Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A vitamin deficiency that causes osteoporosis is common- are you okay?

News flash- data show that you, as a typical American, are likely to be deficient in a vitamin, and that this deficiency causes weak bones and muscles, joint pain, osteoporosis, and having white blood cells that can’t kill the tuberculosis bacterium. Wait- there’s more- groups of people who don’t get enough of this vitamin also have more breast and prostate cancer than people who get plenty.

Must be a new, unusual, and expensive vitamin? Not at all, it’s free actually- all you have to do is to get a little sunshine (without sunscreen) and your skin can make vitamin D. You can get a teeny little bit from milk, and a small amount from pills, but when you get 10 minutes of sun on your legs (30 minutes if you’re dark skinned) you’ll make tons of vitamin D. Therapy for tuberculosis used to be sun baths- doesn’t sound so dumb now.

Good health is all about the happy medium- drink enough water but not too much, eat enough food but not too much, and get enough sunshine but not too much. Just because you can kill yourself drinking too much water doesn’t mean that your doctor is telling you not to touch a drop. The same should go for sunshine. It’s natural.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Can nutrition help a stiff neck?

No, but a chiropractor can. Oh my god my neck and shoulders feel so much better after seeing fantastic Dr. Jack. Why did I wait this long? (http://www.drjackbourla.com/)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eat beans, no bread, and live longer??

Have you heard about the diet experiments in which animals can be made to live longer than their normal lifespan? The only problem is that the diet used is essentially a starvation diet- the animals are fed much less than normal for their entire lives. Personally I am not looking forward to the discovery that a starvation diet will also allow humans to live longer.

But there is hope- cutting out one little nutrient (while eating normal amounts of food) also allows animals to live longer lives (and be thinner), and that nutrient is methionine. Methionine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein, and it is essential for life, but perhaps in smaller quantities than we usually eat.

Now for the type of wild speculation that I usually make fun of- would it be good for us to eat less methionine and how would we accomplish this? Methionine is high in grains and seeds, moderate in animal foods (milk, meat, eggs) and corn, and low in beans, nuts, soy, and peanuts.

Would it make a difference to cut out grains (wheat, rice), eat less animal products, and eat more legumes? You would not be able to achieve the low methionine intake that has been found to work in animals, and amazing results in animal experiments almost never translate to useful recommendations for people, but it’s something to think about.