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Only when you know the question, will you know what the answer means

42.

The answer to life, the universe, and everything.

I’ve used this joke a lot, but I’m about to be a Dad, so get used to me re-using jokes.  I think that’s part of becoming a Dad.  That, and I can rarely think of a better way to exemplify what I’m trying to say when I come across broad, over-arching answers.

This topic tends to come up with me one of two ways:

  • I’m making fun of something that is being touted as the new answer to everything (or is being advertised that way to do one thing… get you to buy and consume whatever it is).
    • My call for this year is tea.  No one particular tea, but ones with cool names in general, not the “normal” teas we’re used to seeing (like orange pekoe, earl grey or english breakfast), but the exotic sounding ones, like matcha, yerba maté, and other crazy stuff that might not even be tea but is being sold that way because we don’t know how else to conceptualize it otherwise.
  • I’m trying to explain the “Wellness and Lifestyle” model of healthcare.  Which, if we’re watching the slow decline of society into chronic illness, and chronic illness management, we desperately need.

Todays post is the latter of those two options.  Reading through research lately has been fun/tedious, but every once in a while you come across something seriously awesome.  I’m embarrassed I haven’t come across this sooner, to be honest.  but here it is:

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned... (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned… (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health promoting factors

This article is simply awesome.  Here is laypersons summary of their abstract:

  • Nrf2 is short for nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (yeah… Nerf 2 is a little easier to say/reference)
  • It’s a “transcription factor”, meaning it leads cells to “read” certain parts of our DNA and causes certain physiological cascades afterwards.
    • And this one activates the transcription of over 500 genes!
  • Things that it does:
    • detoxifies the body of molecules that can be toxic when accumulated to unhealthy levels as well as toxic metals
    • Anti-oxidant activities (reduces “bad” oxidation of molecules that can lead to mutations, aging, or unnecessary waste)
    • Produces anti-inflammatory changes (think, Advil, or fish oil)
    • Stimulates the creation of new mitochondria, and improves the function of already existing mitochondria (think, more energy, easier)
    • Stimulates autophagy – a cleaner for your cells, that gets rid of “trash” that can be problematic if not kept under control
  • Things that increase our amount of Nrf2:
    • Phenolic antioxidants, like plants, herbs and (wait for it…) tea
    • gamma and delta-tocopherols, tocotrienols.  Vitamin E – healthy fats, olive oil, avocado, etc.
    • Long chain Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA – from fish, krill, squid, grass-fed meats, etc.
    • Carotenoids like lycopene (in tomatoes and grapes)
    • isothiacynates from cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
    • Sulphur compounds from allium vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots, etc.)
    • Terpenoids (herbs like cinnamon and ginger)
    • Low level oxidative stress (low intensity exercise, like walking)
    • More intense exercise
    • Fasting/Caloric restriction
  • Chronic Inflammatory Diseases that are prevented/treated by increasing Nrf2?
    • cardiovascular diseases
    • kidney diseases
    • lung diseases
    • Diseases of toxic liver damage
    • Cancer [prevention]
    • Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome/Obesity
    • Sepsis
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Epilepsy
    • lesser evidence also points to the improvement of 16 other diseases

Sounds pretty impressive eh?  I like part of the conclusion, “Nrf2 is argued to be both lifespan and health span extending.” [emphasis mine]  FINALLY a focus on not just increasing the length of our lives, but also the quality of those years.

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

The authors also speak to the potential of having TOO much Nrf2 (which is smart to hopefully nip the “if some is good, let’s crank the knob up to 11!” bud), as it can cause a type of acne in certain cases, and more life-threatening risks in very extreme situations (in mice with a gene removed from their body that would regulate Nrf2, so it just continues to accumulate).  So it DOES NOT follow a, “if some is good, more is better” model either.  Very interesting… Almost like all those things that improve it should be employed, but not to excess.

News Flash – Being reasonable is healthy.

So if we want to improve our bodies detoxification pathways (which are a real thing, that your liver and kidneys help with), tidy up our cells, improve our mitochondrial health and generally improve our lives doing the things that help improve this particular transcription factor is not a bad idea.  What are those things?

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit (of various colours and textures) and quality meats and fats
  • Use some herbs and spices to make your food a bit more interesting
  • Consider long term side effects of steroids supplementing a modest amount of Omega 3 fats from high quality sources
  • Move your body at a low, steady pace, most of the time.  Then at a hard pace every once in a while.
  • Avoid overeating, and maybe consider fasting or taking on the mindset from Okinawa of “Hara Hachi Bu” – meaning to eat only until you’re 80% full

Stay Healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

What You Need to Know to Get and Stay Healthy

Hey Folks!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted!  Apologies for that.  So I’ve been thinking about what sets Chiropractic apart from other professions, and why we’re crucial when we DO share so much of our scope and skills with many other professionals (physics, massage therapists, osteos, athletic therapists, etc.) and it ultimately comes down to our philosophy.

But I’ve spoken about that numerous times before like what do proteins do for the body

.  So while I may hint at it throughout the rest of my life (and this post), I’ll attempt to tackle a different topic today.

Today I’d like to speak about how the truth isn’t sexy.  The true, and ultimate answers with regards to health (and fitness, really) isn’t particularly sexy.  I’ve mentioned that there are no shortcuts before, but that truth continues to shine through time after time throughout the years. There is exceptions like if you smoke and switch over to vaping and try out box mods then you can see the difference quickly. A great brand is the trademark of glass blunts by smoke cartel on this market.

Chiro’s are different because we’re the only profession that is based on the idea that there’s nothing wrong with you.  Intrinsically, you likely have the genetic blueprint to live a long, healthy, happy life.  Some folks (a small percentage… though it seems to be growing) have gene-based alterations in their set point, but, luckily for us, the overarching treatment plan is largely the same.  Assuming you’re physiology is good, and providing the necessary ingredients to provide health to your body isn’t nearly as sexy as rushing you into an Operating Room to cut you open and pull out your ruptured appendix, preventing the immediate risk to your life.

Medical doctors do AMAZING things.  They literally SAVE peoples lives and prevent deaths that would be imminent without them.  We should be grateful for it (and in those situations, people typically are).  The problem, is that nowadays lifestyle illnesses are responsible for most deaths.  So while Emergency interventions with Medicine can save your life (in the right situation, unfortunately not everyone lives) in the event of a heart attack or stroke, the cause of those issues didn’t happen suddenly. One thing I highlight here is to take care of your teeth as early as possible, many people don’t have money when things get out of control, check out must read for clean teeth and stay healthy.

I’m totally borrowing this analogy from James Chestnut, but you can think of the Medical Community as the “fire department”.  In this analogy your body is your house.  When your house is on FIRE, you call the fire department.  Given good timing and adequate staffing, the fire department saves your house from burning to the ground, but there is likely damage that will need to be repaired to make it “new” again.  When that time comes, does it make sense to call the fire department to come fix your house up?  Would the fire department become frustrated with your calls to them to help fix your house?  Absolutely.

This is where we are right now.  The medical community is overwhelmed and frustrated with the number of people who are “pre-diabetic”, “at risk” for heart attack and stroke or cancer, but don’t actually HAVE those problems.  Makes sense, right?  You have the tool that helps when that situation arises, but it isn’t quite there yet, and you can tell that by the way the person is headed, that they’ll likely get there over time.  If only there was a way to help turn those people around.

Well there is.  The PROBLEM, is that it isn’t very sexy – so it doesn’t appear like it could be the answer.

And thennnnn…

You want to get fit.  You want to pack on some muscle, but you enjoy being able to go for a run, play volleyball on the beach and you don’t want to put on any fat while you get stronger.  Welcome to the goal of everyone.  Some people get past this issue and reorient their goals.  That’s what leads to elite performances in sport.  Strongmen, Throwers and Powerlifters don’t CARE how fast they can run 800m, unless it makes them better at their sport/tasks at hand, which it doesn’t.  Sprinters don’t care if their shoulders lack range of motion and that gymnastics would help make their shoulders stronger and healthier… because it doesn’t help them sprint faster.  One goal – be the best in the world at ONE thing.  For most of us, this isn’t the goal.  And to be honest, it isn’t particularly healthy – but when the stakes are olympic gold, or high salary contracts, I can understand when it’d be worth it.

To prepare for true fitness, you’ll get a million different opinions.  it is likely impossible to be the best at absolutely everything.  Who knows, maybe that will be proven wrong one day, but until then it seems like it’d be true.  So to improve your level of fitness, you need to lift heavy things, move your body in progressively more complex ways, sprint every so often and otherwise move about with a good amount of frequency.  You need to eat well, too, but we’ll cover that next.  There’s no “This ONE move you AREN’T doing and your trainer WON’T tell you about!”  It doesn’t exist.  There’s hard work at intelligent tasks and that’s it.  Work the short time domain and the long one.  Work the heavy stuff, the fast stuff AND the slow stuff.  Use gymnastics, kettlebells, medicine balls, barbells, rings,  and as many other implements as you can.  Give EVERYTHING you have sometimes.  Other times focus on quality and perfection in movement (though that should be the goal for ALL movement).  Work on moving hard and fast when you’re moving, and resting when you need to.  THAT, creates fitness.  No BS, no secrets.

And thennnn…

You want to know what to eat.  We were told fat was bad, and then that maybe it isn’t.  But what about vegetable oils, omega 3 oils, saturated fat and so on?  We are CONSTANTLY barraged with recommendations for supplements to take.  Whether it’s a commercial, a multi-level addiction marketing agency, we never know what to take seriously and what not to.  There is SO much information and contradictory claims out there with regard to nutrition that it has been the topic of hundreds of books.  And it will continue to be.

BUT, this is where that Chirpractic view of HEALTH comes in.  This is where we develop our BS filter.

Most Chiropractors are of the opinion that we don’t need more people trying to put out fires on their own with a garden hose and store-bought fire extinguisher (still speaking in metaphor here… those are actually good things to have around in the event of a real fire).  We don’t want to be responsible for putting out uncomplicated low back pain fires.  We want to increase your health.

Improve movement, mobility and stability in the spine and extremities, and you get healthier people.  Fine tune peoples nutrition to help them provide their body with what it NEEDS, and you get healthier people.  Teach people about the value of friendship, family values, being grateful, and positive thinking and you get healthier people.  THAT is what chiropractors like myself specialize in.  Your back/neck/shoulder/hip/knee/whatever pain will “magically” go away when you cover all these bases most of the time. Just search and read, the delfogo review. You can get some tips and advice there.

Devote yourself to getting HEALTHY, not just avoiding disease.  Be the healthiest, happiest person you know.

Stay Healthy friends,

Dr. Adam Ball

Health, not anti-Disease

Hey Folks!

20120320-104244.jpg

So, at what point have we started eating, living and thinking in ways that are designed to avoid disease? I was just thinking the other day – there are so many “diet” books, and books on lifestyle interventions like exercise, stretching, meditation, etc. that are designed around preventing or treating a particular illness.

“The anti-cancer diet”

“The diabetes exercise solution”

“Meditate your fibromyalgia away!”

And so on and so forth…

What’s the Problem?

The problem is that we need to pursue health, not avoid disease. There are too many diseases to avoid any one in particular. What happens if you get cancer while eating the heart disease diet? Then you just happened to choose the wrong diet to adhere to?

We love doing things, or taking things for a particular reason. When I recommend to patients that they take fish oil, vitamin D or probiotics, the most common follow up question I receive is, “ok, but what is it for?”

It’s for making you healthy. That may seem like a facetious answer, and to some degree it is, but the truth is that I may recommend vitamin D to someone with MS, someone with rheumatoid arthritis, someone with IBS symptoms, and someone with chronic colds. So then, how do I answer that question?

I’m asking you to take vitamin D because living in northern latitudes we simply cannot absorb any from the sun between the months of October and March. We need to supplement it during those months because vitamin D is an essential nutrient involved with too many reactions in your body than this post can justify OR that science has even elucidated. Fish oil and probiotics can be added to that list – as can exercise, good quality sleep, loving relationships, and a whole slew of other healthy activities.

What’s the solution?

We need to realize that we aren’t eating good food, exercising, and loving each other because some scientist somewhere has “discovered” that it is associated with a reduction in your chances for colon cancer. We do all these things because they’re all associated with being healthy, and healthy people have a far lesser chance of getting sick from all illnesses.

The solution is Wellness and Prevention; it’s using and adjusting our lifestyle to match what our DNA requires from us to build a healthy human being.

So while you might take fish oil “for your arthritis”, you’re also taking it for the health of your nervous system, your cardiovascular health and to improve your insulin sensitivity. You exercise because it makes your knee feel better, but also because it helps keep plaques out of your arteries, and improves your ability to learn. You spend time relaxing because it relieves your headache, but also because it lowers cortisol in your blood, improves sexual function, and improves your recovery from exercise. You avoid grains because it makes you feel less bloated, but also because it lowers inflammation, improves the quality of your gut lining and improves the amount of serotonin and dopamine available to your brain.

How to implement all these activities and behaviors in your life will be saved for another post. If you’ve read my previous posts you probably have a good idea where to start though. Thanks for reading everyone!

In Health,
Dr. Adam Ball

Addressing Lifestyle & Making you “Healthy”

Hi Folks!

I have experienced a small handful of patients coming to see me who brought up in passing that “oh yeah, I’ve been feeling numbness over here” or, “oh yeah, and I hit my head really hard and have a wicked headache right now”… Both (and others) which were followed up with – “Can you help with that?”

Yes.  I can.

While my main concern is for the function and structure of your spine and its joints, I can address your extremities (feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands… anywhere you have a joint, really), I can address numbness and I can address headaches.  Pretty much any part of your health – I want to know about.  While I don’t want your symptoms to be your focus, knowing that they were present, and that now they are not is a nice metric of you getting healthier and your body finding its balance.  So please, let me know if there is something new, or something in particular that you’d like me to concentrate on.

I am concerned with improving your experience of how you look, how you feel and how you perform (thanks to Robb Wolf for articulating these concise metrics of health).  When you look, feel and perform well – you’re usually pretty darn healthy.  Healthy Folks don’t have numbness, headaches or debilitating back pain/IBS attacks.  Healthy Folks do eat an impeccable diet, exercise intelligently and regularly lower their stress levels.

You have the time.  You just need to schedule it in and be efficient.  Pencil in “20 minute workout”, or “prepare lunch and dinner for tomorrow” instead of “watch Greys”.  Set an alarm on your blackberry/iphone to remind you to work out, say “I love you” to someone or simply smile and take a deep breath.

Make living healthy a habit.  It isn’t difficult.  Living in a wheel chair is difficult.  Not playing with your children because you’re in too much pain is difficult.  The initial change might be uncomfortable at first, but once you’ve gotten used to making healthy decisions, you’ll notice it gets easier and easier.

If you have any questions, let me know – I am well studied in the areas of nutrition/diet, biomechanics, exercise, and most other areas that have an effect on health.

In health,

Dr. Adam Ball

Your DNA doesn’t care about who you are…

As a wellness and prevention practitioner, I face the occasional challenge in regards to patient compliance to a genetically congruent lifestyle far more frequently than I face those patients who have been provided with bad information.  My experiences with patients have taught me something that I’ve heard before, but which really resonated with me today.

Your DNA does not care one bit about WHO you are, how important you may be, or how much money you make.  Not even a little.  THAT is powerful information, and it can be an important reminder to be meticulous with how you spend your time, and what you allow to enter your body (in terms of food, thoughts and movement).

100 times out of 100 your DNA and its’ genes will respond to the stimulus they are provided.  You will only express genes and their corresponding proteins in response to the environmental demand you place on them.  This can mean the expression of vibrant health, or the expression of unfavourable physiological states (often referred to as pathology).

So, this is where the truth comes in, and in some cases where it can sting a little.  If you’re working your butt off, putting in 80 hour weeks, forgetting meals (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, depending on what foods you’re eating), neglecting friends and family (your positive social relationships with actual people), and reducing the amount of time you spend sleeping (or avoid it all together) – And all this makes you a billion dollars… well, I hope you have children to pass the money on to, because you aren’t going to be around long enough to enjoy it.

If you don’t make your health a priority now – you will have to at some point (if you’re lucky enough to live).  I know what this is like.  I had 40+ hours a week of classes, supplemented with 40+ hours a week of studying – all leading to something that was going to be my future career, i.e. if I didn’t pass those classes, then I just invested a tonne of cash in an education I wouldn’t be able to use.  That’s a fair amount of pressure and it’s a fair amount of stress – and my body responded with crappy sleep, lots of food cravings and a less than desirable body composition.  When I started out in my first year I would avoid going to the gym, going out with friends and a lot of other stuff I loved doing because I felt like I needed that time to study.  What I found out later on (when I knew I could get good grades without killing myself with the books for hours), was that when I spent that time in the gym or with my friends, that I was more focused when it came to study and I was far more efficient with my time.  My grades improved with less studying.  I retained the knowledge better.  I was healthier and in better shape.  And I grew my relationships with my friends.

What’s the moral of the story?  Your DNA wants you to succeed.  When you provide it what it needs, you will do better in every aspect of your life.  How concentrated are you at work during those 80 hours if you have back pain, blood sugar swings and some mild depression?  Does it make sense to you that you might feel better and concentrate more knowing you are experiencing the best health of your life?

It does to me.  And I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to help it make sense to you too.

 

Cheers Folks!

Dr. Adam Ball

Sudbury… ROCKS!!!

Hey Folks!

So I probably should have written a blog post about a month ago, but life got busy.  Sorry.

For those of you that don’t know, I (Dr. Ball) moved up to Sudbury to take over an awesome chiropractic practice and to bring the message of wellness to the masses up in Northern Ontario.  For those of you that may be new to my site, Wellness is the ability of your body to express and maintain ever increasing levels of health – you just need to provide the right input stimulus.  But what is the right stimulus?

The right stimulus means having access to an appropriate range of motion (having your spine checked out by a good quality Chiropractor, Physio, Massage therapist and whoever else you feel you should consult with), moving your body in intelligent ways (intelligently programmed CrossFit, MovNat, and the occasional other well programmed Strength and Conditioning facility).  Why does this matter?  Because movement charges your brains battery.  I like this great example I heard from Dr. James Chestnut; If you spend your day sitting around eating food and watching TV – are you energized?  Or are you tired?  Conversely, if you get up off the couch and go for a walk outside or do a little exercise, expending energy, do you feel more tired?  Or do you feel energized?  How does that make sense?  It makes sense because the movement of your body activates nerves, moves blood and as many great Chiropractors like to say, “turns the lights on”.  Movement isn’t the whole story though…

Another very important ingredient to the environment you provide your body is your diet.  You need to provide your body with highly nutritious foods (meats, vegetables, fruits, and good quality fats), and avoid those foods that are setting you back.  I’m sorry to say it, but there are foods that are less good for you, and foods that are more good for you, it’s as simple as that.  And unfortunately the USDA and most nutrition and diet “experts” don’t know this yet either, which makes me sad AND makes for conflicting nutrition advice that makes a reader like yourself want to say, “oh shut up, none of you know what you’re talking about – everything in moderation”.  I’ll resort to another great quote to counter the “moderation” dogma, “everything in moderation works so long as you only want a moderate level of health”.  And finally, the MOST important input to your success as a student of health (which we all are)…

Your mental health is the most important part of your internal environment.  De-stressing or finding practices that help you relieve your stress levels (breathing techniques, yoga, tai chi, etc.) are great ways to manage your internal environment.  If you don’t believe in yourself, it will help if someone else does, but ultimately YOU will decide your outcome.  Finding happiness and contentment is a daily practice and everyone has good days and bad.  Setting goals, spending time doing things you love, moving your body and eating well (those sound familiar) will all support a positive internal environment.

So for those of you that don’t know me – that’s what I’m about.  For those of you that do, it’s a nice reminder.  Set goals, set the micro-goals that lead to those goals.  How important are those goals to you?  If they’re important they’ll dictate how strictly you adhere to the guidelines that you know will lead to the achievement of your goal.  Slow progress is sometimes “easier” than quick progress.  Set the path and follow it closely.

Cheers Folks!  And to my Element and CFM friends, Miss you guys!

Dr. Adam Ball

What’s the deal with fish oil?

Hey Folks!  I miss you all.  Sorry I haven’t been keeping in touch, HOWEVER, you’ll be happy to know that Rachael (many of you will know who I’m talking about, some may not, that’s ok… for now), and I have been working on a bit of a “program” or informational source, or answer… to all your questions about how to best help you achieve health via food, exercise and chiro (of course).  So while I should have been working on the info for this program a lot more, it has still managed to make a good excuse not to write blog posts.  Sorry for that.  I have about an hour before I start work at Crossfit Mississauga (come in for a workout & some chiro!), so I’m hoping to answer many common questions about fish oil today.

“WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH “OMEGA” OILS?”

Ok.  There are omega 3 (n3) and omega 6 (n6) fatty acids (there are also omega 9, but we’ll pretend I didn’t just write that for the remainder of this post as they just aren’t very sexy).  They are BOTH essential fats and we need them both.  These fats are polyunsaturated (meaning there are “kinks” in the molecule, while saturated fats have no kinks [extra sidebar:  I guess in this way you could say that saturated fat is not very “kinky”… ha…ha…ha…], and monounsaturated fats have one kink) which means they have slightly different properties than saturated fats.  For one, they’re liquid at room temperature.  This is a somewhat interesting part of them which some folks will say means they add more fluidity to the cell membrane.  Whether or not this is true is moot.  You can *test* how unsaturated your fish oil is by putting it in the freezer.  If it solidifies… well your “fish oil” is most likely mostly olive oil.  Ooops!

“AND?”

The standard north American diet is greatly skewed in the direction of n6 oils.  Generally the ratio considered “healthy” is 1.5:1 (n6:n3).  The typical diet around here with its’ processed foods chocked full of soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and other silly oils (as well as the silly oil make up in conventional meats – think about what they’re being fed!) puts us at an unhappy 10-25:1 ratio of n6 to n3 fats.

“SO WHY IS THAT BAD?”

It’s bad because n6 fats are the precursors to many inflammatory cytokines that help us to propagate our inflammatory lifestyles.  Omega 3 fats also lead to cytokines, but they are a bit more appropriate.  We want that nice 1.5:1 ratio because it is the best indication that your body has the necessary ingredients to make you healthy.  Imagine in the other situation (the bad one) you are making some mashed potatoes and you need butter, but your friend keeps handing you container after container of margarine (ew).  At some point you’re just going to give up looking for the butter and use the dumb margarine.

“SO WHAT ABOUT FISH OIL?”

Fish oil is (was) the new panacea of the year (fish oil is SO 2001, pfff).  We live in a constant unhappy ratio with way too much n6 fats helping us to make way too much inflammation.  The logical next step is, “so let’s fix the ratio!  Everyone shotgun some fish oil!”, which isn’t a great approach, but it’s definitely better than doing nothing.

“KIRKLAND BRAND IS CHEAP!!!  WHY SHOULD I USE THE STUFF YOU SELL?”

The more expensive fish oils contain more EPA and DHA (the longest and most beneficially healthy oils) per gram of “omega 3”.  This is a good thing.  A lot of the other “omega 3” oil in the cheaper supplements is oleic acid – a short chain n3 fat that is the main fat in olive oil (it’s also abundant in many other places – grass-fed beef, for one).  Unless you want to take 15-25 Costco brand fish oils every day, buy the more expensive stuff and just take less.  Onward!

“OK.  I HEAR SOME FOLKS SAYING FISH OIL IS BAD THOUGH!”

This is where stuff gets complicated.  The less good part of just crushing fish oil to “fix” your ratio is that you’re still crushing n6 oils.  This means you’re consuming a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids all together.  While our body likes some polyunsaturated fatty acids, more isn’t better.  These long, kinked fatty acids are very reactive with many things in our body (the intense heat, oxidative substances, etc.)  and oxidized fatty acids are not our favourite.  You know how if you leave the olive oil bottle open and out in the sun on a summer day?  That nasty smell (rancid oil) is what happens in your body (it’s kinda hot in there).

“WHAT ABOUT KRILL OIL?!?! IT HAS CAROTENOIDS!”

I’m sure it does.  Krill is generally at the bottom of the food chain in the ocean and a lot of other species rely on it.  Let’s not overwhelm those poor tiny little shrimps and mess with things too bad.  Also, you can’t punch a krill in the face – most fish are punch-sized. Fish oil can also help you cure masturbating issues, but when you need help, learn more from masturbationaddiction.com.

“BUT I’M VEGAN AND EATING (and punching) ANIMALS IS WRONG!!!”

If you can’t not be a vegan, then acquire some omega 3 oil from algal sources.  It’s out there and it isn’t too expensive, and algae doesn’t have a cute face or complain when you kill it.

“NO IT’S OK I’VE GOT IT UNDER CONTROL – I EAT A CUP OF FLAX WITH EVERY MEAL!  HAHA!”

Good lord, I don’t want to know what your bowel movements are like.  Stop eating so much flax and get the algae version of your n3 supplement.  Flax is abundant in n3 fats – but they’re the short chain n3 fats that don’t have a great conversion to the longer chain n3 fats… And flax isn’t very tasty.

“NOW WHAT?”

Go out and get yourself a quality fish oil supplement.  Take somewhere between a gram and a half and 3 grams a day of EPA + DHA (not just n3).  Eat happy, grass-fed versions of all your favourite animals.  Most importantly, avoid n6 vegetable oils like it’s your job.  They aren’t very tasty (taste test a spoon of corn oil versus a spoon of coconut oil, or butter, or ghee, or bacon fat, or tallow – you get the point).  You’re omega 3 situation will be much better with this set up.  There are blood tests you can get to see where you’re at, but I prefer to just judge it by how you look feel and perform.  If you’ve been crushing fish oil for a long time at high doses and you’re noticing you bruise really easy, dial it back a bit.

 

 

I think that just about covers it!  Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any other questions!

 

Cheers!

 

Dr. Adam Ball

n=1… ALL DAY

Hey Folks!

n=1 (actually it was 2). 100% of the subjects in this study enjoyed riding a bike off a ramp into the lake. Statistical significance reached.

So I’m working on a more technical post about HOW everything breaks down with disordered eating involving insulin resistance, depression, IBS, infertility and so on.  Here’s hoping it becomes a “thing”.  But for now, I want to concentrate on some testimonials and I also want to visit and check myself at the Advanced Fertility Center.

Some say that case studies and anecdotes are crap, and that they offer no value to the scientific world.  To some degree this is true – as you’ve probably heard at one point or another a strong testimonial for healthy whole grains, the soy diet, the raw vegan diet and a whole host of other diets destined for sadness and failure (and in many cases, outright disease).  I’m not saying these diets CAN’T work, just that they are not the optimal diet for humans to thrive on.  I’m not interested in what types of diets we can survive on, I’m interested in developing a diet that you and I will THRIVE on.

That being said, there have been plenty of folks who have reversed serious disease, lost lots of weight, and become much happier eating a paleo/primal/anti-inflammatory/ideal diet.  Here are some of those people:

 

http://robbwolf.com/2011/03/28/real-life-testimonials-jodis-paleo-diary/

http://robbwolf.com/2011/02/14/real-life-testimonial-controlling-type-1-diabetes-with-the-paleo-diet/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-rise-of-lazarus/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/i-decided-to-do-something-about-it/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/never-in-a-million-years-did-i-think/

 

And I’ll stop there but you get the idea that there are many people who have benefited from eating a paleo/primal diet.

 

“But n=1 is silly and means nothing!”

 

The only beef (mmmmm, beef) I have with this argument is that n=1 is you.  It’s you trying something out.  It’s you learning to play cricket for the first time.  It’s you trying brussel sprouts again after 10 years thinking you “hate” brussel sprouts (maybe you still do).  It’s you trying to lift heavy things instead of running long distances.  And it’s you seeing how you look, feel and perform (that sounds snappy – thanks Robb Wolf) doing all these things.

So be your own n=1 experiment.  Waiting to find out what the next randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind  study to prove that being active, being happy and eating well is good for you, is just plain silly.

Let’s all ruin science and get healthy at the same time!  Have a great weekend folks, and if you’re doing it, good luck on Crossfit Open Sectionals WOD#3!

 

Dr. Adam Ball

Musings: Vegan babies, the “Evil Trifecta” & How your genes affect your jeans

Hi Folks!

Spring is getting closer!

So I fully intended on having a well written, long and informative article to post this week but I just haven’t managed to get around to it.  So today will be a smattering of link posts and thoughts about the happenings as of late.

As I previously posted about, the Robb Wolf seminar was a great refresher about paleo nutrition and the optimal approach to the dietary management of chronic disease.  Since then I have had the chance of speaking with some friends and family about the seminar and about diet in general and some questions/comments arose, as they usually do.

  • Vegan babies are occasionally not well taken care of and they die, usually due to malnutrition – As far as I’m concerned this is unacceptable, and these parents are knowingly starving their babies to death.  This is tragic and unnecessary.  The parents should know better, but if they’re mistaken enough to think that humans can thrive on a vegan diet, they are more than likely mistaken about most things related to human physiology.  I think it would be interesting to find out if the parents who were responsible for these babies had to rethink their logic and understanding of nutrition, seeing that this type of diet not only does not create optimal health, but doesn’t even create an environment where a human baby can survive.

o   Links here (1 old, 1 new):  http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.35c2caa5efa0e183b7b38a2d0e2b7f40.71&show_article=1

o   http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html?_r=1

  • Far less intense is the “evil trifecta” proposed by Robb Wolf (and also explained at length by Dr. Kurt Harris, Dr. Emily Deans, and I’m sure many others) of gluten, linoleic acid (the polyunsaturated, n-6 fatty acid found in many vegetable oils), and fructose.  After having mentioned this to people I get a mixture of responses.

o   For those familiar with paleo nutrition, the next question is usually from the person shooting for perfection, “so should I stop eating fruit?” or the person who is already annoyed with having given up grains, “so you’re telling me I can’t have fruit anymore either?”

o   The answer is no, you don’t have to give up fruit.  They’re fruit.  Reminds me of a post by the folks at Whole9 (http://www.urbangetsdiesel.com/2009/06/carrot-train-to-crazytown.html).  While the main sugar in fruit IS fructose, there really isn’t THAT much that you need to worry about fatty liver disease or insulin resistance.  That is unless you’re crushing a LOT of fruit.  This tends to be the tendency to those new to paleo/primal eating.  They’re still sweet, and they generally taste better than vegetables.  But if you’re replacing all your vegetables with fruit, it might eventually become a sticking point for weight-loss and well-being.  Just saying.

o   The other answer is, “but I love grains!  WHOLE grains must be good right?  I don’t eat white wonder bread, I eat the stuff with lots of fibre!”  Sorry folks, but no bread is the best kind of bread.  If you want to lose weight, manage your auto-immune disease or just feel better in every way, you need to give up grains.  Am I telling you that you can NEVER have grains again?  No.  Try giving them up for 30 days, and then have some occasionally.  The bloated, gassy, headachy, hangover-y feeling you get (and to which degree you get it) will determine if enjoying it is worth it.  I’ll be honest, for me, sometimes it is.

o   Links worth checking out:

§  http://crossfitflood.typepad.com/nutrition/2009/03/damn-dirty-grains.html

§  http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/

o   Interesting to note is that no one really complains about the vegetable oil.  That could be because it all tastes terrible and that all our favourites that we gave up are SO much more delicious (butter, ghee, coconut oil, pork fat, beef fat, etc.)

  • Finally, I just want to speak about genetics.  Your genetics is your bodies’ recipe for health.  When myself and other speak about us “all having the same genes”, what we AREN’T saying (although I should only speak for myself here) is that we all have identical genes (as in identical twins, although even then there are some differences).  What I am saying, is that we all have the gene to create the cornea in our eye, the gene to up-regulate insulin receptors on our cells, the genes to induce the many steps to apoptosis to prevent cancer.  We all have these.  But what do we have that affects these genes?  Everything we eat, every way we move and everything we think.  These inputs are the reason our body activates and expresses genes and inhibits others.
  • In health care, we’re all around this paradigm without ever (almost) delving into it.  Bruce Lipton, James Chestnut and many others have figured this out.  It gives us a solid foundation to create questions and theories from.  It gives us a leg to stand on when we ask, “Why?”  My question to the general public and to the many areas of healthcare is, “why have we stopped asking why?”  It’s killing us!
  • This new report is about the differences we have between us.  Our epigenetics are responsible for the many differences in disease states and susceptibility to disease states and general adaptations to lifestyle inputs.  This person can eat whatever they want and not put on a lot of fat, this person cannot.  If studies from the agouti mouse tell us anything, it’s that the lifestyle of past generations DOES matter.  But what we don’t seem to make the connection to, is that it doesn’t mean that living in healthy ways still matters, and that it’s reversible!

o   Let’s say your grandma had type-2 diabetes, and your mom has type-2 diabetes, are you silly to think you might be “predisposed” to type-2 diabetes?  Not at all!  But can you make the connection that if you are diligent and live healthy and do not get type-2 diabetes, and your daughter does the same and also doesn’t get it, that that would “predispose” her daughter to NOT acquire type-2 diabetes?  Ahhhh, perfect.  Healthy living is healthy living.  There are degrees of health within your genetics ability to express it (whether you have predispositions or not).

o   Here is the link to the news article:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110323104737.htm

o   The other idea is that the input you create matters and affects the genes that are expressed.  This is easily demonstrated by putting someone suffering from glioma (a type of brain cancer) on a ketogenic diet.  Gene expression changes.  Interesting right?  It’s just proof that the way we eat, move and think matters.

o   Here’s the link to the journal article:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2949862/?tool=pubmed

So that’s all I have to say right now.  I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and if you’re competing in the Crossfit games open sectional, good luck & have fun!

Cheers!

Dr. Adam Ball

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution Seminar

This past weekend I attended the Paleo Solution seminar put on by Robb Wolf.  It was well organized, timed and executed.  I will preface this “review” with the fact that I really dig everything Robb is doing with regards to the paleo “movement”.  Much like myself, Robb just wants to help people achieve and experience health.  He isn’t trying to accomplish it by making a magical ratio that can be achieved by eating molecularly-baked goods, by selling very well made, and delicious (but expensive) protein powder or by withholding information that is only available for purchase.  If you’ve been listening to the podcast and reading what Robb puts out on his website, then you’ve probably heard almost everything that is in the seminar at one point or another.  The seminar puts it all together into one presentation, which is difficult to do (otherwise others would be doing it).  Thanks Robb (and Nikki).

The Pro’s:

  • Robb’s example (himself) of how a set of beliefs can drive you into disease was a great start point for the seminar – if we are not changing people’s belief systems about food, then we will not be changing what people want to eat and therefore what people are eating.
  • While the seminar was essentially 7 hours of straight lecture with an hour long lunch break, the flow was great, and the small “breaks” for questions were enough of a mental de-load before continuing with the material
  • I’m glad there weren’t “pee breaks” or food breaks (aside from lunch and question periods) as there is usually a lot of time lost to trying to reign folks back into the lecture room, which happens at just about every other seminar I’ve been to
  • The basic science review was in depth enough for the sciencey folks and I believe simple enough for those new to some of the concepts (the intestinal mucosa, immune cells and their response, etc.)
  • Robb presents a compelling argument as to why grains, legumes and pseudo-grains are sub-optimal foods and how they contribute to chronic disease
  • Explaining how we can use the study of paleolithic peoples and their diet and lifestyle to ask the right questions was well explained and great examples are presented

o   Going from anthropological observations to clinical observations to clinical testing to mechanistic theory to mechanistic validation help to explain how to ask the right questions and a great path to create progress

  • Digestion, Gut permeability, auto-immunity, metabolic derangement, lifestyle and implementation were all touched upon and well explained
  • Robb took the time to provide case studies/anecdotes about people who have benefitted from different approaches to improving ones diet, but didn’t rely on it for his explanations and theories.
  • References were provided and explored – ideas and theories had good scientific backing
  • It all makes sense – I wasn’t left with “yeah, but…”

 

The Con’s:

  • It was only one day – Seriously this could be two or more days if we really wanted to geek out with the science/biochemistry involved with everything

o   It would be sweet to see a Robb Wolf, Mat Lalonde and Dr. Cordain 3 day seminar at some point – maybe even aimed at health care providers/those involved with educating clients/patients versus those interested in the information personally?

  • A little more time could be spent on the acute sepsis/injury effect on insulin resistance mechanisms and their explanation – it may be a combination of these concepts being towards the end of the day (being a little mentally fried) and that I think Robb may have been a little speedier with getting through this area of the seminar
  • Further effects of Palmitic acid could be explored (a la the explanation by Mat Lalonde in the recent podcast re: fasting/eating very low carb versus eating so many carbs that palmitic acid is abundant)
  • It could be nice to stay together for a lunch designed by Robb at the venue of the seminar – although I know this would require more planning and probably a more expensive price-tag for the seminar

All together it was one of the better seminars I’ve been to in regard to content, flow and guiding principles.  It drives home the fact that the answers we find are largely determined by the questions we ask.  And if we ask questions without some sort of base, guiding principles, we end up with the jumbling of answers that is the current state of health and nutritional science.

Thanks again, Robb.  Cheers Everyone!

Robb was nice enough to pose for a photo with me after the seminar

Dr. Adam Ball