Researchers found that painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen appear to decrease the effectiveness of a popular class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Celexa.
Depressive symptoms—such as feeling down, crying more frequently than usual or having decreased appetite—in patients who took Celexa went away 55% of the time, but that rate dropped to 45% in individuals who reported they also had taken an anti-inflammatory.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are a widely used class of pain medicines and include aspirin and ibuprofen but not acetominephen [Tylenol].
It isn’t clear why NSAIDs suppress the effect of SSRIs, but it could be simply an interaction between the drugs where NSAIDs prevent SSRIs from reaching the brain, the researchers said.
Salmon contains a bioactive peptide that is similar to the human hormone calcitonin which is important for producing strong bones.
Calcitonin (CT) is a peptide hormone produced by the parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland in mammals and by the ultimobranchial gland of birds and fish. Salmon calcitonin (sCT), which is more potent and longer lasting than human CT, has been used widely for the treatment of osteoporosis, paget’s disease, hypercalcemic shock and chronic pain in terminal cancer patients. sCT is one of the many bioactive peptides that require C-terminal amidation for full biological activity.
Theanine is a compound in tea that reduces stress, and produces calm (when angry etc. or stressed)
if you need to calm down fast, consider sipping a cup of green tea…Green tea contains theanine, which calms you and helps you maintain clear concentration and focus,” he says.
Got curious and had to read more on theanine
While structurally related to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, theanine only has weak affinity for the glutamate receptor on postsynaptic cells. Rather, its primary effect seems to increase the overall level of the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA.
L-Theanine may help the body’s immune response to infection by boosting the disease-fighting capacity of gamma delta T cells. The study, published in 2003 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, included a four-week trial with 11 coffee drinkers and 10 tea drinkers, who consumed 600 milliliters of coffee or black tea daily. Blood sample analysis found the production of antibacterial proteins was up to five times higher in the tea drinkers, an indicator of a stronger immune response.
I looked at the paper cited in the above article, and how theanine bound to the 3 types of glutamate receptors
Theanine bound the three receptors, but its IC50 of theanine was 80- to 30,000-fold less than that of L-glutamic acid.
A number of articles mention that theanine increases alpha waves in the brain, which is one measure of relaxation. This article adds
The antioxidant activity of L-theanine has been studied in regard to its effect on the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. In vitro testing using malondialdehyde as a marker of lipid peroxidation demonstrated inhibition of LDL oxidation with theanine, although the effect was weaker than the potent antioxidant effect of green tea polyphenols.
Green tea also contains caffeine. I’m somewhat against caffeine in general because it’s mechanism is purely drug-like and your body gets tolerant to any drug over time. A number of sources suggest that tolerance to theanine builds up, so it looks like it’s not something you can benefit from if you drink green tea every day, but there might be occasional benefits from infrequent use.
I thought it was interesting this article recommended high folate foods for when you feel sluggish or can’t concentrate.
Folic acid, or folate, helps your body to process and lower homocysteine levels,” says Dr. Dolgoff. “High levels of homocysteine are associated with damage to blood vessels, in addition to interfering with the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain. Impaired blood flow may leave you feeling sluggish or slow to process or recall information.”
Folate is a vitamin, and the idea of helping your body trying to do something it wants to do anyway is a good thing. Actually a better source of folate is calves liver. Asparagus and collard greens are also good sources. Oranges have about 1/6 th what you’d get in spinach, but that’s not bad.
So I’ve bought this product before. This red palm oil is made is way that as I see it it would be hard for lots of nutrients to escape or toxins to enter. You can typically get it at Whole Foods.
There are a lot of claims of health benefits which is not surprising given the high levels I’ve seen for vitamins and anti-oxidants, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, vitamin-E, lycopene and other carotenoids.
It’s more saturated than olive oil, so it’s more stable for cooking.
It’s heart healthy, based on the studies I’ve seen.
So it’s another thing to consider in lieu of olive oil.
So as a quick intro, coconut oil is heart healthy. The saturated fatty acid in coconut oil actually raises HDL and coconut increases metabolism and makes you lose weight. Because it contains MCFAs, it’s less likely to be disturbed by cooking than olive oil. It’s probably a better health choice than olive oil - at least olive oil as it’s conventionally produced (see prior post). So as a cooking oil - like to cook eggs in for example - it might be worth a try.
Anyway, the hard thing is finding a good source of coconut oil, which is what this post is about.
The techniques outlined in wikipedia to make coconut oil are a bit cringe-worthy, with all the bleaches and solvents added to food you actually consume. Dry processing is the standard, and it’s the worst.
Coconut oil can be extracted through “dry” or “wet” processing. Dry processing requires the meat to to be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight or kilns to create copra. The copra is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high protein, high fiber mash. The mash is of poor quality for human consumption and is instead fed to ruminants; there is no process to extract the protein from the mash. The preparation and storage of copra often occurs in unhygienic conditions which results in a poor quality oil that requires refining before consumption. A considerable portion of the oil extracted from copra is lost due to spoilage, consumption by insects and rodents, and during the extraction process.
All “wet” process involves raw coconut rather than dried copra, using the protein in the coconut to create an emulsion of the oil and water. The more problematic step is breaking up the emulsion to recover the oil. Originally this was done through lengthy boiling, but this produces a discolored oil and is not economical; modern techniques uses centrifuges and various pre-treatments including cold, heat, acids, salts, enzymes, electrolysis, shock waves, or some combination of them. Despite numerous variations and technologies, wet processing is less viable than dry processing due to a 10-15% lower yield, even compared to the losses due to spoilage and pests with dry processing. Wet processes also requires an expensive investment of equipment and energy, incurring high capital and operating costs.
Proper harvesting of the coconut (the age of a coconut can be 2 to 20 months when picked) makes a significant difference in the efficacy of the oil making process and the use of a centrifuge process makes the best final extracted product. Copra made from immature nuts is more difficult to work with and produces an inferior product with lower yields.Conventional coconut oil uses hexane to extract up to 10% more oil than just using rotary mills and expellers. The oil is then refined to remove certain free fatty acids, in order to reduce susceptibility rancidification.
I’d read about the problems with coconut oil here - using the so called copra process.
Copra is dried in a wood-fuelled kiln, or in the sun, over a period of a few days. …. Copra is bulked up at an export port and shipped to a large industrial oil mill — often in Europe or Asia. Unhygienic drying, humid tropical conditions, bulk shipping and long distances, result in lengthy delays and the growth of moulds on the copra. Sometimes this leads to aflatoxin contamination. Copra oil extraction requires large-scale, high-pressure, expensive, energy-intensive equipment. Unhygienic copra means that the resultant oil is normally of low quality with a Free Fatty Acid (FFA) level of 3% or more. (FFA is one measure of rancidity of oil). Thus copra oil requires refining, bleaching and deodorising (RBD) to create a commercially acceptable product. The refining process uses hydrochloric acid, solvents and steam to strip out the contamination. Some residual solvents remain in the oil. The process also removes the natural volatiles and anti-oxidants that give pure coconut oil its unique flavour and aroma. The total process from farm to refined oil can take many months. The residual copra-meal is only suitable as animal feed but, even here, care is required because it can be contaminated with carcinogenic aflatoxin.
This company seems to have found a pretty good solution.
“Direct Micro Expelling” is highly descriptive of the technology. It is:
• Direct — quick (oil produced within 1 hour of opening the nut) and efficient (OEE 85%)
• Micro — small scale (family farm size)
• Expelling — extraction of virgin oil and meal
The linked pdf shows a small scale organic process. It’s basically about taking out the meat, grating it, and putting it in a press. Old school. This is the kind of coconut oil you’d want to buy if you were in the market for it.
Extra virgin olive oil is preferred because of its high phenol content. It contains:
protocatechuic acid, oleuropein, tyrosol, hydrotyrosol, dihydroxyphenylethanol, and other unique phenyl-ethyl alcohols as well as lignans and secoiridoids.
pinoresinol and acetoxypinoresinol-are key phenol components found in extra virgin olive oil.
The high phenol concentration in extra virgin olive oil results in three key health benefits. First is the ability of this rich phenol mixture to helps protect olive oil’s vitamin E. Especially during the process of heating-and even at low heating temperatures-these phenols help to stabilize the vitamin E present in extra virgin olive oil. Second is the ability of this phenol mixture to engage in free radical scavenging. Especially when it comes to the neutralization of free radicals like hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion radical, the rich phenol mixture in extra virgin olive oil is especially important. In fact, research studies have confirmed the ability of extra virgin olive oil’s phenols to help protect against free radical damage to LDL cholesterol as well as cellular DNA.
extra virgin olive oil is able to lower certain markers of inflammation (called TXB2 and LTB2) during a window of time 2-6 hours after consumption of the extra virgin oil where olive oil from later pressings is unable to do so.
Then I read this. Olive oil fraud in Italy is fairly common with products claiming to be extra virgin that are actually not.
most commercial olive oil is processed in a manner that damages its nutritional content, and this is only the beginning of the problems with it.
[On good small farms,] organic olives are picked by hand so as to not damage the skin or pulp. They are transported in well-aerated containers and milled within 48 hours of harvesting. Before milling, leaves and twigs are removed; the olives are washed, dried, and then crushed. The oil is separated from the olive paste without the use of heat, hot water, or solvents, and it is left unfiltered, as filtering also removes many nutrients. The first pressing produces the best extra virgin oil.
[In modern factories] olives are machine harvested along with leaves and twigs. Olives that have dropped on the ground are often mixed with the good ones. They are shipped in all kinds of containers, many of which are poorly ventilated, and heaped in large piles. (Here, olives are stored for too long and often become moldy.) The oil is then extracted in a continuous centrifuge while hot water is used to help separate out the oil. Antioxidant polyphenols are soluble in water and are washed away in this process, thereby lowering the shelf life and the nutritional quality of the oil. Italy alone produces 800,000 cubic meters of waste water per year from this process. Because substantial amounts of antioxidants are washed away, factory produced olive oil has a short shelf life of only months, whereas real olive oil lasts for two to three years.
the term “extra virgin” has no official meaning in the United States. The U.S. is not a member of the International Olive Oil Council. So olive oil sold here can be labeled “extra virgin” without meeting the accepted international standards. …
Investigators have gathered evidence indicating that the biggest olive oil brands in Italy, Bertolli, Sasso, and Cirio, have for years been systematically diluting their extra virgin olive oil with cheap, highly- refined hazelnut oil imported from Turkey. Despite the fact that details of this scandal have been published in Merum, a Swiss-German magazine, and in Italian journals such as Agra Trade, and the newspaper Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, this information has been successfully suppressed and is known to only a handful of people. International arrest warrants have been issued and seized documents indicate that at least 10,000 tons of hazelnut oil is involved. As much as 20% refined hazelnut oil can be added to olive oil and still be undetectable to the consumer.
In 1996, a study by the FDA found that 96% of the olive oils they tested, while being labeled 100% olive oil, had been diluted with other oils. A recent study in Italy found that only 40% of the olive oil brands labeled “extra virgin” actually met those standards.
Italy produces 400,000 tons of olive oil for domestic consumption, but 750,000 tons are sold. The difference is made up with highly refined, nut and seed oils. Less strict guidelines make the situation even worse in the United States. Like in Italy, more oil is “produced” in California than there are olives available. The difference is made up with less expensive oils such as corn, soy, and sunflower. The problem is these other oils have been refined. The high temperatures of the refining process change the molecular structure of the oils, making them toxic.
I’ve talked to some people who have been to Italy and Spain and say the olive oil there can actually be green in color because if it’s made naturally and not processed, and that it tastes so much better made by hand.
What’s the upshot? First I think you have to look at the ingredients on your olive oil. Second, olive oil is not as healthy as you think, and you might be better off with avocados or some other form of healthy fat.
In terms of a cooking oil, there are alternatives, and I’ll do a post on that later. Of course I would be interested to buy olive oils that are made in a way that is more health conscious, and I’ll post if I find something like that.
A major new analysis challenges the long-held idea that obese people who carry their extra weight mainly around the middle — those with an “apple” shape — are at greater risk for heart disease than “pears,” whose fat tends to cluster on their thighs and buttocks.
The new report, published online on March 11 in The Lancet, pooled data from 58 studies about more than 220,000 people,mean age of 58. During the time they were followed, more than 14,000 suffered a heart attack or stroke. Conventional risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were accurate predictors of a heart attack or stroke, but additional information about weight or body shape (ascertained by measuring waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio) did not improve the ability to predict risk.
What is being said here, in my opinion, is that there are some people who are pear shaped or fat - and for whatever reason they are actually quite healthy - and don’t have any of the above risk factors for heart disease. So despite being fat or pear shaped, they have low blood pressure, cholesterol, no diabetes, etc.
It’s an interesting exception.
Researchers recently found E. coli on 50 percent of shopping carts
Researchers from the University of Arizona swabbed shopping cart handles in four states looking for bacterial contamination. Of the 85 carts examined, 72 percent turned out to have a marker for fecal bacteria.
The researchers took a closer look at the samples from 36 carts and discovered Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli
, on 50 percent of them — along with a host of other types of bacteria.
reusable shopping bags that aren’t regularly washed turn into bacterial swamps. “It’s like wearing the same underwear every day,” Gerba said.
While there may, indeed, be bacteria on shopping cart handles, they can also be found on doorknobs, countertops and a host of other items we touch every day, Fishman said. “My guess is that there are more bacteria on a car seat than on a shopping cart,” he added.
What to make of this?
As this article says
Microbes can live on household surfaces for hundreds of years. The good news, however, is that most don’t. Some well-known viruses, like HIV, live only a few seconds.
Each square centimeter of skin alone harbors about 100,000 bacteria. And a single sneeze can spray droplets infested with bacteria and viruses as far as 3 feet.
Still you’re likely not breathing in all the bacteria that you are touching. As this site says
Bacteria can enter through an opening in the skin, such as a scratch or cut.
That site talks about the ways bacteria enter your skin - usually you have to have some some of cut or irritation - or be in water.
As this site says of staph
Most skin infections develop when staph bacteria enter your body through a cut or other break in your skin. Having eczema, psoriasis, irritation after shaving, or any condition that makes your skin more sensitive increases your risk of infection.
Still the article above referenced ecoli
The bottom line to me - seems to be - be really careful if you have any cuts on your hands when touching surfaces that might contain bacteria.
It does appear to be an argument in favor of washing your hands after shopping, although I’m not yet convinced there is a huge risk.
Just read this…
Study Documents PBDE Flame Retardant Levels in Children
Mexican-American children in California had levels 7 times higher than their counterparts in Mexico
“PBDEs are persistent pollutants that have been used in many consumer products and household materials, including foam padding in furniture, carpets, baby products, and in transportation, including automobiles,” explains study co-author Asa Bradman of CERCH. “These products tend to have long lifespans, and the flame retardants are not chemically bound to the materials they’re used with. As polyurethane foam and other materials containing the flame retardants age and degrade, they can release PBDEs into people’s homes in the form of dust. And scientists know that when you have persistent pollutants in dust, they get into children. In some ways, PBDEs are like lead in this regard: although we don’t put lead in paint anymore, many houses still have lead in their paint.”
California’s unique flammability standards, outlined in Technical Bulletin 117, resulted in the addition of millions of pounds of flame retardants to the polyurethane foam used in upholstered furniture, carpet pads, and infant products including car seats and portable crib mattresses. These standards may have had the unintended consequence of causing California homes to have the highest levels of PBDE flame retardants in the nation.
As wikipedia says, PDBE’s are bad news:
Published studies express concern because exposure to PBDEs impairs development of the nervous system. PBDEs have also been shown to have hormone-disrupting effects, in particular, on estrogen and thyroid hormones. PBDEs may possess liver toxicity,
So I’m really only beginning to understand the health consequences of common household items. It’s moderately disheartening that you can fill your body with organic produce and be littered with environmental toxins simply because they’re in your furniture padding, your rug, and your car. My preference tends towards wood floors or solid floors - as they are less dusty, but even there I think you have to worry about sealants.
This site suggests this solution:
Consider housecleaning with a high efficiency vacuum. These are expensive but filter our dust much better than conventional vacuum cleaners. About 80% to 90% of PBDE exposure of Americans is thought to come from household dust contamination.
The site also talks about how PDBEs are in plastic casing.
To me this suggests a market for non-chemically produced cushions and pillows. For example I just found a site with pillows made out of buckwheat hulls. Since buckwheat hulls come directly from food, it seems unlikely that they’d contain toxins. This is also the case for millet hulls. Organic cotton pillows would be another alternative.
The next problem is the carpet. Organic cotton rugs are available.
The next problem is plastic casing I consider that to be less of an issue these, as I write this on a computer built from titanium, and I increasingly watch tv on a computer.
The next problem would be wood sealants for wood floors. Apparently there are non-toxic sealants, but apparently that’s for outdoors, and apparently you can install interlocking wooden floors indoors that don’t need a sealant. Bamboo flooring is also water resistant. Looks good.
The idea is that with thought and planning household toxins can be dramatically reduced. Additionally, a higher quality vacuum is a good thing as is great ventilation :)
So lamb has won praise because lambs can’t eat grains, so for those who like grass fed beef, lamb is one place where you can be reasonably sure you’re not getting a grain fed product (which produces lots of health problems). However, it turns out there is good lamb and even better lamb. Even better lamb is pastured.
In our own nutritional profile of lamb, we use a conservative average estimate of 40 milligrams of omega-3s per ounce of roasted lamb loin. That’s 50% of the omega-3s in an ounce of baked cod fish or broiled tuna, and 67% of the amount in an ounce of sesame seeds.
In research comparing indoor feeding on hay and nutrient concentrates with outdoor pasture feeding, pasture-fed lamb was found to contain significantly lower levels of trans fatty acids with the exception of a single trans fatty acid called vaccenic acid. Trans fats are a type of dietary fat that we want to avoid in large amounts due to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but vaccenic acid is one specific type of trans fat that we do not want to avoid since it’s the building block for a cardioprotective fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
This is important because some might think it’s easy to be less selective about lamb since lamb is not always grass fed, so pay up for the good stuff if you can afford it and it’s available.
The fact is science is often years behind common sense.
In the mid-1930s, smoking was becoming so common and lung cancer so prevalent that it was often impossible to definitively discern a statistical link between the two. Researchers wondered whether the intersection of the two phenomena was causal or accidental.
You have to use your common sense to predict what science will find and discover in the future. It’s not hard. Our bodies were evolutionarily designed to eat certain foods and lo and behold we’re increasingly finding that those foods are good for us (fruits, veggies, grass fed meats + fish), and we’ll likely continue to find good things.
In contrast, we’ll probably continue to find more bad things and more problems with milk, soy and a lot of these “newer” foods that we only started eating in the last 10,000 years.
A piece of research (PDF) [was] released Friday morning in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases
A team of researchers from Arizona bought meat and poultry in five cities across the United States, tested them for bacteria, and found this: 47 percent of the samples contained the very common pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, and 96 percent of those isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic. Of more concern: 52 percent of those staph isolates were resistant to at least three antibiotics that are commonly used in both veterinary and human medicine.
That is, roughly one in four packages of meat and poultry from across the United States contained multidrug resistant staph. Among the types of meat tested, turkey carried the most resistance, with 77 percent of the meat samples showing at least some; that was followed by pork (42 percent), chicken (41 percent) and beef (37 percent). Interestingly, it wasn’t all the same staph. Though there was a great diversity of staph types, each animal species seemed to carry mostly one sequence type or strain of staph: ST1 in pigs, ST5 in chickens and ST398 in turkey. (More on that below.) We found that each of the meat and poultry types had their own distinctive staph on them. That provides strong evidence that food animals were the primary source of the resistant staph. The source wasn’t human contamination of the meat at slaughter, or when it was packaged for retail sale.” hat surveillance system doesn’t look for MRSA, and in the past few years, because of those pig findings, there has been a lot of pressure to add MRSA to the list. But even if we did perform nationwide testing for MRSA in meat, that would not have found the multi-drug resistant strains revealed in Price’s work today — because most of them were not MRSA.
More from the original study:
A new multidrug-resistant S. aureus strain, ST398,has emerged that predominantly colonizes people working in food animal production. First discovered in 2003, ST398 now makes up a substantial proportion of the community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) cases in the Netherlands. Multiple studies have demonstrated the high prevalence of multidrug-resistant S. aureus, including ST398, among intensively raised swine in the European Union, Canada, and the United States, but few studies have been conducted to measure its prevalence in US food products.
All isolates were screened against antibiotics that are commonly used to treat severe MRSA infections. We identiﬁed 1 vancomycin-intermediate-resistant isolate and 1 daptomycinresistant isolate. Vancomycin, daptomycin, and their analogs were never approved for US food animal production; therefore, these ﬁndings were unexpected and may suggest origins other than US food animals.
European and North American studies indicate that ST398 can successfully colonize and infect humans.
Conventional concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) provide all the necessary components for the emergence and proliferation of multidrug-resistant zoonotic pathogens. In the United States, billions of food animals are raised in densely stocked CAFOs, where antibiotics are routinely administered in feed and water for extended periods to healthy animals.
I like how the study concludes that current conditions for raising animals are really ideal for producing drug resistant strains of bacteria. This is ridiculously scary. On the one hand, it’s a reason to eat more grass fed meat and pastured poultry. On the other hand, it’s arguable that more regular is needed for conventional farming methods.