everything I write. Duh!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

"The Diet Debacle" debacle.

What's that funny smell?

According to Robert H. Lustig in The Diet Debacle,"If a calorie is a calorie, then any food can be part of a balanced diet; and, if we are what we eat, then everyone chooses what they eat."

Firstly, the first nutritional maxim isn't "A calorie is a calorie". It's actually "Where bodyweight is concerned, a calorie is a calorie". Leaving out the first four words makes a huge difference to the meaning.

Secondly, the second nutritional maxim actually means "Your body is made out of what you eat. Therefore, if you eat/drink rubbish, you get a rubbish body.

Apart from that, the rest of the article is absolutely fine*.

*The above sentence ending in "*" is pure irony. See also Review & Critique: The Skinny on Obesity ~ Intro and Part I and Review & Critique: The Skinny on Obesity ~ Part II Sickeningly Inaccurate.

The sad thing is that I actually sympathise with Robert H. Lustig's aim, which is to reduce the humongous amount of sugar that Americans shove down their throats in solid or liquid form each year.

I don't want to come across as a Socialist Asshole (it's Arsehole, Sean!), but intervention is sometimes needed to stop certain humans and groups thereof (e.g. companies/corporations) from harming other humans and groups thereof (e.g. the general population).

In City of New York Bureau of Food Discipline, Sean wrote "Never mind that the record of government diet intervention is abysmal, this time it will work." I can't speak for the US, as I don't know how things work over there. Here in the U.K, DEFRA aims to maintain standards in the way that crops are grown and in the management of farm animals. The FSA aims to maintain standards for food safety, although they do occasionally issue some dubious nutritional advice (read the comments to see some familiar names).

Just because government agencies occasionally cock things up, does that mean that we should have zero government intervention where food is concerned? I obviously think not!

See also What Is Food? and Former Coke executive slams ‘share of stomach’ marketing campaign.

Addendum: If (as I believe) corporations should be prevented from unduly influencing the general population in their food choices by banning all advertisements for foods & drinks, then governments should also be prevented from unduly influencing the general population in their food choices by banning food policies and crop subsidies. All that governments should do food-wise is enforce food safety standards.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Of mice and men, Kleiber's Law & FIRKO.

More musings from my fevered brain!

I remembered a discussion on Hyperlipid about FIRKO mice.

Note: FIRKO stands for Fat Insulin Receptor Knock Out and it results in White Adipose Tissue (WAT) having vastly reduced uptake of nutrients, thus inhibiting gain of WAT. Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) has up-regulated uncoupling proteins i.e. BAT produces heat.

Of great interest was that, in a study where a FIRKO mouse's VMH (VentroMedial Hypothalamus) was deliberately damaged, the mouse ate more food but didn't gain weight. This appears to defy Energy Balance theory.

Mice weigh ~30g, so they can't burn much energy through physical activity. How can mice eat more food but not gain weight?

Peter Dobromylskyj gave me the answer. As a veterinary surgeon, he works on rodents, so he knows about this. Rodents under anaesthesia easily get hypothermia. Mice have a high surface area to mass ratio (see the above graph) compared to adult humans. As heat is lost through the skin, small animals like mice are at a disadvantage when it comes to heat conservation. They have behaviours for conserving heat e.g. covering themselves in bedding (which reduces heat loss) or huddling together in groups (which reduces overall surface area to mass ratio). Anaesthesia prevents heat conservation behaviours.

Any excess energy intake that cannot be stored due to FIRKOisation is disposed of by increased heat production in BAT and increased heat loss by reduced heat conservation behaviours.

Most adult humans have a tiny amount of BAT, so they can't do this. If an adult human raises their metabolic rate significantly (say, by taking 2,4-Dinitrophenol), they tend to die from hyperthermia.

You could try sitting in a bath of cold water. ;-p That would make me really cold and hungry (and wet!), so I would eat ravenously afterwards. But that's me. Your Mileage May Vary.

See also It’s the Calories, Stupid.

Obesity is multi-factorial, spectra and other stuff.

This post is a hotch-potch of thoughts that are currently whizzing around in my brain.

1) Obesity: Like just about everything in life, obesity is multi-factorial. Each factor may have only a small impact on obesity. Tackling one factor alone won't solve the problem. Every factor has to be tackled, one at a time.

So, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announcing a ban on sales of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, delis, sports arenas, and movie theaters won't solve the obesity problem, but it will help.

EDIT: In shops and supermarkets in the UK, tobacco products now have to be kept out of sight. I'd like to see the same thing happen to Crap-In-A-Bag/Box/Bottle (CIAB).

2) Spectra: As also mentioned in my first link, there is a spectrum of fatness in the general population which probably follows a bell distribution curve. From skinniest to fattest, there are people who are:-
Extremely skinny. Very skinny. Skinny. A bit skinny. Average. A bit fat. Fat. Very fat. Extremely fat.

If you take somebody in a category who isn't currently consuming CIAB and introduce CIAB to their diet, what happens? They move to a category to the right. Therefore, it's possible for there to be very skinny people who consume CIAB. Therefore, anybody who (or should that be Wooo?) states that the existence of very skinny people who consume CIAB is proof that Food Reward doesn't exist is wrong.

3) Other stuff: I am concerned with people overlooking postprandial (a.k.a. nonfasting) triglycerides (a.k.a. triacylglycerols a.k.a. TAGs a.k.a. TGs) after eating large amounts of fat. According to Fasting Compared With Nonfasting Triglycerides and Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Women, serum TGs 2-4 hours post-meal are very significantly associated with Cardiovascular Events (fully adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] for highest vs lowest tertiles of levels, 4.48 [1.98-10.15] [P < 0.001 for trend]).

After 4 hours post-meal, serum TGs are cleared from circulation by being burned by muscles and/or by being stored in fat cells. See Figure 3B in Extended effects of evening meal carbohydrate-to-fat ratio on fasting and postprandial substrate metabolism.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

PPP - another bijou rant-ette.

Blame it on the hot weather and screaming kids! :-D

PPP stands for Piss Poor Parenting.

Why, oh why, oh why do some feckless parents allow children to dictate what they eat? As if children know what's good for them! At an event I attended recently, "Johnny*" was given a plate of chicken drummers (mechanically-recovered chicken formed into the rough shape of chicken drumsticks and coated with breadcrumbs) and oven chips. I asked Johnny if he would like a beefburger, sausage or pork steak. He replied. "I don't like them". He only wanted manufactured crap. Seriously, WTH?

When I was a lad, I was given the same food as my parents. If I didn't eat it, I went without. I ate it!
Nowadays, "children's menus" in restaurants (I'm being quite generous in the use of the word restaurant) consist of lots of manufactured crap that children like. Unlike veggies & fruit, this crap contains very little fibre/fiber or Magnesium.

Is it any wonder that childhood constipation is a problem? Why are children being given PEG or even Lactulose, when there's a much better solution - Epsom Salts (which contains 10% Magnesium by weight). The brain needs Magnesium to remain cool, calm and collected i.e. function properly. The brain also needs EPA, DHA and Vitamin D3 to function properly. Many kids don't like oily fish, so they won't eat it. It's not rocket science to purée some sardines or wild red salmon with some Bolognese/Sweet chilli/w.h.y. sauce so that they won't notice it. Many kids play indoors or are smothered in sunblock when they do go outdoors, so they get little or no Vitamin D3. Is it any wonder that childhood ADD & ADHD is much more common? Medication and psychotherapy? Seriously, WTH?

See Effect of MAGNE-B6 on the clinical and biochemical manifestations of the syndrome of attention deficit and hyperactivity in children.

Supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium and zinc in children seeking medical advice for attention-deficit/hyperactivity problems - an observational cohort study.

Moderators of treatment response in adults with ADHD treated with a vitamin-mineral supplement.

When I was a lad, there were a couple of show-offs in my class at school, but nobody behaved like "Jimmy*" (physically and mentally hyperactive with bad behaviour, screaming and shouting). Johnny was also badly behaved, but not as bad as Jimmy. The parents at the event seemed perfectly happy that, every day, their children had to be given "uppers" (e.g. Ritalin) to help them concentrate during the day and "downers" to help them sleep at night. Seriously, WTH?

I will now take a deep breath and count to twenty. There, that's better!

*Names changed.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Testing hypotheses - a rant.

My brain just exploded! On Why conventional view of obesity / FR is wrong, ItsTheWoo wrote "...there is not a doubt in my mind obesity is entirely 100% an illness, a disorder... "

According to ItsTheWoo's hypothesis, the increasing incidence of obesity all around the world since 1970 is 100% caused by the increasing incidence of illness all around the world since 1970. Seriously, WTF?

According to Nigeepoo's hypothesis, the increasing incidence of obesity all around the world since 1970 is significantly caused by the increasing influence of Crap-in-a-Bag/Box/Bottle (CIAB) manufacturers on the population by cunning marketing and on the Government by bribery lobbying since 1970.

The former results in increasing consumption of CIAB and the latter results in increasing subsidies on the raw materials used for manufacturing CIAB, making CIAB cheaper (also more profitable) than natural foods, thus increasing consumption of CIAB. See Why are Twinkies cheaper than carrots?

There are other factors causing increased obesity e.g. increasing numbers of towns/cities which discourage walking. See also Determinants of the Variability in Human Body-fat Percentage.

Highly-engineered and highly-calorific CIAB encourages subconscious over-eating via Food Reward. The hyper-secretion of insulin (compensatory hyperinsulinaemia) caused by the subconscious over-eating of CIAB causes subconscious under-moving by inducing drowsiness and lethargy, sometimes followed by the munchies if blood glucose goes too low. Insulin is just a hormone that is secreted for the storage of stuff and a reduction in the burning of stuff. Don't blame insulin for doing its job. If you have zero insulin (e.g. untreated type 1 diabetes), your body stops storing stuff and starts burning stuff uncontrollably. Before the invention of insulin injections, people with type 1 diabetes usually died within 2 years.

Subconscious over-eating is good for the profits of CIAB manufacturers. An increasing number of dyslipidaemic/hypertensive/depressed/diabetic/demented/w.h.y. people is good for the profits of health-care providers and drug manufacturers. These organisations currently make huge profits, so it's not going to be easy to change anything that will reduce them.

I deleted the last part of my rant as it was a bit too ranty, but I'm reinstating it in a toned-down form as I've mentioned it in the comments.

ItsTheWoo continually conflates subconscious over-eating and under-moving with conscious over-eating and under-moving (gluttony and sloth). The vast majority of over-fat people become over-fat due to subconsciously over-eating and under-moving. A tiny minority of over-fat people are gluttonous and slothful.

Telling people to consciously Eat Less, Move More doesn't work. This doesn't mean that Eat Less, Move More doesn't work. It means that Eat Less, Move More has to be done subconsciously. This is where low-carb/paleo/real food diets come into their own.

Rant over.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Get in! Part 4. Get out! Get this!

First, here's a rather jolly but not safe for work song from The Beautiful South.

Mum's GP has approved mum getting 500mg/day Thiamine. I'm waiting for it to arrive from Vitacost.

Mum's GP has approved the discontinuation of Aspirin 75mg/day and Omeprazole 20mg/day, as they are of little benefit and it reduces the number of pills that mum has to swallow each day.

I sang backing vocals for my friend Ray Langstone with a group of excellent musicians at the Unicorn pub on Monday evening. That's the first time I've done something like that.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Good Health: You can get it if you really want.

You'll never guess!

Some people moan about their health problems a lot. If somebody tries my advice and their health doesn't improve, they are justified in moaning about it.

If however I give them advice, they ignore it and then carry on moaning, it's time to ignore them. I don't have time for...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

You're free, and a testimonial.

First, the music video.

I have to admit that I'm not exactly what you'd call "exciting". Apart from driving my yellow MX-5 very fast in the middle of the night when there's nobody around, I'm not an adrenaline junkie. My mother used to throw herself out of light aircraft with a parachute on her back. There were occasions where her main 'chute either failed to open or it became tangled and had to be "cut away" before deploying the reserve.

I'll fly through the air when I've grown a pair of wings. I'll swim when I've grown a set of gills. I'll climb up the side of a mountain when I've grown two extra legs and have the strength & balance of a goat.

In some ways, I'm lucky to have slightly defective hearing & vision. I'm happy with the sound quality of inexpensive stereos and I don't need HDTV. I get my kicks from singing and from helping people to improve their health. I believe that health is number one priority as, without it, you can't properly do or enjoy things in life.

So, you're free to do what you want to do. Also, you're free to take or leave my advice! Anyway...

Somebody who I've known for about 14 years had been suffering from fairly obvious signs of magnesium deficiency (anxiety, poor sleep, cramps, spasms etc) for quite a while, so I virtually frog-marched him to the pharmacy at Tesco on bank holiday Monday and got him to buy a pot of Epsom Salts and add some to a smoothie.

He wishes to remain anonymous, but last night he informed me that he's feeling much better and is now pooing normally for the first time in 20 years. That's probably how long he's been deficient in magnesium. I've also given him 14 Vitamin D3 5,000iu mini gelcaps to try, as he suffers from low moods and rarely gets any sun on his skin.

Our bodies work so much better when they have all the nutrients that they need.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Feel-good Friday.

Nothing to report, so crank the volume knob up to 11 for the following two music videos.

A big "thank-you" to Ann Gibbs for bringing these songs into my life at Monday night jam sessions at the Unicorn pub in Aldershot. I hadn't heard either of them until I went there!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Look after your brain, Part 5.

This is another bookmarking post.

I spotted an article by Emily Deans M.D. called Nutritional Brain Bomb - Thiamine Deficiency.

So there's yet another way to knacker the brain, resulting in Wernicke's encephalopathy and in severe cases, Korsakoff's psychosis. Both of these conditions are partially irreversible due to neuron death. Both of these conditions are partially reversible by high-dose thiamine therapy.

Thiamine 500mg/day is one last therapy to try mum on after I've got her back on Vitamin K2 (hopefully today).

Continued on Quality >> Quantity.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Use 'em or lose 'em, Part 2.

I'm talking about your brain(s). Last year, I became depressed for several months for personal reasons that I won't go into. On December 8th 2011, something happened and the depression went away in an instant.

Unfortunately, several months of lying around doing very little had turned my brain to stodge. I tentatively resumed blogging in January 2012.

I find that the more I use my brain, the better it works, the more I can remember and the more I want to use it.

On the minus side, I find that I'm more impatient than I used to be. I'm now quite intolerant of, erm, f***wits on the roads and on the internets. Don't mention Giant Pandas!

Friday, 20 April 2012

How eating sugar & starch can lower your insulin needs.

This is a bookmarking post. Jason Sandeman is a chef who had a couple of web-sites at Well Done Chef! and Jason Sandeman — Real Food For Your Life. He has Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA), which has resulted in a total loss of his pancreatic beta cells which means that he has to inject insulin.

Now, it's generally believed in low-carb circles (and by myself) that people with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) should minimise their intake of sugary & starchy carbohydrates as these promote wild fluctuations in blood glucose. See The problem with Diabetes.

Jason wrote the following comment on Richard Nikoley's blog. The relevant part is as follows:-
"Even more weird – now that I have introduced the starches into the diet – I have actually got better control now. I thought my insulin needs would go up – but they haven’t. They’ve gone down."

To which I replied:-"How about this for an explanation? You now have a well-controlled glucose input to your circulation via diet, which has suppressed the poorly-controlled glucose input to your circulation via hepatic glucose production."

Hepatic glucose production (HGP) is increased by Glucagon, Cortisol & Adrenaline/Epinephrine. These are secreted as blood glucose level falls below certain values in order to keep our brains alive. See Blood Glucose, Insulin & Diabetes.

As keeping our brains alive is rather important (!), the mechanism is fairly crude in operation and blood glucose can overshoot in a positive direction, as a bit of glycation is less harmful than brain death. See "Funny turns": What they aren't and what they might be. Hyperglycaemia requires insulin to lower blood glucose back to the normal range.

Therefore, eating some (but not too much) sugar & starch can result in lower blood glucose level and lower insulin secretion. Eating fibre/fiber (a carbohydrate) is also good for keeping blood glucose low, as only just mentioned in Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity. Ain't the human body weird?"

Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity.

Bluddy Americans. It's Fibre! But anyway....

Stabby the Raccoon posted the following study in a comment on CarbSane's blog. I thought that it was so interesting that I am linking to it here.

Fiber and Insulin Sensitivity.

This study has built-in cognitive dissonance.

The first Fig. suggests that cereal fibre is associated with a much lower RR for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and that fruit & veggie fibre aren't.

Schulze et al. 2007: Cereal Fiber RR = 0.6 - 0.7. Fruit Fiber RR = 0.9 - 1.05. Vegetable Fiber RR = 0.95 - 1.15 approx.

The next table suggests otherwise.

Andersson et al., 2007: Whole grain diet contained 112 g/d of whole grain, 18 g fiber. No effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity.

Ebeling et al., 1988: 5 g/d granulated guar. No effect on insulin sensitivity.

Johnston et al., 2010: Resistant starch supplement -40g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with resistant starch.

Landin et al., 1992: 30 g/d granulated guar, given in 3-10 g doses. Improved insulin sensitivity with guar diet.

Maki et al., 2011: High-resistant starch diet- 30 g/d, Low-resistant starch diet- 15 g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with both resistant starch diets, but effect only reached statistical significance for men.

Nilsson et al., 2008: White bread enriched with barley fiber and 8g resistant starch, Barley kernel based bread. Improved glucose tolerance with resistant starch.

Pouteau et al., 2010: 28 g/d acetogenic fibers (acacia gum and pectin). No effect on insulin sensitivity.

Robertson et al., 2003: High-resistant starch diet- 60 g/d. Improved insulin sensitivity with resistant starch.

Weickert et al., 2006: Fiber-enriched with 31.2 g insoluble fiber. Improved insulin sensitivity with increased insoluble fiber.

In conclusion, the resistant starches found in high-amylose rices such as Basmati, refrigerated boiled rice & boiled potatoes, also rye & barley breads are beneficial in terms of reducing your RR for T2DM. Watch out, though. Too much dietary resistant starch can cause colic, flatulence & diarrhoea if your intestinal bacteria are knackered. You want fermentation to short-chain fatty acids to occur, not osmotic laxation! See Genetics of Food Intolerance.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

HP Deskjet F380 Ink Cartridge Error.

This is another techy post. I was printing a load of colour pictures when the printer suddenly stopped, displayed an "E" in the copy count window, lit the "cartridge" lamp next to the exclamation mark and opened a window on the lap-top screen with the words "Ink Cartridge Error" where the cartridges were displayed. Oh, dear!

I Googled the problem. Other people have had this problem. I use JET TEC H21 & H22 cartridges as they contain twice as much ink and are cheaper than HP H21 & H22 cartridges. They work really well, with no jet clogging when left unused in the printer for long periods of time. They give good ink coverage even when printing in Fast Draft mode.

Before throwing the F380 in the rubbish bin, I decided to replace both cartridges. I get my JET TEC H21 & H22 cartridges from The cartridges arrived the next day. Changing the H22 (colour) cartridge made no difference. Changing the H21 (black) cartridge cured the problem. The printer wasn't even using that cartridge when the fault occurred. I refitted the old H22 cartridge. It displayed as being full. I shall continue to use JET TEC cartridges, as this is the first time that I've had a problem with them in over a year of use.

It's interesting (to me) that a fault on one cartridge messed-up the operation of the other one even when the faulty cartridge was not being used. There's probably a short-circuit on an input/output line that's common to both cartridges.

So, don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Foxy versus Shiny.

I've been using Mozilla Firefox for about six years. It's a very good browser, but it occasionally annoys me by acting like a Giant Panda i.e. it becomes very sluggish. It's possible to speed-up Firefox by going to about:memory and clicking on the "Minimise memory usage" button, but occasionally, I have to shut down Firefox, wait (sometimes for quite a long time) for it to disappear from memory, then restart it.

I therefore decided to have an affair with Google Chrome.

First impressions were good. Chrome installed quickly and it imported all of my Firefox bookmarks correctly, although it didn't import any website user-names & passwords (probably because they are protected).

Chrome has an extensive range of add-ons available. I was able to install Adblock Element Hiding Helper (which had all of the functionality of Adblock Plus, plus some extra features), Script No and Flag. With all of these installed, Chrome loaded pages very quickly.

Then cracks started to appear in the relationship.

Chrome has a grey bar at the top of the page which obscures things on the page. Double-clicking on it makes it disappear. Reloading the page makes it reappear. Using Adblock Element Hiding Helper, I could hide the grey bar (Alt+B, click on grey bar, Enter) on any particular site, but it occasionally reappears, requiring re-hiding.

Right-clicking on a link and selecting "Open link in new tab" opens a new tab but doesn't display it, requiring the user to click on the new tab. Firefox used to do this, but has worked correctly for a long time.

Watching videos on ITVPlayer, I noticed that the resolution appeared much lower than when played on Firefox. On Firefox, there's pixel interpolation which produces a much higher apparent resolution.

And the killer blow:-

When I created a new blog post, I couldn't set hyperlink text colour and the Html editor revealed a large number of spurious div & span tags.

That's it, Google Chrome. You're dumped!

EDIT: P.S. Firefox has been running much faster.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

BlackBerry 9700 Headset Problem.

Blatant excuse to post the following video:-

But seriously, folks...

Nick, who cooks my Full English breakfasts in Henley-on-Thames, gave me his wife's BlackBerry Bold 9700 to look at, as it had an odd fault. With the headset plugged in, it worked fine. With the headset unplugged, the phone oscillated between using the internal loudspeaker and the headset socket about once a second, rendering the phone unusable.

After many hours of unsuccessful tinkering, I decided to take a look on Google to see if anybody else had successfully cracked the problem. I saw THIS. It appears to be a common problem with BlackBerrys, with lots of spam sites offering unlock codes to "fix" it.

Having upgraded the phone software from V5 to V6, the fault was still present. Therefore, it's not a software problem. Therefore, unlock codes won't fix it!

It's a hardware problem. It may be a design or a production problem, but the pull-up on the headset socket is too weak/has failed, resulting in the voltage on the headset present/not present control line falling towards "present" when the headset is not present. This may also be caused by moisture in the headset socket.

As the above control line interrupts the processor (as an instant response is required on plugging/unplugging the headset), there is major disruption to the phone's operation.

A fault like this is easily fixable by a reputable mobile phone repair shop. A resistor value change or solder joint rework is all that's required.

EDIT: As of 11th April 2012, Blogger is no longer compatible with the default BlackBerry browser. Basically, my BlackBerry is not working!

I am now using the Opera Mini browser. If I display emails
on the BlackBerry in plain text, I can open links using Opera Mini, which works O.K. with Blogger.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Capacitive Bottom-fed Fat Monopole.

Alternative title:- Serendipity rules, O.K.

This post is not about an obese Polish person who has a huge appetite, lives alone and has to be fed anally. I know a hilarious suppository joke, but it's not really suitable for this blog.

Having stayed up all night reading nearly 800 comments on Jack Kruse: Neurosurgeon. Leptin Reset and Cold Thermogenesis. Controversy, I noticed Sean's comment about Antennas.

I designed antennas for 225MHz to 400MHz portable man-pack radios (also a 1GHz to 3GHz Ultra Wide Band monopole antenna). There were two existing man-pack antennas, affectionately known as "The Bird-cage" and "The Egg-whisk". Electrically they worked well, but they would both catch in branches when the radio was used in woods.

My mission (should I choose to accept it, which I did) was to design an antenna that had a good impedance match over 225MHz to 400MHz, a good gain and couldn't get caught in branches.

The reason why the original antennas were shaped like bird-cages and egg-whisks was because barrels and inverse cones give a better impedance match than a piece of wire. Don't ask me why. The answer is extremely complicated and even I don't understand it!

The antenna had to be a bottom-fed monopole (an antenna which is designed to work with a ground-plane) with a connector at the bottom which plugged into the radio's RF connector. The RF system impedance was the standard 50 ohms.

As fat cylinders give a better impedance match than thin cylinders (a wire being an extreme case of a thin cylinder), I went for the fattest cylinder that would be acceptable on a man-pack radio. I designed an impedance-matching transformer using one of THESE made out of THIS. I connected the transformer to the end of the fat cylinder and examined the impedance using a 8753C Network Analyzer (or even older model).

During some faffing-about, a wire snapped and I was amazed to see that the match to 50 ohms improved. This led to other improvements being made, resulting in the Capacitive Bottom-fed Fat Monopole. It was rugged, it couldn't get caught in branches and it had a high gain. You could even bash somebody over the head with it without breaking it. It worked well on field trials. There were two versions - a short one for covert use which had a lower gain and a longer one for normal use which had a higher gain.

I hope you found that interesting. It's nice (for me) to blog about stuff that I have qualifications in!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Negativity is NOT an option!

Oh, wait.

I received a comment on another blog post mentioning Jeffrey M Friedman's commentary Modern science versus the stigma of obesity. I took offence to the following passage:-

"This simplistic notion is at odds with substantial scientific evidence illuminating a precise and powerful biologic system that maintains body weight within a relatively narrow range."

To say that I disagree with the above passage is an understatement of epic proportions. If this is the case, how can Extreme weight loss without surgery happen? This woman went from 265kg (583lb) to 97kg (213lb).

With the right diet, huge amounts of weight & body-fat can be lost and kept off. Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss solution is a PSMF (Protein-Sparing Modified Fast) that can produce huge weight & body-fat loss. See The Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF).

Up with this negativity I will not put!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Smart meters.

I was chatting to someone the other day and they were worrying about Smart meters. These are utility meters that can communicate their readings via the mobile phone network to the utility companies to allow them to read your gas & electric meters without sending a meter reader or getting you to do it & submit the readings on their web site.

They'd been surfing the internet and had found sites warning about cancer & other health problems caused by the RF radiation from Smart meters. These sites are creating fear, uncertainty & doubt in order to sell solutions to problems that don't exist. Oh dear!

Warning! Radio Frequency (RF) engineering stuff:-

See the graph below?

The horizontal axis is incorrectly labelled. Distance (d) is in metres (m), not kilometres (km).

Trust me. I know what I'm talking about. I was an RF design engineer for 29 years. See my CV.

The vertical axis is path attenuation (loss) in decibels (dB).

Decibels 101: Power loss in dB = 10 * LOG10(power loss as a fraction).

A power loss of 90% i.e. down to one tenth = 10dB. One hundredth = 20dB. One thousandth = 30dB. One millionth = 60dB. One million millionth = 120dB. One half = 3dB. One quarter = 6dB. One eighth = 9dB.

Smart meters transmit at frequencies from 900MHz (Vodafone & O2) to 1.8GHz  & 1.9GHz (Orange & T-mobile etc). People don't seem to mind having mobile phones (~2W peak RF power output when a call is in progress) glued to their ears for long periods of time.

If you stand 4 metres away (at the end of someone's garden path, say) from a Smart meter fitted to their house & operating at 900MHz, there's a path loss of 29dB. The RF energy reaching you is 1/800th of that emitted by the meter. Also, the meter doesn't produce RF energy all of the time. The duty cycle is 1% to 5% i.e. RF energy is only produced for 1/100th to 1/20th of the time.

In conclusion, even if you stand with your nose touching the window of a Smart meter (which would be silly), you get less RF radiation (RF radiation is Transverse Electromagnetic Radiation a.k.a. radio waves and not ionising radiation a.k.a. what radioactive materials emit) than what you get from your mobile phone.

Are you feeling reassured?

Vitamin D! Read all about it!

A Facebook friend just wrote on my wall:-

"Been quite a lot written about Vitamin D in the Daily Papers. Looks like you are right."

I took a peek on Google News and saw these:-

Vitamin D better than Diet Drugs for mantaining a healthy weight

Vitamin D Stimulates Amyloid Clearance in Alzheimer's

Vitamin D may lower stroke risk

Scots mums-to-be deficient in “sunshine vitamin”

Recent Vitamin D advice isn't all that sunny

Vitamin D deficiency boosts risk of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetes people

Get Your Vitamin D Fix

Vitamin D May Decrease Risk for Crohn's Disease

Vitamin D Boosts Lifespan

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of mortality in institutionalized elderly patients
Vit D deficiency causes grave diseases

Vitamin D May Boost Fluticasone's Allergic Rhinitis Effect

The People's Pharmacy: Get vitamin D without a sunburn

Vitamin D supplements may help you live longer: Study

Vitamin D deficiency causes grave diseases

Sunburnt country faces Vitamin D deficiency

Top up on sunshine and vitamin D, says charity

Staying out of the sun can wreck your health: How one in four Britons is worryingly low in vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D can be harmful to your health

Vitamin D from the sun for arthritis

It's gone 4am here, so I'm off to bed now. G'night!

Monday, 26 March 2012

At first I was afraid, I was petrified...

My titles are becoming increasingly blatantly song-orientated. No YouTube video, this time.

I just read Hans Wu's latest post Alzheimer's and Dementia and had a few thoughts.

1) In the early stages of mental decline, there is still self-awareness and the process is frightening. Constant reassurance is the best thing for somebody in this state. As self-awareness fades, one becomes happy. An example of this is HAL-9000 as his memory modules were being unplugged in the film "2001 a space odyssey". My mum is in this state, thank goodness.

I entered this state temporarily during an Insulin Shock Test on my pituitary gland, when my serum glucose fell to 1.5mmol/L (27mg/dL) under medical supervision. I was blissfully unaware of my confusion. Too much alcohol in the blood also causes loss of self-awareness. I entered this state last week while socialising with a friend. After half a bottle of White Zinfandel, I was blissfully unaware of my merriness!

2) When I see "arterial stiffness", I think "inappropriate calcification" and "Vitamin K2".

3) Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs a.k.a. mini-strokes) cause loss of blood flow to parts of the brain, resulting in amnesia. There may be some permanent brain damage, depending on how long the TIAs last. TIAs can be caused by spasms in arteries within the brain. Ditto migraines.

When I see "spasm", I think "magnesium".

Friday, 9 March 2012

Get in! Parts 2 & 3.

In Get in!, I described how I persuaded mum's GP to let mum have Vitamin D3 5,000iu/day.


Today, I persuaded mum's GP to let mum have Epsom Salts 2.5g/day (provided by me) dissolved in fruit juice and Seven Seas Fish Oil 10ml/day (provided by me). There's only one possible reaction:-

P.S. The doctor didn't even ask for supporting evidence. He just said "Yeah, other relatives do that. No problem. He just wanted to check for contraindications, which is fine by me. I have plans to ask him to allow mum to have one more supplement that may help her bones & brain. Any ideas as to what that might be, O.K.?

P.P.S. Another lady that's been at the care home since day one died Wednesday night/Thursday morning. She died from terminal cancer, but she had been physically crippled by Parkinson's Disease. R.I.P.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

How stuff works, Part 2.

I'm the kind of person that likes to analyse everything to death (and make lists).

1) Here's what I wrote on Synthesis: Low-Carb and Food Reward/Palatability, and Why Calories Count:-
"I’m going to stick my neck out here and state that fat, sedentary people do better on low-carb diets because:-

Fat, sedentary people have severe muscular insulin resistance.
This results in chronic hyperinsulinaemia and acute hyperinsulinaemia on eating carbs (which causes lethargy & increased sedentariness).
Chronic hyperinsulinaemia impairs the Phase I insulin response.
This impairs the stability of the blood glucose control system, resulting in large fluctuations in blood glucose level on eating carbs.
A rapidly-falling blood glucose level causes severe hunger pangs (I’ve experienced this under medical supervision).
Severe hunger pangs cause overeating, resulting in increased fatness.

Low-carb diets reduce the large fluctuations in blood glucose level. Once normal blood glucose control has been restored by bodyfat loss & exercise, low-carb diet is no longer required."

I added a hot-link that wasn't in the original comment. Thanks to Sam Knox for linking to that study.

Lethargy & increased sedentariness result in very few calories burned (BMR/RMR + TEF). Eliminating (lethargy & increased sedentariness) greatly increases calories burned without conscious effort (BMR/RMR + TEF + TEA + NEAT/SPA). This is why people on low-carb diets can eat more and still lose weight. The Energy Balance Equation still applies.

2) I've noticed that people conflate Food Tastiness with Food Reward. Here's my opinion:-

Excessive reward = Moreish. What your food tastes like is only vaguely relevant. Avoid eating moreish foods, unless you're a body-builder who's trying to bulk.

Here's what I wrote on Food Reward: “There’s Always Room For Dessert”:-
"I believe that obesity is physiological AND neurological (the proportions varying from person to person).

For example, one chocolate doesn’t disturb my blood glucose & insulin, but I still crave another. And another. Ad nauseam."

Physiological cravings take hours to kick-in.
Neurological cravings take seconds to kick-in.

Emily Deans wrote:-
"Multiple times I’ve used naltrexone (an opiate blocker) to stop binge eating. The cravings go away. It only takes a few weeks. It’s a nice way to undo addiction/reward without starving someone… not FDA approved."

That's pretty damning evidence for the existence of Food Reward. How can naltrexone block something that doesn't exist?

Finally Monsieur, a waffer-thin mint.

Monday, 5 March 2012

When nerds attack!

Things can get pretty steamy. As I mentioned in Both Sides Now: Nerds!, we can be a little obsessive.

Basically, everybody who blogs about Diet & Nutrition is a nerd to some degree. If you're that obsessive about your diet that you've achieved success with it, you must be nerdly inclined. So here's a list (nerds love to make lists) of some nerdy bloggers. This is meant to be a bit of fun, so don't go all nerdy on me and shoot the messenger!

In no particular order, but ladies first:-

1) CarbSane: I like Evelyn because of her no-BS style.

2) Denise Minger: Denise cracks me up with some of the stuff she comes out with. She has an infectious giggle when she's lecturing. She also has the cojones to take on giants like T. Colon Campbell (oops!).

3) Kurt Harris MD: This chap really knows his stuff. I majorly pissed Kurt off last year by nerdily sticking-up for Aldi's "Solesta" EVOO (it only has 6.6% pufas, Kurt!).

4) Richard Nikoley: This chap also really knows his stuff (except for one topic ;-D). I majorly pissed Richard off recently while discussing politics with him. We have totally different views. I goaded him into calling me a "miserable, dishonest, lying f*ck of a wasted f*ck." We seem to be getting on better, now. I mentioned politics once, but I think I got away with it!

5) praguestepchild : An ex-engineer, so an O.K. bloke. I goaded Sean into calling me a "hysterical c*nt". My bad!

6) Lyle McDonald: What Lyle doesn't know about Diet & Nutrition fits on a postage stamp. I've probably pissed him off as well!

7) LeonRover: Not a blogger, but he's proved invaluable in correcting me with expressions such as "Stone the flaming crows" and "No way, José".

Anyway, enough of all this silliness. It's time to visit mum.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Warning signs to look out for when a heart attack is coming.

R.I.P. Davy Jones. I sang "Daydream Believer" at karaoke two nights running as a tribute.

The article Davy Jones Dead: Warning Signs to Look Out for When a Heart Attack is Coming caught my attention.

"At 66, Davy Jones appears to be living a healthy life. He was a vegetarian. He goes on a regular morning run. He was not just a horse owner but also a rider. Davy Jones seems to be generally fit and healthy to succumb to a deadly heart attack."

He's like H. Jay Dinshah, who also died of a heart attack at the age of 66. I strongly advise vegetarians & vegans to watch "Dr Greger: 2003 - Optimum Vegetarian Nutrition - Omega 3 and B12"

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

How care homes are blinding their residents.

Now that I have your full attention (!), care & nursing homes are not blinding them in the conventional sense. What's in the picture below?

I haven't the foggiest idea! I found the image using Google Image search and it's called blurry-1.jpg.

This is what the world looks like to residents who have either not been given their glasses, or who have been given their glasses but the lenses are filthy.

Mum's lenses were filthy this morning. I've written it in the book and informed the manager. Another lady has been at the home for ages and still doesn't have glasses, despite asking for them repeatedly. Her relatives didn't supply the home with any. This sort of thing makes me so mad!

Mum pays ~£1,000 a week to stay at this care home. It's well-run, but on mum's floor (severely disabled) during the day, there are 4 carers + 1 nurse for 18 residents. It takes 2 carers to bath or toilet a resident (my sister damaged her back and had to take early retirement, as there were no health & safety guidelines for lifting in her day) and there is a lot of paperwork.

EDIT: The care home is arranging for the lady whose relatives didn't supply the home with any glasses to get some, so it's not all bad news.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Discrimination is bad, mmmkay?

What do the following three images have in common? Images found with Google Image search.

They are all unable to fend for themselves or express how they feel. They all need a lot of care and attention and can be very demanding. The last two also have to be fed & toileted.

So why is it that the first two images make people go "Squeeeeeeee!" but the third one doesn't?

Is it because the first two images give you something to look forward to but the third one doesn't?

We're all going to end up old one day if we're "lucky". Just hope and/or pray that when you get there, you either have caring partners and/or relatives to look after you, or independent care for the elderly has improved a lot. I've seen things.

It's all in a day's work (as measured in Joules) Part 2.

Are you as aerobically-fit as this bloke?

Emmanuel Mutai made it a Kenyan double after winning the Virgin London Marathon in a new course record. Mutai's time of 2:04.38, beats the previous best of 2:05.10 set by Samuel Wanjiru in 2009 and also the fifth-fastest time ever.

I'll take it that's a "no", then.

Elite marathon runners have optimised their metabolisms to use the minimum possible amount of muscle glycogen as fuel. Muscle glycogen storage is limited to ~1,680kcals-worth (~420g of carb)*.
Supercompensation (depletion followed by 3 days of carb-loading) can increase this figure to ~720g*.
Fat storage can amount to ~35,000kcals-worth (~10lb of fat), even in a skinny Kenyan like Mutai.

A blogger called Thor Falk took the data from It's all in a day's work (as measured in Joules) and plotted it as a graph in Fat vs carb burning – a N=1 chart. Here's the graph:-

Even a super-fit Kenyan like Mutai burns some carbs when running at ~12.5 miles per hour. The less fit that somebody is, the more the first corner in the blue plot moves down and to the left. This results in more carbs being burned at energy consumption levels more than the first corner. This depletes muscle glycogen stores faster, resulting in "hitting the wall" (running out of muscle glycogen) sooner.

Muscles that are depleted of glycogen are more insulin-sensitive than muscles that have more glycogen, therefore the less aerobically-fit somebody is, the sooner their muscles become insulin-sensitive when they exercise.

*Assuming 20kg of muscle (Lore of Running P104)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Zero medications.

As mentioned in Both Sides Now: Medications, some medications are essential, as they are hormones that the body can no longer produce for itself due to glandular dysfunction. Other medications act as dietary supplements. It's the medications that change how the body works which can cause problems.

Due to prostatitis, I had been prescribed the alpha-adrenoreceptor blocker Tamsulosin Hydrochloride at a dose of 400ug/day. This reduces constriction of sphincter muscles in the urethra, which alleviates urinary retention. However, it also affects arterioles, the iris in the eye, veins, the stomach, the intestines, male sex organs, the skin, the liver, pancreatic Acini & Islet (beta) cells, fat cells and salivary cells.

I stopped taking Tamsulosin and have had no problems weeing, so the prostatitis has gone. I'm now taking zero medications that change how my body works.

So eating less and moving more does have benefits.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cheapest Vitamin D3 yet.

A big thank you to Ted Hutchinson (the chap who got me interested in Vitamin D in 2007) for bringing Vitacost to my attention. Their own-brand 5,000iu Vitamin D3 mini gelcaps product is somewhat cheaper than the Healthy Origins product that I've been using ($12.99 vs $14.99). Click when creating a Vitacost account, to get $10 discount on orders over $30.

As imports are liable to VAT + handling charges (usually £8) if the value exceeds £15, the lower price means that I can order two pots of 365 Mini Gels for less than £15.

P&P is slightly more expensive at $7.99 vs $4. Delivery takes about two weeks.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How care homes are starving their residents to death.

Now that I have your full attention (!), care & nursing homes give their residents plenty to eat & drink, so they are not starving them to death in the conventional sense.

So, what am I talking about? Clue:- UVB cannot penetrate window glass.

I'm talking about Vitamin D starvation.

At this time of year, care home residents are dying like flies. My sister (who worked in a care home years ago) told me that this is normal. Three died at mum's care home in the same week recently. All of the residents have one thing in common. They're all pale.

Old people feel the cold, so if they do go outside between March and September, they're covered from head to toe in clothes. They synthesise minimal Vitamin D in their skins for their bodies to store. Then, between September and March, their bodies use up those stores. Vitamin D levels decay exponentially , with a half-life of about 60 days. As Vitamin D levels fall, the risk of getting viral infections greatly increases, mood worsens, aches and pains worsen, blood glucose control worsens, the risk of getting cancer greatly increases. Need I go on?

As Dr. Richard M. Cooper (Private GP, Harley Street) pointed out, ALL of his patients were low in Vitamin D and they were active people who could go outdoors. Many care home residents can't go outdoors. They can get a paltry 400iu Vitamin D from an Adcal-D3 chewable tablet, but they're huge things that taste like sweetened chalk and cause constipation (mum hated them).

Death by Vitamin D starvation is a long, drawn-out process that reduces the quality & length of life for care home residents. Something needs to be done about it. All care home residents should have their serum Vitamin D levels tested and be given Vitamin D3 accordingly. I have broached this subject with the manager of mum's care home.

Mum's on 5,000iu/day of Vitamin D3. Although she is now fairly non compos mentis, she still smiles a lot and laughs at my dreadful jokes. She is also infection-free.

Here's the transcript of a YouTube video that's since been removed.
"At this care home, they're proud of their varied menu. Even so, the Government recommends supplements for the over 65's as well as children under 3 and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. But health charities are demanding clearer guidelines and better advice. Because research into Vitamin D deficiency has revealed associations with all sorts of conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease and even some cancers."

Dr Carrie Ruxton (Award-winning dietitian and health writer. Media commentator on diet, food and nutrition issues. Advisor to the food industry and government) said:-
"What I think the Government should do is promote its own policies. It had a policy for years to recommend Vitamin D supplementation for vulnerable groups, like elderly, housebound and pregnant & lactating women and children but at the moment, that's not being done. In my own example, I was pregnant twice and nobody told me to take Vitamin D supplements."

This is unacceptable. As the manager at mum's care home is not responsible for the residents' supplementation, I will be taking this up with the MP for the area.

Update: I spoke to the nurse on Friday 2nd March about mum's medical history. Before Vitamin D3, mum had a Urinary Tract Infection in the previous 9 months. Since Vitamin D3, mum has had no medical problems and she has been happy & contented. Her serum Vitamin D level is in the normal range.