Tag Archives: Nutrition

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.

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:

 

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.