Health & Fitness Digest - 9 November

In today's post:

  • Omega 3 is a powerful way to fight heart disease, but is there a difference between animal vs. plant-based Omega 3?
  • Can a glass of red wine prolong life?
  • An EXCELLENT article on why going vegan works for some but not others
  • FDA discovers Glyphosate in baby food


Omega 3 is a powerful way to fight heart disease, but is there a difference between animal vs. plant-based Omega 3?

We know from major studies over the past decade that the blockage of arteries (leading to cardiovascular disease) is caused by inflammation and not cholesterol.

Chronic inflammation damages the wall of the arteries, and the body produces cholesterol in an attempt to repair the damage done. Sometimes, if the damage is extensive, there will be so much cholesterol produced at the location of the damage that the artery can narrow.

DHA and EPA (Omega 3 fatty acids) are powerful anti-inflammatories, helping the body reduce inflammation and avoid damage to arteries, thus reducing the need for the body to produce more and more cholesterol.

This large-scale study looked at which Omega 3 fatty acid was the most powerful anti-inflammatory compound for people at risk of cardiovascular disease. The results indicate that DHA is the most powerful one, rather than EPA.

The best sources of DHA are fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, mackerel), fish oil, liver, and certain types of algae.

Other than algae, plant-based sources provide us with a type of Omega 3 called ALA. Unfortunately, humans can only convert between 0% and 5% of ALA into EPA and DHA (most men are around 0% conversion). So all the marketing hype about Omega 3 from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, etc. doesn't stack up with the science.

Of course these plants have other "tremendous" (I stole the word from Trump!) health benefits and should play a significant part of our diet. But if you're seeking to benefit from Omega 3's anti-inflammatory properties for the health of your arteries and heart, than you should be getting your Omega 3 from the sources I mentioned above.


Can a glass of red wine prolong life?

Don't get too excited, it's not that simple!

Do you remember a few months ago when the media went abuzz with headlines claiming that a compound in red wine has been found to help fight a variety of diseases, including cancer?

Of course everyone made this a convenient excuse to drink more wine!

But here is what the science says (as explained in this study):

  • Ageing and diseases linked to ageing (e.g. heart disease, cancer) are caused by a combination of Oxidative Stress and a drop in Autophagy.
  • Oxidative Stress is damage caused to the cells of the body when exposed to stress, such as a bad diet, too much exercise, or continuously elevated stress hormones (from emotional stress).
  • Autophagy is essentially our body's "clean-up" system: it's when our cells "clean house" by getting rid of free radicals and toxins, which cause Oxidative Stress.
  • From the Greek: Auto (self) - Phagy (eat).

Scientists have been searching for compounds which help your body trigger Autophagy and reduce Oxidative Stress.

I've talked about "fasting" before (here, here, and here), and how fasting for 18-24 hours once or twice a week has a powerful effect on triggering Autophagy.

Scientists have discovered that Resveratrol (a compound found in red grapes, and therefore, yes, red wine), triggers Autophagy as well.

But hold on a second, the dosage of Resveratrol you need to trigger Autophagy is the equivalent of several BOTTLES of wine! 

So if you're keen on getting the benefits of Resveratrol, you can do what I've been doing for the past 2 years: put a few drops of liquid Resveratrol in your tea before bed-time.

On a separate note, Resveratrol has also been found to be as powerful as diabetes medication in managing blood sugar, another significant health benefit.


An EXCELLENT article on why going vegan works for some but not others

It's not secret that I'm not a fan of a vegan diet. After the ton of research I've read over the years, the science just doesn't support it. 

However, I have COMPLETE respect for those wishing to adopt a vegan diet, especially those doing so for ethical / moral reasons.

You will come across people who will swear that a vegan diet changed their life: it gave them a ton of energy, they lost weight, performed better at sports, etc.

You will also come across people for whom the vegan diet was a disaster, even though they tried everything, including supplements, to make it work.

This article presents an excellent analysis on why a vegan diet works for some but not others, based on our individual genes, body type, biochemistry, ancestry, and more.

The only thing missing from the article is what I discussed above about DHA from Omega 3: other than algae, there are no vegan sources of DHA, which is the most critical Omega 3 fatty acids for humans.


FDA discovers Glyphosate in baby food

If you've watched my videos or read my blog before, you know I love to bash Monsanto!

For those who don't know who Monsanto is: it's one the largest suppliers of genetically modified seeds, pesticides and herbicides in the world.

If you're eating non-organic wheat, corn, or soy, there is a very high probability that they came from seeds provided by Monsanto and that they've been sprayed with Monsanto chemicals (including Glyphosate).

Glyphosate has been classified by the WHO as a Group 2A Carcinogen ("probably causes cancer").

Recent studies have shown that the body cannot get rid itself of Glyphosate easily, and as such it "accumulated" in our tissues, including kidneys, liver, brain, and other tissues.

Geek Alert (you can skip this paragraph): Glyphosate accumulates in the body because it resembles the amino acid Glycine. Cells manufacture proteins by assembling amino acids on a regular basis, and when Glyphosate is present, it replaces Glycine in the amino acid chain that forms proteins. The result is that proteins produced by the body (e.g. hormones, muscle tissue, etc) end up having Glyphosate instead of Glycine. So these proteins don't function they way they should, and this leads to a variety of health issues which I won't get to here (read more).

The most recent alarming news is that the FDA tested a variety of baby foods, and found that many contain Glyphosate!

Monsanto will always come back and say: "levels found were within tolerated limits".

But like I said, Glyphosate accumulates in the body, so no matter how small the "tolerated limit" is, the chemical is accumulating in our tissues!


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