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Labels…What Are They Good For?

Are you puzzled when you look at the labels on your vitamins, or medicine for that matter and wonder why some say “Take with food”, others say “Take on empty stomach” and still others say “Don’t drink alcohol with this medication”? The answer has everything to do with solubility, or the ability of the body to absorb the material in the pill. For our purposes (vitamins and supplements), there are two groups of substances, water-soluble and fat-soluble.

SOLUBILITY?

Water-soluble vitamins, which include all of the B and C vitamins, are easily absorbed into the body. If you consume more of a water-soluble vitamin than you need, the excess will be excreted, not stored. This means the risk of an overdose is low, but you have to constantly replenish your stock. This is why it is possible to get Vitamin B12 shots from basically anywhere, because the worst that happens if you don’t need all of the nutrients is your urine turns a fun color for the rest of the day.

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and D, on the other hand require bile acids to help absorb them. These are longer lasting, and don’t end up being absorbed until your small intestines. They are stored primarily in your liver and other fatty tissues, and in some cases stay in the body for weeks or longer.  There is a significantly higher risk of overdose with these vitamins in excess because a toxic level can build up over time without you realizing it. Don’t worry, a well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity, but excessive vitamin supplementation might.

Why is this the case?

Why do some vitamins just pass through the body and others linger? Well the short answer is because that is how your body evolved to cope during the hundreds of thousands of years when humans just barely had enough nutrients to survive. The B and C vitamins feed our energy and circulatory systems. They give you a boost of speed, or help protect your heart (no vitamin C did not prevent prehistoric colds, and it won’t prevent yours). These nutrients are fairly plentiful out in the big wild world, and so our bodies are used to not needing to store them.

On the other hand, vitamins A and D are related to long term needs such as your vision and bones. They are harder to find in the wild, and as such our bodies have become very efficient at extracting these nutrients wherever they can be found, and storing them for as long as possible.

I know I know, you are waiting for me to address the last question….”Don’t drink alcohol with this medication”…the short answer is: that is nonsense. Of course you can drink while taking that medication. In fact you can literally drink while taking any medication. The problem comes the next day(s) when your body is trying to recover. Because the warning that you ignored, was just a simple way of telling you that the medicine you are taking is hard on your liver. So give your liver a break and don’t drink when your pill bottle says not to.

What About Freedom?

Our anti-arthritis supplement, Freedom is composed of water soluble herbs, but we still suggest you take each dose around a meal. We do this not because of the absorption potential of our ingredients; but because some, like cayenne can upset an empty stomach. We believe in minimizing the risk of discomfort – especially in a supplement meant to end joint pain. 

Do you want to end your joint pain? If you have arthritis, Freedom might be the answer for you. In the last two years, over 20 clinical trials the ingredients in Freedom have consistently reduced pain, and make it easier to move for people with arthritis (RA and OA). 

We’re confident you’ll love our supplements, so confident we offer a ‘Keep It’ money back guarantee. If the product doesn’t perform for you, we’re not gonna play games with you. If you don’t like it, you can keep it! Notify our team, and we’ll get you a refund right there on the spot – no return necessary.

How to read….nutritional research edition

About twice a week my news-feed has some story about a new research study that completely invalidates the old line. “Saturated fat isn’t so bad…go ahead and have that bacon”, “Sunscreen the cause of cancer?”….etc. The seeming variation in what is touted as ‘scientific research’ is enough to make anyone question whether science is all it is cracked up to be. Don’t worry – science isn’t the problem – 75-90% of the time it is the way the study is being represented…I’ll explain

Tim’s super handy guide to Nutritional science readinG

Step 1: Take a deep breath

There is about a million different people all writing about nutritional science, and all of them are going to see it a tad differently. So take a deep breath and remember you are looking at the research in order to inform your decisions. You aren’t looking to science to validate yourself

Step 2: Steel yourself for sensational headlines

Those million people are going to need something to set themselves apart from their peers, and there are two ways to do that. The first is clickbait. I’m a straight white man, so if you hear anyone who fits that description tell you they don’t click links that have photos of women, then they are lying. I’m told women do similar things, but I can’t verify that.

Anyway the second way is a sensational headline. What better way to get people young and old to click your link than to say this is the ‘first’, ‘best’, ‘worst’, ‘most significant change’…etc? We are socially conditioned to respond to words like that, so no shame in clicking on the link to find out more, but just remember….the only reason the headline is there is to get your attention.

Step 3: Remember how nutritional research is conducted (The Cool Version)

The bottom line is that nutritional research is extremely poorly funded. This means researchers have to make the hard decision of compromising on the length or the size of the study. Compromising on length is almost always significantly harder to correct later, because you want your test subjects in a controlled setting the whole time you are studying them. So coming back later and trying to restart the study doesn’t work.

Compromising on the size of the study is much easier to correct through future studies. The hallmark of any study involving humans is a selection of a representative sample of the population. This is done through random sampling. If you are a researcher who has the money to do a study of 15 people, but need at least 120 to be a true representative sample, then you just find your 120 random test subjects, and just study them 15 at a time.

This creates a situation where one of the eight notional studies would contradict the results of one or two of the others. But once the full analysis, also called ‘meta-analysis’, is done of all the studies grouped together, the researchers (and you) are able to see the full conclusions.

Step 3a: How Nutritional Research Is Conducted (The more technical Version)

The gold standard for evaluating cause and effect (for example, if saturated fat causes heart disease) is the randomized control trial (RCT), where participants are divided by chance into separate groups that undergo different regimens. But it’s not always possible to do RCTs because they’re expensive and it’s hard for people to follow strict diet regimes long-term.

Instead, researchers often rely on correlational studies, which don’t show cause and effect, but tell us if two things are related in some way. One big problem in this research is controlling for variables outside of what’s being studied. With saturated fat for example, researchers try to control for other factors like income or exercise, but can never account for all variables.

Correlational studies leave more room for interpretation than RCTs — and when human nature comes into play, it can seem like advice is flip-flopping. Personal bias, funding sources or the pressure to succeed can unintentionally creep into a researcher’s work and influence the results.

Step 4: Apply what you read

The next time you see a headline about a new study that seems to contradict nutritional norms, remember that these are the studies that grab media attention. The vast majority of nutritional research never makes it beyond medical journals. Scrutinize the story carefully. Consider whether it’s an RCT or a correlation study, and whether it’s a single trial or a meta-analysis.

Finally, disregard “experts” who claim they are 100 percent certain of the science on an issue. You shouldn’t mind if an expert is uncertain. As long as they can say, we don’t have the perfectly definitive study, but the available evidence points towards… We all need to remember, science is a process, not an outcome.

Next time

My next post will get back to talking about anti-inflammation supplements (some old posts are here). In the meantime, if you are looking for a supplement whose ingredients are all backed by RCTs, check out my Indiegogo page. Or if you are looking for what you or your kids’ lives will be like when humanity makes its jump into space check out my other blog.

Tea Time?

If you know anything about me you know I can be a tad hyperbolic when talking because I love telling stories. And, lets be honest…a story about how I went to the grocery store gets quite a bit better with a little drama. But when it comes to supplements, and food in general I tend to be really conservative in how I talk about them. You will rarely hear me say more than ‘it seems to work’ or ‘this was clinically studied’. But in the case of green tea – I get pretty excited.

I first started my enduring relationship with green tea during my first year in Afghanistan (2009-2010). While there I would drink about 3.5-4 liters (or about a gallon) of green tea a day. Why so much? Well at the time it didn’t seem like a lot because I was living with an Afghan Army unit, and just about everything we did either began or ended with drinking tea.

After a year of that I had lost 20 pounds, was running a sub-six minute mile, and had one of the worst haircuts of my life…no seriously….it was really awful, and faintly yellowed teeth. I initially ascribed most of this to my workout regime (the teeth thing I knew had to be so much tea), but that couldn’t really explain everything, so I figured I would do some research into green tea, since that was the main difference between my routine here, and my routine there.

What i found

I found that green tea was a sort of super drink, basically the perfect blend of stimulant, anti-‘bad stuff’, and something that tasted good (cause everyone knows green tea tastes way better than other healthy stuff like kale). It turned out that green tea helps protect the body from inflammation, cancer, mental decline, just to name a few. And in the years since 2010, even more studies have come out showing green tea’s ability to strengthen the heart, suppress appetites, and even improve joint mobility in people suffering from arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Dosing

The dosing for different conditions green tea can help with varies, but a handful of the ones that have been clinically verified are below courtesy of Drugs.com. I’m not going to lie – a handful of these more technical terms mean nothing to me, but the bottom line I am getting from it all is that you really don’t even need very much green tea to start seeing positive results.

Anogenital warts: Topical application of sinecatechins (polyphenon E 10% or 15%) was used for up to 16 weeks in a clinical study.

Cardiovascular risks: Green tea catechins or extract (160 to 2,488 mg/day) have been used in trials, often in divided dosages (treatment duration, 2 weeks to 3 months).

Cognitive impairment: Two 430 mg capsules (each capsule containing green tea extract 360 mg and L-theanine 60 mg) administered twice daily, 30 minutes after meals, for 16 weeks (total daily green tea extract dose, 1,440 mg; total daily L-theanine dose, 240 mg).

Depression: 2 to 4 or more cups/day of green tea has been used to lower the prevalence of depressive symptoms.

Diabetes: An EGCG dosage range of 84 to 386 mg/day may be adequate to support glucose homeostasis, based on available literature.

Obesity: ECGC 400 mg twice daily for 8 weeks was used in one clinical trial; green tea extract tablets (containing 125 mg of catechins) and a daily green tea catechin beverage (containing 625 mg of catechins) have also been used in studies of overweight and obese adults.

Where to go now

I don’t know about you – but when I found out all this, I decided that I needed to make green tea a part of every day, and now have the equivalent of about six cups of green tea a day between my supplements, and actual cups of tea. If you are looking for a supplement that is an easy way to get your green tea extract, along with a bunch of other clinically verified anti-inflammatory compounds, check out my Indiegogo page. If you are looking for something else awesome to read, check out my future of space blog, where you can learn about the everyday sort of things people are going to be dealing with over the next 100 years in space.

Either way – enjoy today, and make sure you bring your full self to life!

Sourcing – Still Not Making This Shit Up

Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease: a review. Tijburg LB, Mattern T, Folts JD, Weisgerber UM, Katan MBCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1997 Dec; 37(8):771-85.

Therapeutic potential of inhibition of the NF-kappaB pathway in the treatment of inflammation and cancer. Yamamoto Y, Gaynor RBJ Clin Invest. 2001 Jan; 107(2):135-42.

NF-kappa B and Rel proteins: evolutionarily conserved mediators of immune responses. Ghosh S, May MJ, Kopp EBAnnu Rev Immunol. 1998; 16():225-60.

The importance of using scientific principles in the development of medicinal agents from plants. Talalay P, Talalay PAcad Med. 2001 Mar; 76(3):238-47.

Its Time for Indian Takeout

If you are at all like me (which lets be honest you probably are because you are 1. reading | 2. a human | 3. breathing | 4. amazingly good looking | 5. really good at being awesome), then you enjoy Indian food. I know I know, I said I was going to be posting about ways to help fight inflammation, and I will – stick with me.

Turmeric

So back to Indian food – one of the key ingredients in about 93% of all Indian food (and American mustard) is Turmeric. It is a yellow spice that comes from the Curcuma longa, root (whatever that means), and has been used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes at least as long as people have bothered to keep track. Turmeric has also been used as a herbal remedy for almost as long.

I like to imagine the first use of turmeric for medicine went something like this:

THE ‘OFficial’ first use of turmeric for medicine

Damnit Akshat!!! How many times have I told you that running through the garden ruins food! You know I have been working hard to make sure there is enough of the Curcuma for your sister’s wedding later this year, and now you went and sprained your ankle. Here – just chew on one of these roots for a while and get out of my way. Of course it will help – mother always knows best (well it will at least help me get you out of my garden)

The next day

Akshat – I thought you said your ankle was sprained – how are you able to walk so well? And how is there not more swelling? And where did the root go that I gave you to chew on – I need that for dinner tonight.

From there this mother took what ‘cured’ her son of swelling and began selling it in the market as a cure for stupid and or injured man children. And the age of humans using turmeric to fight inflammation began

But How Does It Work

So turmeric has an active ingredient curcumin (no not the spice cumin that you are using right now in your taco recipe – although similarly tasty), and this ingredient has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical studies have found curcumin, when taken multiple times a day, in doses ranging from 400mg to 600mg per dose, offers protection against certain cancers, reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis (there is limited research suggesting it also helps rheumatoid arthritis, but more is needed), fights the inflammation causing IBS (inflammatory bowl syndrome) and help stabilize blood sugar. There is also anecdotal evidence that curcumin protects neurons from the protein buildup which causes Alzheimer’s (research into this is ongoing in mice, but initial results are positive).

Great – but does it do more harm than good?

So the short answer is no – Turmeric is extremely safe for the majority of people. If you have a family (or personal) history of liver disease then you should probable avoid turmeric just to be safe though. Also, there is insufficient research into the safety of turmeric with pregnant women, so might as well err on the side of avoiding it so long as you are toting around that spare human.

I have been taking turmeric for about six years now, and have noticed a little heartburn if I take more than the recommended dose, but that could be a vestige of years of taking pain medications weakening my stomach lining.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about another awesome extract that I am a huge fan of — Green Tea — until then – you all stay classy, and don’t forget to bring your full selves to life.

Sources – no i didn’t just make all this up 🙂

American Cancer Society – cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/turmeric

Consumerlab. consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21874

Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health, by Andrew Weil.

Natural Database – naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=NONMP&s=ND&pt=100&id=662&fs=ND&searchid=37594816

If you are looking for a supplement that uses turmeric in the scientifically verified dose, with enough in a single bottle to let you take it at the clinical dose for a full month, check out my supplement Freedom over at Indiegogo.

Next time I’ll talk about green tea – or as I like to call it – the only good tea

The Epidemic…

If you’ve ever twisted your knee, cut your finger, or been stung by an insect, you have firsthand experience with inflammation. The familiar sensations of pain, redness, swelling, and heat that result from an injury or infection are hallmarks of the inflammatory process. Inflammation represents an essential survival mechanism that helps the body fight off hostile microbes and repair damaged tissue. Yet there is another side of inflammation that can be harmful rather than helpful to human health. There’s evidence that inflammation, promoted in part by such factors as obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to a variety of diseases.

Types of Inflammation

There are two forms of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation comes on rapidly, usually within minutes, but is generally short-lived. Many of the mechanisms that spring into action to destroy invading microbes switch gears to cart away dead cells and repair damaged ones. This cycle returns the affected area to a state of balance, and inflammation dissipates within a few hours or days.

Chronic inflammation often begins with the same cellular response, but morphs into a lingering state that persists for months or years when the immune system response fails to eliminate the problem. Alternatively, the inflammation may stay active even after the initial threat has been eliminated. In other cases, low-level inflammation becomes activated even when there is no apparent injury or disease. Unchecked, the immune system prompts white blood cells to attack nearby healthy tissues and organs, setting up a chronic inflammatory process that plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.

Next Steps

This is truly an epidemic, and one that we know how to treat – but often choose to ignore.

I’ll be exploring ways the naturally treat inflammation in the coming posts, but suffice to say, it isn’t as hard as one might think. Like most solutions, it is actually fairly easy to take small steps that will yield, over time, life-changing effects.

If you want a scientifically verified way to help reduce inflammation, check out my Indiegogo campaign as I try to bring a new supplement to market.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fully-human-supplements

Crowdfunding Round Is Live!

Fully Human is about bringing your full self to life, and doing that in a sustainable way. Our first ultra-premium supplement, Freedom, is about giving you just that. Freedom. It will be the first anti-inflammation nutritional supplement that delivers clinically researched, all natural compounds, to you – in the doses that research has shown will aid your body in reducing inflammation. Freedom is not a take-once-a-day supplement that will cure all your problems, because those products don’t exist. Research has shown that taking a supplement once a day isn’t the path to it fully working. We decided that our product needs to be take at the frequency that clinicians find to be most effective. In the case of Freedom, that is three times a day. As a vet I know that freedom takes work and commitment, but in the end freedom is always worth it.

I am launching Freedom on Indiegogo because:

    1. Indiegogo allows nutritional supplements to be funded.

    2. I don’t have the roughly $35,000 needed to research, manufacture and distribute Freedom.

    3. I am unwilling to be beholden to a venture capital or other more traditional lending service who may pressure me to compromise quality for profit. 

Check out the campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fully-human-supplements/x/20552919#/

Or my video about Freedom:

 

Why The F*** Is My Hangover So Bad

I wasn’t always healthy…in fact if you compared my diet to my fiance’s you would say I was unhealthy. However I am much more conscious about what goes into my body, and how what goes in my body makes me feel. All that to say…back in his day Tim could really drink…and when I say really, I mean his record is 1.5 liters (that is 2 standard size bottles) of 12 year old scotch in 3 hours, followed by a walking tour (yes I remember the tour) of downtown DC, and more drinking. And no….before you ask, my hangover the next day wasn’t that bad. I was dehydrated, but otherwise my hangover was relatively minor.

What is my secret? How did I do this, and how can you replicate it? Well 1. ‘Don’t try this at home’, and 2. It is really easy to replicate. Just take care of your liver. It is really that easy. Nothing in your body likes multi-tasking (that is why it is hard for you to change direction really fast while running), so don’t make your liver do more than one thing at once.

Great – But What Even Does My Liver Do?

So we all know, or at least those of us who took health class once, that our livers process toxins, and clean out our systems (tangent – your detox diet is not going to be better for you than taking care of your liver). Well our livers also have an anti-inflammatory skill:

“In addition to serving as an arena for a number of immune-mediated pathologic processes, the normal liver has continual direct involvement in adaptive (specific) immunobiology. Major facets of this involvement consist of (1) deletion of activated T cells that originate from inflammatory reactions at any site in the body (emphasis added)…”

– Parker, G. A., & Picut, C. A. (2005). Liver Immunobiology. Toxicologic Pathology, 33(1), 52–62.

What does that mean? Well great question – among other things, it means your liver helps flush out cells your body activated to fight inflammation. If that seems like a crazy thing for your body to do, remember, too much of a good thing is nearly always bad. Studies since 2002 have explored the role of these activated T cells in people with rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases, and found that in those who had the worst symptoms, the T cell count was either too high, or too low. Too high of a count, and those T cells attacked healthy cells, creating more inflammation, while too low of a count and – you guessed it – inflammation could run rampant.

Researchers have found that a healthy liver is really good at regulating the amount of T cells in the body, and as such keeping the liver healthy is a critical part of ensuring the inevitable inflammation associated with aging doesn’t run rampant.   

The Even Shorter EXPLANATION

I know I know…this post was supposed to be about how to drink all night, and still be productive the next day. Here’s the short answer. Drink at least 10 times as much water as you drink in liquor, or liquor equivalent (1.5oz liquor = 1 beer = 1 glass wine), eat some kind of fatty food (avocado, eggs, pizza…etc) at least an hour before you start drinking, and don’t have ANY sugar from at least three hours prior to drinking until after you wake up the next day.

In my last post I talked about water and fat soluble compounds, and for the purposes of our anti-hangover miracle cure we need to talk about where things are processed in the body and what exactly is your hangover. In the case of alcohol, it processed in the liver, and a hangover is just a combination of your body still processing alcohol and being dehydrated.

Size May Not Matter – But Time Does

Wake Up.

Pour caffeine into my face.

Wait 20 minutes.

Begin day.

Does this sound like the start of your day? Cause it is basically how every day starts for me. When I was younger there were more steps in the beginning of my day, whether it was eating breakfast (now that doesn’t happen until about 4 hours after I wake up), working out (that is now every other day), or, taking my supplements (now I take my supplements at noon and about 5pm). I want to talk about why I started taking my supplements towards the middle and end of my day here.

Part of the reason I switched was because taking so many pills all at once on an empty stomach really upset me, and made it hard to focus for about an hour after taking them. But the more significant reason is that I learned the time of day matters when taking anything that your body digests, whether supplement, medication or really even food. Once you stop and think about it, which I never did, it makes a lot of sense. The body takes a few hours to process whatever you consume, and then that takes a further amount of time (varies by compound), to build up to its full effectiveness.

For instance, a Kansas State study found that acid reflux medicine nearly twice as many people saw a dramatic reduction in their symptoms when they took their daily medication around dinnertime. This is because acid tends to build up as you eat, and peak shortly before bed, so taking medicine in the morning has significantly less impact than taking it when acid is near its high point.

Freedom is an anti-inflammation supplement, and research has shown that individuals benefit most from anti-inflammation drugs and supplements when taken at specific times. Those times vary depending on the source of inflammation.

Individuals suffering from osteoarthritis (like me), or other forms of inflammation that are the result of ‘use’ (exercise/other activities) have their symptoms peak in the evening. A Texas Tech University study found that the optimum time for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory interventions (supplements, ibuprofen…etc) is between about noon and 4pm. This allows the compound time to digest and reach its highest blood levels around the time you would be experiencing peak inflammation.

Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammation from autoimmune diseases see their worst inflammation in the morning, and according to the same Texas Tech study, benefit most from taking their anti-inflammation drugs/supplements as close to bedtime as practical, in order to prevent overnight inflammation growth.

My Story

My name is Tim Chrisman, and I’m a disabled Army veteran who has suffered from severe osteoarthritis and depression for nearly 10 years. I have extremely limited mobility making it difficult to even play with my kids, and my depression, while managed now, was bad enough to prompt multiple suicide attempts. It horrifies me that other people are in the same sort of crippling pain that I live with, and some are, possibly at this moment, contemplating taking their own life.

That is the animating force behind this blog, and soon, a company making supplements. I know that there are better ways than people taking high doses of pain medicine that fogs their minds, and destroys their internal organs. There are better ways to manage depression than just taking an anti-depressant pill that may or may not work (and in upwards of 10% of cases can cause even more severe depression than what you had originally). That isn’t fully sustainable, and that isn’t how we bring our full selves to life.

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