Thursday 26 November 2015

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism.

Single nucleotide polymorphism(SNIP) is a variation on a single nucleotide which may occur at some specific point in the genome. In laymen’s terms, a glitch or hiccup in the genes. Though a more serious example of a SNIP is cystic fibrosis. One could say that the SNIP that contributes to sickle cell anemia is a protective evolutionary change that offers some protection against malaria.

Thankfully most of the SNIP’s are just ‘glitches’ and I’m sure as the science of genetics and especially Epigenetics evolves there will be more understanding of both the seriousness of SNIP’s and how they manifest in day to day life.

An example of a SNIP is, at a specific base position in the human genome, it may be that in most individuals the base C appears there; but in a minority of individuals, the base A appears at that position instead. There is a SNIP at this specific base position, and the two possible nucleotide variations - C or A - are said to be alleles for this base position. Although in this example and most SNIPs so far discovered there are only two different alleles.

The severity of our illness and the way the body overcomes that illness and how it handles the treatment of these illnesses is also genetically and epigenetically predisposed. In other words these SNIP’s contribute to the intensity of our symptoms, or not and how the body heals itself. An example, sickle cell anaemia of how a SNIP develops as a protective mechanism for the body that has been attacked by the Malaria protozoa.
It alters the shape of the red blood cell to become sickle like in shape that contributes to the slowly down of the spread of the malaria protozoa. The downside is all the attendant symptoms of Sickle cell anemia.

A less well known(but not in my practice) manifestation of a SNIP is within the individual’s capability of converting Vitamin B6(Pyridoxine) to its activated cofactor Pyridoxine-5-phosphate. This can express itself epigenetically as high levels of Homocysteine in the blood, chronic fatigue, low attention span, chronic muscular aches and pains, generalised malaise and hormonal and digestive disorders and cardiovascular issues. Thankfully we have a supplementation -P5P in capsule form, that the patient takes, at a higher dose initially then a lower dose latterly for the rest of their lives.

There are variations between human populations, so a SNIP allele that is common in one geographical or ethnic group may be much rarer in another. This is important to take note of when you are working with patients from overseas or from a different ethnic background.

This is a complex and very new science but what is emerging is that we can alter the epigenetic expression of our genome by health living, good diet, lower stress levels, specific nutrition, meditation, relaxation etc...all the natural, holistic approaches that are available to us now.

Activated Vitamin B6 in pregnancy and labour

Vitamin B6(Pyridoxine) is a water soluble vitamin substantially found in fruit, vegetables, grains, chickpeas and meat. It is readily absorbed in the upper small intestine where it is used as a co factor in over a 100 known enzyme reactions in the body.

In the liver, VitaminB6(pyridoxine) is activated by a process of phosphorylation to become activated Vitamin B6.(P5P). This activated coenzyme form goes on to catalyze  a myriad of biochemical reactions.

Pyridoxine 5 phosphate(P5P) is the predominant form of vitB6 in the plasma.

P5P is needed for the proper absorption of  vitamin B12, Magnesium and gastric HCl.

P5P  is an important coenzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and the elongation of essential fatty acids. It is a vital ingredient to stop the build up of homocysteine (thus protecting the cardio-vascular system) and is also required for the production of antibodies and red blood cells (in pregnancy you will be making new blood cells).

It participates in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detox pathways. Therefore in morning sickness during pregnancy it is the go to co-factor in helping to ease the extra load on the maternal liver.

In labour, activated VitaminB6 helps release stored glycogen(stored glucose) in the form of glucose within the uterine muscle, making this glucose available to be used in the Krebs cycle for energy consumption. This takes place in the mitochondria of uterine muscle tissue.

Also in labour, skeletal muscle is being used to keep you physically active and help with the labour so P5P is very important in participating in the release of stored glucose to be used as energy in skeletal muscle.

P5P also participates in the formation of noradrenalin.

Noradrenaline is a very important hormone of labour as it stimulates the release of glucose from the liver and increases the maternal heart rate to pump blood around the body (with all that extra glucose/O2/fats/nutrients).

Noradrenaline is essentially getting Mother's brain and body ready for action - the action of labour, so you want this to be at its optimal level.

Noradrenaline mobilizes the break down of brown fat for energy.

In the kidneys, noradrenaline release glucagon which in turn release more glucose from the liver.

In adipose tissue(fat tissue) it breaks down fats to be used as energy within the uterus and skeletal muscle.

In the gut it slows down digestion, blood flow and release of digestive enzymes (you don’t want to be digesting food when going through labour).

You can see from the above simplified list how important this co factor-P5P is, and any reduction in levels could have a significant affect on your well being.

In clinical practice a number of questions arise. If Vitamin B6 is so abundant in so many food groups why do patients need the activated form P5P?

Simply put, they are not converting an abundance of B6 in the diet/body to P5P.
So why is this not happening in some people, especially those that belong to the RED body type (mesomorph)?

The reason we feel is a genetic glitch we call a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNIP for short). In other words, somewhere in their genetic code these individuals have a hiccup that doesn’t allow them to make enough enzymes to convert VitB6 to it's activated form - P5P. This explains why I see so many people that require a supplement of P5P to maintain optimal well being (mainly but not exclusively Red body type/mesomorph).

So lets keep this simple, the Red body types have a genetic glitch (SNIP) that prevents them from fully converting all of the abundant VitB6 in the diet/plasma to P5P, which the body then goes on to use in a myriad of biological reactions.

Therefore, a shortage of P5P may lead to excessive morning sickness as the maternal liver struggles with the extra endogenous toxins.

A shortage of P5P may also lead to a prolonged and uncomfortable labour due to the reduction of available glucose and fats for energy needed by the uterus.

There is not enough P5P to go around to give you a full compliment of noradrenaline, thus your fat stores/glucose stores and O2 levels are not being fully utilized.

All in all this one supplement, P5P in capsule, covers many bases and is very beneficial during all stages of pregnancy and labour.

The other nutrients for labour are Zinc, magnesium and H4 biopterin.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Barefoot walking and running.

When you were born you chilled out a lot, sleeping, feeding, sleeping, feeding get the picture?

Then you decided to try and sit...well we know what comes next..the short story is, as soon as you began walking mum and dad put shoes on your feet,and since then you’ve been wearing ill fitting shoes.( As parents let your kids walk bare foot as much as possible and whenever possible).

Here's the thing, the latest ‘craze’ is barefoot running but you’ve encased your feet in shoes,boots,slippers etc  for eons in time so what do you think has happened to your feet?

Yep,they’ve adapted poorly to your ill fitting shoes you’ve been wearing since you where a kid.

Your arches are either too high or too low.

Your ankle joints are either pronated or supinated.

Your toes are too close together.

You’ve developed a buffering layer of fat on the heel bone--because of excessive heel strike.

You haven’t developed enough of a buffering layer of fat over the anterior arch because we don’t walk/run enough on the front foot.

The muscles of the foot have been used in an un-natural way because of the excessive heel strike action.

These same muscles have ‘forgotten’ to ‘save’ kinetic energy and then ‘release’ this kinetic energy on ‘toe off’ or pushing stage of the gait pattern.

Your posture ‘slouches’.

Your pelvis and upper cervical vertebrae will be out of alignment.Putting too much strain on these joints and their ligaments.

The chinese meridian points and gait reflexes that are on the foot are all out of synch because of all of the above.

The layer of shoe leather/rubber/plastic etc acts like a  ‘disconnector’ to the Earth( as does walking on pavements).

So what happens next?

Excuse the pun but we need to make changes,gradually,one step at a time.

Walk barefoot in the house as much as possible.

Walk on grass for 30 minutes at a time to start with. You’re local park is a great venue.

Walk on the beach for 30 minutes to start with and gradually build it up till you can walk comfortable for 60 minutes.

These three simple exercises will slowly and gradually build up the muscles of the foot and lower leg and return you stride pattern to something like also feels great and enlivening.

The skin on the soles of your feet will thicken as will the natural buffering layer of fat.

The gait reflexes and chinese meridian points will start to normalize and return to their natural state.

Your posture will show healthy signs of improvement.

Whether you want to start bare foot running or not, being on bare feet as much as possible is very healthy for you and very ‘grounding’ mentally/emotionally.Your posture will improve as will your levels of vitality and energy.

For those who want to continue to bare foot running there are a few steps to observe.

1) You will find yourself naturally running on the balls of your feet and it will be almost impossible to run on you heels like you’ve been doing for eons when you wore shoes.
Your running or gait action will noticeably change and may feel unusual to start with but strangely it will also feel ‘normal’. Even paleolithic or primordial. Trust this...its a great feeling and will get better as you return to your ‘roots’ of running naturally.

2) Run gently for 50m then walk for 100m. do this 10 times to start with.No more, but do less if you feel uncomfortable especially if you starting out on sand.

3) Be careful at this stage because you can ‘strain’ muscles that have never been used in this way before even though it is how they are supposed to be used. Wearing ill fitting shoes and poorly design training shoes have ‘retrained’ you walking/running patterns in a very negative way so to undo these harmful patterns change won't happen over night.

4) SLOW is the new FAST. Take you time to build up and feel free to rest between sessions and walk between ‘runs'.

This child is how we all need to be brought up.

That’s all for now. e- mail me for a consult or any further info.

We are all athletes and fat burning as our energy source

Having just finished busy clinic in Edinburgh I'm going to add a few notes about my last blog on Fat burning as our fuel of choice over refined carbohydrates and in general complex carbohydrates.

If you are an active person just choosing to be fit and healthy or wanting to get out of the armchair to improve your health and well being then here are some vital tips.

1) Paramount of importance is to remove all junk food, white refined carbohydrates(cakes/buns/biscuits/chocolate/fizzy drinks), sugar, coffee/tea and additives and preservatives from your diet. Now!!

2) Hay/Food combining diet (see previous blog)with only whole grain brown rice as a carbohydrate. No bread of any kind and no potatoes and chips. No bananas. No pasta of any kind. For the first 6 weeks. After this you may want to introduce some potatoes occasionally but I would keep of All breads. But always stick to the healthy food combinations.

3) No snacks of any kind.

4) Buy a juicer and use it once a day. I recommend you juice two celery sticks, one apple, one carrot,one small beetroot and one orange. This is the minimum but be creative add some nuts and other veg/fruit. Ginger for the boys but not the girls.

5) All food stuffs must be pesticide free-organic

6) All nuts must be purchased in their shells.

7) All seeds stored in dark container and used whole or blend in a coffee grinder just before use.

8)Take a food supplement of turmeric and black cummin seeds once per day..

9) Throw out the weighing scales. A more accurate measurement is to measure your waist line and upper arms to see how much fat you have burnt off from these areas.

10) Purchase a heart monitor for MAF aerobic fat burning exercise(see previous blog on the athlete and fat burning).

11) If you are starting out from the armchair -Walk..for 6 weeks every day on your MAF pulse. 30 minutes for the first week. 35 minutes for the next   week till you reach 60 minutes a day. Walking will be a healthy, gradual start to building and maintaining your aerobic base. Keep a space for walking at least twice a week even if it's to and from work. You can always get a dog!!   Now you can think about running/cycling/gym classes but always with the MAF formula. As your exercises become more intense you will need to have a rest day or a walk day or a mix of both. You know what's best for you when you start to listen to your body.

12) For you folks who already do some kind of sports/ exercise start with MAF formula and incorporate it into your schedule. Also walking is excellent to help with over training and fatigue to rebuild your aerobic base and balance out the excessive unaerobic build up in you body. Start out easy with this new MAF formula as it is different to what you are used to but the rewards are great in a short period of time.

These are just guidelines and a starter to do your own research but please feel free to contact me for any further info.

I offer a service on a one to one basis to taylor make you personnel nutritional and exercise and life style needs to your own  unique situation.

Here is a link to a recently published article on fat burning.

Sunday 1 November 2015

The Healthy Athlete and Fat burning.

This approach is for all athletes from all levels of competition and all sports especially when a high degree of endurance is called for.

As a species I feel we are endurance orientated and most of us have an in built aerobic system built on using oxygen and fats are our primary energy source.
Sprinters are mostly unaerobic and use low oxygen and glucose as a short burst of power. That does not mean to say that they would not benefit from a  sound aerobic base - they would and they would post better race times and be able to run more races in a season due to having a shorter and healthier recovery time and have an over all sense of good health and well being.

Fat burning as a fuel for us humans is much more efficient than burning carbs.
For every gram of fat we get 9 calories, for every gram of carbohydrate we get 4 calories.
From one molecule of the common saturated fat, palmitic acid we get 130 ATP molecules.
From one molecule of glucose we only get 36 molecules of ATP.
It takes  more O2 to oxidase the fats to release ATP so therefore there is great benefit in building up a solid aerobic base into our fitness levels(this applies to all sports).
Fats also take a longer metabolic pathway and thus a longer time, to release their ATP than carbs. So it's wiser to have a slower longer warm up period (15 to 20 mins) to prepare your body to fat burn.

When you take in carbs your insulin levels spike and stop you from burning fat as a fuel,instead it makes fat and deposits it as adipose tissue in the usual areas.( waistline and thighs).

So it makes sense in the athlete to use fat as the main source of fuel to burn during training and race conditions.

The old approach of 'carbing up' will help replenish glycogen stores(stored glucose) but will diminish the athletes ability to fat burn as his body is getting a clear message from the spiked insulin to store fat not burn it.

Yet we need glucose for fat burning to be more efficient and the only fuel supply for the brain is glucose.

So what's the remedy to this conundrum?

As I've said before in my updated blog we need to reduce significantly our carbohydrate intake and completely avoid all refined and processed carbs ( all junk food) and increase our healthy fat, vegetable  and protein intake.(all pesticide free and organic)
This approach allows the body to use fat as an energy source from its stores and dietary intake.As insulin doesn't spike as no starches are present,the the body will be more efficient at utilising dietary and stored fat. Muscle function will improve laying down more lean muscle bulk as fats and proteins work well together both in the digestive system and muscle cells.

So the individual athlete must over come her past indoctrination about carbs as been the best energy source and that 'carbing up' is the solution to her energy needs.

He must also face up to his addiction to sugar and sweet foodstuffs and start to wean himself of sugar rich foods.
(We must, I repeat must come of all junk/processed foods as paramount to well being)

It means a willingness to try something new and a  'trust process' to allow for this change in approach to take effect and a open mind to observe the results.

It also means 'label reading' all and every packet and canned foodstuffs to make sure they are additives,preservatives and sugars free.(glucose,maltodextrose,corn syrup,sucrose to name a few of the disguises sugar comes under)

It also means cooking and preparing food and finding the time to do so.
I always recommend cooking as it can be therapeutic and a rest from the rigours and stress of training and competition.(and the work place).

So what about the good fats?

Only cook with goose or duck fat or lard.They stay stable during the cooking process and do not go rancid or transform(trans fats). Trans fats are the bad boys- big time!!

Do not cook with vegetable oils as they very quickly change to trans fats or go rancid and therefore very toxic for us. It is my opinion that rancid and trans fats and processed carbohydrates are at the root of many of the endemic diseases of the 21st century.

Eliminate these from our diet and we will go along way to be a far healthier species.

It goes without saying that the athlete who wants to perform at his highest level and recover as speedily as possible must eliminate all trans/rancid fats and processed carbohydrates from her diet.

Raw vegetable fats are very healthy for us.
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Sesame oil
Flax oil
Pumpkin oil
Hemp oil
Pumpkin oil

Nuts and seeds raw(just out of their shells) and put through a blender are an excellent source of healthy oils and protein.

Organic eggs are a super food but cook them soft boiled and poached.(cooking in air oxides the healthy fats) They contain lipases(fat reducing enzymes) alongside good fats and proteins. They also contain Vit K2 that helps make osteocalcin that takes calcium from blood and atherosclerotic plaques and drops it into our bones, teeth and nails.

There is a method to eating that maximises the goodness we get from our foods and that is the Hay diet or food combining diet. Simply put,you separate proteins from starches at any given meal, with most vegetables going with well with either proteins or starches.This is a ' must' on so many fronts for good health.The benefits are potent and long lasting and quite easy to implement.

In other words proteins and fats are digested in one system and starches in another system. A bit like putting petrol into your petrol engine and diesel into your diesel engine. You wouldn't put petrol into you diesel engine? So we must learn not to put proteins into our starch digestive system and vice versa.(see food combining blog).

Healthy Starches.

Whole grain organic brown rice
Sweet potatoes

Unhealthy Starches.(all cause an insulin spike)

Refined sugars of all kinds
fizzy drinks of all kinds
Sports drinks of all kinds

Training on your maximum heart rate(beats per minute-bpm) to burn fat.

For all athletes from all levels and background a change from using glucose as the primary energy source to utilising dietary and body fat as an energy source comes with a change in how you train.

How you train will change your metabolism from excessive glucose intake which causes the insulin 'spike' to fat burning as its primary source of energy production i.e. beta oxidation of fats in the mitochondria so they enter the Krebs cycle as Acetyl CoA

This requires the use of a pulse monitor, to measure keeping you, too your designated maximum aerobic pulse rate over a set distance and observing the change in time.

Initially this means you will train slower to get faster- slow is the new fast. There will be noticeable results in around 2 weeks and by the 4th week you will be in the grove of - slow is the new fast. You will have a feeling of well being and generally have more energy as you body adapts to the dietary change and the new approach of training on the pulse(beats per minute).

 You  will notice that you speed up and you will have to put more effort into maintaining your maximum aerobic pulse rate.
In other words, at the same pulse rate you will take a shorter time to cover the same training distance.

Finding your maximin aerobic rate- beats per minute.

This is the 180 formula developed by a colleague of mine Dr Phil Maffetone-the MAF formula.

The MAF formula.

Take 180 minus your age is your maximum aerobic rate. When training you don't go above this level and you seek to maintain this level for the duration of you training,meaning you don't go under this level.

So a 35 y.o. runner's  maximium heart rate according to the MAF formula would be

180 minus 35 =145 beats per minute. So he would warm up for 15 to 20 minutes till his heart rate was 145 bpm and maintain that for 30 mins with a cool down for 10 minutes.

One of the key features in the MAF formula is that you slowly warm up, this is very important as it reduces the anaerobic, hormonal, heart, circulation stress and gently brings in fat burning as a fuel while not exhausting glycogen stores, thus keeping them for that last anaerobic energy burst to the winning line-the 'kick'.

A 15 to 20 minute warm up at a slow gentle pace to reach your max aerobic pulse rate maintaining this for 30 minutes then a warm down for 10 minutes. As you improve and your body adapts to the new changes you will want to stay at you're  max aerobic level for much longer.

The warm down is also important so as not to stress the body any further.

I would also say that if you are a regular athlete/sports person at whatever level then you could  use the formula as-
180 minus your age plus 5.

For example if you regularly exercised for a number of years and are not overstressed from your training schedule then you could add on an extra 5 beats per min. to your MAF formula.  e.g. a 35 y.o. female triathlete MAF pulse per min would be
              180 minus 35 =145 +5 =150
so her 15 to 20 minute warm up would take her up to 150 beats per minute.She would stay at this level for a minimum of 45minutes then take 10 minutes to warm down.
Depending on the athletes ability and sport this max heart rate level could be maintained for longer e.g. 60/90/120 minutes.

I would also add that if you have not done any exercise for a number of years and your ‘getting on ‘ a bit then you would subtract 5.

For example if John at 55 had not played any sport since college I would put his MAF formula as  180 minus 55 =125 minus 5 = 120.
So John would start with a 20 minute warm up till he reached 120 bpm then keep that rate for 30 minutes with a 10 minute warm down. He could be jogging/cycling/swimming.

I offer a service which would taylor make your MAF to best suit your individual level of fitness and goals.This would also include a full AK evaluation of your nutritional/dietary needs and treatment of any injuries to enhance your performance and sense of well being.


You may have seen that most of the top level dance companies/football clubs/rugby clubs have ice baths to help reduce inflammation in the musculoskeletal system.
They are invaluable tool to aid recovery but what they don’t realise is that they aid fat burning.
We all have a small amount of ' brown fat' situated at the under arms(axilla) and at the  back of the neck. The purpose of brown fat is help metabolise our fat stores to burn as calories. This is stimulated by cold/plunge baths or just shower these areas with cold water after your workout.

Here is a recently published article on fat burning