Posted on Leave a comment

Glucomannan – A smart choice for blood sugar, appetite and weight management

Glucomannan flour has been used in China as a food source as well as a traditional medicine for many centuries (Liu, 2004), dating back as early as the time of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC–08 AD).

A wide range of clinical studies (endorsed by the European Food Safety Authority) have demonstrated that supplementing the diet with konjac fibre significantly improves glycaemic control, lowers plasma cholesterol, and enhances bowel movement. There may also be beneficial appetite suppression associated.

Obesity is a global pandemic that is driving a surge in type 2 diabetes as well as a whole host of other obesity-related morbidities. Several groups of researchers have evaluated the safety and efficacy of konjac fibre use in weight loss in overweight and obese.

Konjac fibre has been proven to improve satiety by delaying gastric emptying caused by the mass effect of its gel-like & viscous nature. A study in 2015 reported that konjac fibre improved satiety by increasing the bulk effect of food & the time taken by the slow digestion of a konjac-containing meal, given konjac is not digestible itself; this in turn slows down the rate of any post-prandial glucose uptake, which would reduce the total glycaemic index of the meal, and subsequent insulin spike.

Another recent study evaluated the effects of konjac fibre on body weight and BMI in otherwise healthy obese children and adults. The authors concluded that the short-term use of konjac fibre would help to reduce body weight.

A study by Huang et al. investigated the effect of konjac fibre on blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Results show that both, fasting blood glucose and 2h post-prandial glucose level, were significantly reduced 7. Similar results were achieved by a study comparing the viscosity of a range of soluble fibres .

In summary, konjac fibre is an emerging alternative nutritional therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, with clinical efficacy similar to lifestyle changes. The hypoglycaemic effects of the fibre have been attributed to the inhibition of carbohydrate absorption from the gut resulting in a decrease in the post-prandial insulin response. Not only does konjac fibre improve glycaemic control & insulin resistance, but it also reduces associated risk factors such as dyslipidaemia and hypertension

Posted on Leave a comment

Addressing Nutritional Gaps with Nutrient Supplementation

At PicPax our health professionals fully believe that a balanced and varied diet is the best source of essential nutrients, however, deficiencies occur throughout populations even where food supply is plentiful. The typical diets across the many and varied populations living in the UAE, bear little resemblance to what experts recommend for fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, good fats and portion size.

It is not uncommon for people to take multivitamins to fill nutritional gaps and with the idea that they may maintain and improve health. Multivitamins are usually well tolerated and it is unlikely that any major nutrient imbalance is likely.

Evidence, however, suggests that times of greater need occurs throughout the life cycle when the body requires more nutrients than the typical diet may provide, such as iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, folate and vitamin B12. Over the course of a lifetime, deficiencies in one or more nutrients may contribute to serious health issues.

Micronutrients are required for nearly all metabolic and developmental processes in the body and mostly met from the foods we consume. Some nutrients are not made in the body such as vitamins D, C and B12 as well as omega 3 fats and 9 amino acids. Anyone who eliminates certain foods such as dairy, fish, fruit and vegetables is at greater risk of having a nutrient deficiency. Eating patterns mainly based on high energy, low nutrient dense foods are often related disease which at certain stages in life, can have a big impact on short and long term health.

The food pyramid is still the best model for guiding people to make good food choices. It includes all five food groups:

  • Cereals and starchy vegetables/beans and pulses
  • Multi-coloured vegetables and fruits five plus a day
  • Animal and plant proteins
  • Dairy
  • Good fats

The confusion or lack of mindfulness of how much of these groups are being consumed are where energy levels can be out of balance. The elimination of any group can also open the door for nutrient deficiencies. A chat with a qualified nutritionist or dietitian is often well worth the time.

Even when a diet is well planned, it is not always possible for people to choose foods containing the recommended amounts of all essential micronutrients, and relatively minor nutrient shortfalls can lead to health problems. The role of multivitamins and targeted supplementation also needs to consider absorption and bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, as well as the effect of the balance of macronutrients – carbohydrate, protein and fat, on metabolism. Supplements cannot replace eating adequate amounts of a variety of foods, however, they may be particularly beneficial to people who have poor nutrition for a variety of reasons, including inadequate intake of foods from the food groups, advanced age or have specific health issues. When choosing supplements, consumers are advised to take a preparation that is tailored to their age, gender, risk factors and stage of life and wherever possible, supplementation should be selected on a nutritional assessment.

Posted on Leave a comment

Healthy Aging

Nicotinamide has long been associated with neuronal development and the survival and function of the central nervous system. The areas of greatest improvement have shown to be in joint flexibility, muscle coordination and heart mental health.

NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide plus hydrogen) is a stable and bioavailable coenzyme that helps promote cellular energy production, and provides nutritional neurotransmitter support.

Suggested Nutritional Support Uses:

  • Correct mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Improve energy levels
  • Improve brain function

Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts like an antioxidant. The top food sources include red wine, grapes, cranberries, blueberries, chocolate, pistachios and peanuts. Research has shown that high doses may help reduce blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure typically goes up with age, as arteries stiffen. Resveratrol may improve blood-pressure by helping to produce more nitric oxide, causing blood vessels to relax and be more flexible.

Resveratrol studies have shown improved cholesterol levels by reducing the effect of an enzyme that controls cholesterol production.  Oxidation is a normal body process and very damaging to the buildup of fatty plaques on arterial walls making them much more volatile.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect may protect brain cells from damage. It has also shown to increase insulin sensitivity and prevent further complications associated with diabetes by helping to metabolise glucose and keeping blood sugar levels low.


P5P is an essential nutrient of energy metabolism within the cell and helps improve overall energy. Daily chronic fatigue and lethargy are common health complaints and P-5-P being a water-soluble vitamin may be insufficient. Diet and nutrition play a direct role in maintaining energy and an increase in neuronal health. This is partly due to P5P’s ability to improve signaling between brain cells which could explain the improvement in mental motivation. This may result in more focus, better mood, and improved motivation to carry out your daily tasks. It has been an area of research in aging and a vitamin along with vitamin B3 (NADH) which are essential for neurons and their survival. The overall neuroprotection capabilities likely play a role in overall brain health.

A lack of P5P (and vitamin B6 in general) is often found alongside high homocysteine levels which raises cardiovascular risk and can adversely affect brain health in patients.

If you are looking to just be more focused or get some more motivation, P5P may prove effective in reaching that goal.

Posted on Leave a comment

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a critical turning point in health and is always treated very seriously. There are a number of lifestyle changes including diet and supplementation.

  • Losing weight
  • Increasing regular exercise
  • Eating more potassium rich foods such as potatoes, bananas, watermelon and green leafy vegetables
  • Increasing magnesium and calcium
  • Reducing salt
  • Eating foods to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) or to supplement to increase NO

Nitric oxide is a molecule whose primary purpose is to make sure blood vessels stay wide open. It increases fluidity of arteries which improves circulation, delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells and helps with healing. Individuals with poor circulation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction are often deficient in the critical molecule nitric oxide.

Blood flow is often impaired in older individuals due to a number of lifestyle issues as well as genetics. Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that makes Nitric Oxide and requires precursors L-ornithine, and L-citrulline improves absorption. According to the research, increasing Nitric Oxide with L-arginine, can reverse deficiencies and dramatically improve your arterial elasticity, blood delivery to extremities, cardiovascular and overall health.

Posted on Leave a comment

Vitamin D Deficiency

Historically, humans were designed to synthesize vitamin D naturally obtained through the action of the sun. However, modern lifestyles, cultural habits and large numbers of populations living in the Northern Hemisphere, has proven inadequate. Although vitamin D is present to various amounts in food products (oily fish, egg yolk, fortified cereals and spreads, Shitake mushrooms, etc.), these food products are not usually preferred by children making it difficult to rely on sun and nutrition alone in order to obtain the recommended daily amounts.

Furthermore, the natural vitamin D production through exposure of the skin to sunlight is prevented in several high risk populations. People with darker pigmented skin need considerably more exposure to the sun to generate the same vitamin D amounts due to the presence of melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen and deficiency/insufficiency was identified in populations who cover discretely for religious or cultural reasons.

Vitamin D is known to play a significant role in bone metabolism, muscle strength, musculoskeletal health, and is also related to a number of non-skeletal diseases. Its deficiency has been related to many health conditions including respiratory and other infections, asthma, atopic dermatitis and allergic disease, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel, obesity and metabolic syndrome, autism and depression, and celiac disease, all having strong links with vitamin D insufficiency early in life.

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in adolescents in the UAE is very high, particularly in females, compared to their counterparts in other developed countries where vitamin D fortified foods are available, and people use vitamin D supplements. Although the UAE and other Gulf countries have a sunny environment, skin sun exposure is low, and therefore vitamin D deficiency remains one of the major public health problems.

We strongly support the recommendations published recently that encourage supplementation of vitamin D to special populations (pregnant and lactating women, infants, and high risk groups). We acknowledge the importance of international food fortification programs implemented to ensure nutritional sufficiency of vitamin D and calcium for the entire population.

Recommendations for boosting vitamin D levels:

Aim for fifteen minutes per day of midday sun

Try to take oily fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals, food products with Shiitake mushrooms and dairy products everyday

Supplement regularly with at least 400IU vitamin D3 for children and 1000IU – 2000IU for adults

Posted on Leave a comment

The Role of Diet as an Acne Treatment

Nutrition and diet need no mention when it comes to claiming its overall health benefits, but can diet affect acne? Science suggests that keeping blood sugar levels down, eating more When you consult a dermatologist the likelihood is that you will be prescribed a topical retinoid cream or possibly oral vitamin A as isotretinoid which suppress sebum, the oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Since vitamin A is found in many foods, it can be said that diet does influence acne.

Sebum is controlled by hormones, particularly testosterone which is why it is more active as hormones rattle around during teenage years. Many studies have shown that refined dietary carbohydrate and some fats can also affect sebum levels as sugar influenced growth factor 1 which impacts short term spikes in hormone levels. Fats, especially processed oils used in convenience and fast foods are well known to cause inflammation in other soft tissue diseases such as osteoarthritis and add to the overall burden that might exist in teenage skin disorders.

Vitamins A and D are the first group of nutrients reported to show they affect skin health to influence hydration, clumping of skin cells and metabolism. Researchers safely assume that the absence of these important nutrients from the diet can influence skin biology allowing for cells to proliferate and become inflamed more easily. Vitamin D is at low levels in many populations while vitamin A supplementation needs to be approached with caution making Cod-liver oil supplements a safer option.

Studies also show the role of essential fatty acids and especially linoleic acid (nuts, seeds, meat and eggs) and omega-3 fats (walnuts, oily fish, flaxseed oil, omega 3 algae EFA), as vital building blocks for ceramides, one of the skins main moisturising elements and key to hydration.

Another class of nutrients influenced by the diet are minerals such as zinc known to influence anti-inflammatory  enzymes and boost immunity, selenium a powerful antioxidant and magnesium where low levels can cause cortisol to rise as well as add to low-grade inflammation.

Factors associated with attributing whole food groups such as dairy, add a confusing aspect to their role in causing acne.  Because milk is the first food for all mammals to support exponential growth, it is classified as a growth hormone and could well influence reproductive hormones at critical times. Adebamowo et al (2008) claimed dairy was blamed for causing acne flareups in their self-reporting (study n= 4,253 teenage boys). Whether it is the popular debate that milk from pregnant and lactating cows has higher levels of hormones which affect teenagers to cause acne, is not conclusive. What is more likely is the high glycaemic index and insulin response after ingesting milk rather than the growth factors is the cause of elevated blood glucose spikes which affect testosterone. Overall for protein and calcium, low fat dairy is a good food, albeit worth some level of control.

It is important to highlighting the association between a high-glycaemic diet causing raised blood sugar levels and acne. The flow on is raised circulating glucose stimulates sebum oil production, reduces the receptors for binding up testosterone which frees it into the system causing a surge of testosterone to affect the skins biology. Certain fats also cause increase inflammation which may be the association between skin flare ups after eating fried foods and chocolate.

Why acne is widespread in western cultures but not in indigenous societies? Diet may not be the sole reason but there are scientifically plausible reasons to believe nutrition can influence the presence and severity of acne.

Research suggests dietary control and supplements may help:

Avoid refined white cereals and sugar which free testosterone by raising insulin

Avoid drinking too much milk and especially sweetened milks

Eat more vegetables for antioxidants

Eat good fats such as nut and seeds, eggs yolk, oily fish

Eat foods high in zinc such as seafood, meat, nuts, pulses

Supplements such as vit E and D, EFA, zinc, selenium, magnesium

Keeping good hygiene

Posted on Leave a comment

Women’s health & Menopause

Nutrition supplies the building blocks for your health, happiness, learning, hormones, growth, repair and energy. Across all ages and stages our body has different requirements for nutrients as we develop and mature.

Lifestyle, diet, activity, environment, spiritual and social aspects make a huge difference to our health.

The body is extremely flexible and geared to survive by rebalancing and correcting itself. At times, our lifestyle, diet and ability to rebalance gets out of whack and we start to show signs and symptoms which sometimes go undetected until they become a health concern. The medical approach too often turns to medications as the first line of treatment where Dietitians and Nutritionists look to identifying the underlying cause’s and apply diet and lifestyle recommendations.

Getting a past history of your health, your family history, medications and supplements, symptoms, your likes and dislikes and activity level is part of finding the best way forward for your uniqueness. Simply, one way does not fit all!

Categories that can affect your underlying health issues require investigation:

  • Family history of disease
  • History and journey of reproductive hormones
  • Digestion
  • Metabolic issues such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular health, blood pressure
  • Food sensitivities and allergies
  • Mood and cognitive function
  • Energy levels
  • Sleep
  • Immunity and autoimmune conditions
  • Other serious health issues
  • Activity and reoccurring injuries
  • Women’s Health and Menopause

As women approach hormonal milestones, our health starts to change. We may need to pay more attention to finding a new balance. Often, we become more aware of foods, situations and activities that suit us better. Hormone levels do not increase or decrease overnight but usually start to cause symptoms and signals implying a decrease in hormones leading to menopause.

Hormonal changes are often influenced by our genetics but also by diet, weight, activity level and fitness, and stress. The three phases are perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Ultimately, the body reduces the amount of estrogen produced and to finally stop releasing eggs.

Hair thinning

Dry and thinning skin

Mood swings, anxiety and stress

More frequent urge to urinate

Weight gain

Insomnia and trouble concentrating

Vasomotor symptoms:

Vaginal dryness and loss of libido

Night sweats and hot flashes

Sleep issues

Dizziness and vertigo

Heart palpitations





Symptoms are individual and some women sail through this time while others really struggle. It is not a time of illness but a time of transition! Hot flashes are not dangerous but they can be uncomfortable and untimely. Hormone therapy can be the answer for some women, but not suitable for everyone. Whatever choice you make, a few tweeks to lifestyle, diet, activity level, relaxation and supplementation all play a role.

The role of key foods and supplements, but nothing replaces a balanced calorie controlled diet:

Supplement: Foods: Function:


Vitamin D Sunlight, egg yolks, fortified milk and juice, oily fish Prohormone

  • Healthy bones and teeth
  • Supporting the immune system, brain and nervous system
  • Supports cardio-pulmonary health
  • Regulates insulin and blodd glucose management
B complex B2 – milk, yoghurt, liver, oats, almonds, fortified cereals

B6 – Tuna, liver, chickpeas, potatoes, banana, fortified cereals

B9 – Liver, pulses, spinach, fortified cereals, asparagus

B12 – yeast, liver, seafood, animal products, eggs

The B complex vitamins are involved in many biochemical pathways to support vitality, heart health, immunity, repair, bone health and brain function.

Because they are water soluble, they are not stored and need to be consumed everyday from the diet

Vitamin E Nuts and seeds, broccoli, spinach, Potent antioxidant to reduce oxidative damage often caused by the reaction of carbohydrate metabolism and environmental toxins.

Antioxidants protect against the changes as we age

Vitamin C Citrus fruit, kiwi, berries, tomatoes Antioxidant essential to health and not able to be made in the body. Protects against oxidative damage of aging, support cardiovascular health as well as cognitive ability and repair to skin and tissue.
Vitamin A Carrots, codliver oil, liver, pulses, broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomato, apricots, mango An antioxidant supporting healthy vision, fertility, skin health and immune function.
Alternative therapies (1)    
Black cohosh Botanical herb Described as a selective estrogen receptor modulator reported to reduce hot flashes and control vasomotor symptoms with mild side effects and good tolerability and safety
Evening Primrose oil


Rich source of gamma linoleic acid, an oil obtained from EP seeds It may decrease the severity of hot flashes and reduce breast pain alongside its effect on vasomotor

Weight Management

Weight management can become an issue as you age. Some women become more sedentary while others take on a rushing women’s syndrome and forget to take time for themselves. Our weight loss plan can consider your choice of dietary preference alongside a calculated calorie and macro breakdown. It will highlight nutrient dense foods to support any health issues and can include specialist tests for metabolism and possible food intolerances if required.

Digestive issues are very common and tend to share the same symptoms but have completely different drivers. Irritable bowel can be from a lack of digestive support and therefore present as a food intolerance, rogue bacteria, low immunity, yeast overgrowth and parasites. If you cannot get on top of your bowel issues, talk with one of our clinicians and follow one of our targeted programs.

Digging into the cause is better than a lifetime of medication to make everything run smoothly.

Posted on Leave a comment

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a connective tissue disease which develops an autoimmune inflammatory response affecting predominantly joints, triggered by environmental factors including lifestyle and diet, and is genetically predisposed.

It is one of a number of autoimmune diseases which can have a wide range of effects on organs and health, furthermore, it can strike at any age, typically beginning in young and middle age. Symptoms of painfully swollen and stiff joints in the hands and feet as well as damage to cartilage and other organ tissues can occur. Scientists aren’t sure what causes RA other than the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and the numbers of those diagnosed with having autoimmune diseases is increasing and common place in the western world but non-existent in traditional lifestyles.

The immune system has two different lines of defense. The first line is to attack invaders like viruses and bacteria that it regards as an enemy regardless of whether it has seen it before. The second line is to to build up a defense by making antibodies to specific invaders that has seen before. Optimum balance determines immune status. This defense promotes tolerance and gives protection by keeping what are called T cells from being overactive which is often the case with autoimmune diseases.

There are four dietary approaches that can help regulatory T cells.

The gut is the first barrier designed to keep invaders and unnecessary things such as bacteria and toxins out and help transport beneficial nutrients in. When the gut lining is not in good condition, it allows substances to pass into the system such as food proteins, and bacterial toxins to cause an antibody response and inflammation. Gut health is very important for overall health and wellbeing as well as comfort and convenience. As with most of the bodies tissue, foods rich in collagen, vitamin C, zinc for healing, glucosamine and chondroitin with hyaluronic acid for making new cells, and glutamine and used to heal the gut lining. Probiotics help fight off bacteria that migrates into the human gut and digestive enzymes support better digestion to help breakdown food molecules that you may be sensitive or less able to tolerate. Bone broth, good fats such as coconut oil and butter, foods naturally enzymatic such as apple, pineapple, kiwi and papaya are high in food enzymes and fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar can help with the chemical breakdown of foods in the stomach. Aloe vera is a mucilage which puts a slimy lining on the gut lining and acts as a barrier to reduce sensitivity between the lining and foods as well as helping with better digestion.

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets have shown many benefits to those with health problems, similarly they have been linked to symptomatic relief in RA patients (Muller 2001; Hafstrom 2001) (Zhernakova 2011). Based on the connection between foods renowned for causing an immune response or food intolerance, removing this inflammatory response may well help to relieve the inflammatory symptoms of RA. An IgG blood test could help RA patients to pinpoint potentially problematic foods and help identify a diet that best suits their immunological profile.

Flavonoids – Flavonoids such as lycopene (tomatoes), resveratrol, curcumin, and quercetin found in dietary supplements are well known for their anti-inflammatory activity have been found to have therapeutic effects in RA and osteoarthritis clinical trials.  They are found in colored fruits and vegetables while dietary supplements contain concentrated and purified flavonoids to either maintain joint health or to help to nutritionally manage the metabolic processes of osteoarthritis.

Sulforaphane-in cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli have also shown promise in trials acting to block the enzyme that damages cartilage.

Vegan omega-3 essential fatty acids have long been associated with improving joint health and reducing inflammatory swelling. Combined with hyaluronic acid and astaxanthin both of which target pro-inflammatory agents in the body—arthritis patients reported a 55% pain reduction in under three months; 63% of participants were entirely pain-free post-treatment (Martinez-Calat – 2010).

Vitamins – Other important vitamins and supplements that influence cartilage and the immune response are Vitamins A, B3, B6, B12, C, D3 magnesium and enzymes.

Whether anecdotal or that the overall diet improves when high levels of refined wheat products are removed from the daily diet, gluten sensitivity/ Celiac disease is often claimed to contribute to inflammatory symptoms. Testing for celiac disease involves blood tests for IgG and IgA anti-gliadin antibodies and while you may test negative, you can still have a very real gluten sensitivity that worsens arthritic pain or causes symptoms similar to arthritis.

Research identifies a number of dietary and lifestyle recommendations:

Identify what makes flare ups worse such as food sensitivities and intolerances

Support the first line of defense which is gut health and the gut lining

Eat a varied diet high in vegetables, fruit, high quality protein, good fats such as butter, coconut oil, fish oil, olive oil and avoid processed seed oils

Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids

Take collagen or bone broth regularly

Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts

Get some sun to boost vitamin D or take a regular supplement

Get plenty of antioxidants from berries, carrots, nuts and seeds,

Trial taking all wheat out of your diet for 3 months to gauge if inflammation is reduced

Trial a balanced gluten free vegan or vegetarian diet to see if this works for you

Get regular exercise

Posted on Leave a comment


Once considered a bit of a ‘wear and tear’ inflammatory disease of the joints as you age, evidence suggests otherwise. Multiple underlying causes and contributing factors include age, female gender and high BMI. Joints and particularly knees are affected where the protective cartilage cushion wears down leaving bones exposed to rub together. Medications are often the first form of treatment rather than looking at the root cause.

Research has focused on the high incidence of obesity and poor dietary choices as well as lack of exercise in OA patients. Obesity  increases the load and stress on many joints and data reveals that fat tissue is a major source of catabolic and pro-inflammatory mediators (i.e., cytokines, chemokines, and adipokines), which are implicated in the process of OA (Rai 2011). In addition, obese patients tend to experience insulin resistance and increased glucose load, which may also contribute to the chronic inflammation and cartilage deterioration of OA (Sowers 2010).

A greater understanding of the biochemical nature of cartilage and bone and its formation and breakdown has highlighted the role of nutrition and lifestyle, and the significance of a healthy diet to impact metabolic balance, aging and wellbeing. The big question as to what exactly does a “healthy diet” look like if we are to slow down the onset of age-related diseases is the key.

Much of the tissue injury and symptoms of pain and stiffness is due to chemicals produced naturally in our bodies and generated by metabolism of the omega-6 fatty acids from dietary intake of processed foods and seed oils (soy, sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, peanut oils). Tissue injury in the joint may also be due to the lack of intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils (fish, algae, borage, flaxseed, walnuts) and micronutrients such as flavonoids which act naturally to manage inflammation and help to protect against oxidative and other damaging effects to cartilage in joints.

Studies indicate that supplementing daily with glucosamine sulphate may offer effective, long-term treatment for osteoarthritis by slowing the progression of disease, delaying degeneration of the joint and reducing pain. It is not quite so clear if it is of benefit in RA although it may provide some pain relief.

These sugar amine molecules have been specifically studied for their potential to treat symptoms and disease progression associated with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Hyaluronic acid is a potential bright spot for helping lower the side effects of osteoarthritis. Its effectiveness is due to the many methods of actions it deploys, including lubrication, anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. Treatment can be done both orally and through intra-articular injections. New products are continuously being developed that change the composition of the molecule as well as pairing it with other drugs to maximize the effect. Hyaluronic acid treatment shows a lot of potential that will hopefully be discovered through continued research.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has become a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its most common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. It has been well-investigated in human clinical trials and experiments with evidence of a variety of health-specific outcome measures are improved with MSM supplementation, including inflammation, joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant capacity. This micronutrient is well tolerated for arthritis and a number of other conditions related to inflammation, physical function, and performance.

Another dietary consideration is the lack of dietary micro-nutrients in modern diets which have shown to help the body naturally manage inflammation and oxidation. Flavonoids and polyphenols are found in berries, grapes, nuts and seeds, non-starchy vegetables, spices such as curcumin and soy.

Research identifies a number of dietary recommendations:

  • lose weight, if overweight, preferably combined with exercise
  • increase intake of flavonoids to reduce oxidative damage
  • Supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin along with curcumin and essential fatty aid omega 3’s (EFA)
  • In addition, choose a supplement with additional hyaluronic acid and MSM for a more targeted treatment
  • reduce plasma cholesterol by dietary means
  • increase intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids preferably by eating oily fish, flaxseed oil and walnuts or taking a vegan EFA supplement
  • aim for a safe level of sun exposure, eat rich vitamin-D dietary sources or take vitamin D supplements, 800IU/d or 10,000IU/wk
  • increase vitamin K intake by eating green leafy vegetables

If you feel it’s time to make dietary changes but don’t know where to begin, do not hesitate to contact us at

Posted on Leave a comment

Fat Adapted and After Burn – How to turn fat into muscle

The terms “feel the burn”, “melting fat”, and “getting shredded” are often used to describe using stored and dietary fat as energy. To study how the fat actually gets into the working muscle to be converted to energy is important if we are wanting to lose excess stored fat for weight loss, or it might be that you are an endurance athlete and being well fat adapted allows you to go for longer without having to rely on high intakes of carbohydrates along the way.

Understanding exercise is important as we use either carbohydrates that break down into glucose or we use fat which breaks down to ketones for energy. The body uses glucose much more easily a bit like a fire will burn quickly if lighter fluid is added. Once it runs out, the fire must latch onto using another fuel source such as coal or wood. For a roaring fire, or springing into action, you might need a fast burner such as glucose, but this may mean you tire quickly. When it burns down and just glows away peacefully, it is likened to the body using fat.

It all sounds great, but if you keep eating carbohydrates at every meal and as snacks, your body will not get a chance to engage any stored fat for your working muscles. And if you exercise loaded with carbohydrates from a high carb meal, fat storage will not get a look in. Carbs trigger insulin and insulin shuts down lipolysis.

Glucose (carbohydrates) and fat are mostly used for energy and protein is almost only used by the body for growth and repair. Dietary glucose can go immediately to muscle cells; fat goes to the liver where your bodies energy needs decide if fat is required or put into storage. High fat diets just do not stack up in the science of long-term successful weight loss despite their popularity.

Have you ever thought how fat leaves the body? It’s a question not often considered but it might come as a surprise to know that it leaves the body as carbon dioxide via the lungs and a little as heat. That does not mean you can hyperventilate to increase breathing. You do need to get the blood circulating and the heart pumping which also over time increases muscle density and more little muscle conversion chambers in the mitochondria of the cells.

Lipolysis is the term given to breaking down or splitting of fats into free fatty acids (FFA) which bind up with protein and travel to the cells to be used as energy. Stored and dietary fats need to be converted into FFA’s before they can be burned as fuel in the muscles and require L-carnitine and vitamin B2.

Weight loss supplements rarely stack up in rigorous scientific studies with the most effective diet being a healthy balance and within your ideal calorie range along with exercise. Albeit caffeine has shown to increase the rate of lipolysis by working with adrenaline to increase lipolysis and promote fatty acid oxidation and is frequently taken before sports to boost performance.

There is great appeal for exploring exercise, nutrients, herbs, and botanicals which have shown to increase lipolysis through preparing the cells for energy production and promoting fat oxidation to energy, but tapping into fat through diet is the first step.

The critical aspects to consider here are that

  • insulin needs to be scarce to promote lipolysis
  • high levels of antioxidant’s increase signaling such as CoQ10, quercetin, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid
  • L-carnitine acts as a shuttle
  • muscle density increases the capacity for burning fat as more powerhouses
  • exercise increases the demand for energy and circulates more oxygen(VO2) which produces more carbon-dioxide(VCO2).

L-carnitine is a popular over the counter supplement promoted for fat loss as it acts as a transporter molecule binding ft and taking it to the cell. Shirali et al found L-carnitine was not a great fat loss agent by itself, but when combined with caffeine, green tea, and exercise, can help speed things along. How much and at what time should it be taken is debatable as the quality of supplements differs.

Chromium and cinnamon are two of the most rigorously studied nutrients for increasing cellular uptake of glucose and aid weight loss. Glucomannan is a fibre that swells to increase fullness and to keep the bowels moving and detoxing. A broad-spectrum Probiotic is also associted with keeping the bacteria species firmicutes under control which are highest in people with obesity and have shown to influence fat metabolism.