“It’s good food and not fine words that keeps me alive.” Molier
There are times when words need to be uttered that may spell salvation from the bad effects of ‘good food’ in our bodies. The world-wide explosion in the consumption of dietary vitamin and trace element supplements is one such time.
Let’s consider this question, Does the body of a well-nourished person need dietary supplementation? You decide: The body is an incredible instance of self-regulating, self-healing biological engineering. In terms of absorbing what is good for it through the bowel, it is generally able to take in enough of what it needs whilst disposing excess amounts as waste. The role of medications generally constitute crude, destabilizing interventions into this honestly amazing scenario. They function mainly to jog the body into healing itself. But when steeply excessive amounts are ingested, absorption is notched higher, leading to toxicity. We are aware that with respect to the body’s metabolism, it is like comparing the levels of operation of data-capturing to the apices of systems engineering. In common with all complex living matter, the body operates on certain foundation processes, a finely-tuned machine – and within often rigid parameters defining the boundaries of normality.
The biochemical parameters of operation of the body are, for many organs, particularly rigorous, with multiple intricate and interdependent series of processes working to bring about the end-result of ‘good health’ or ‘wellness’.
Unwellness, or dis-ease comes into existence when either, one or more of these biochemical processes or their interactions have either become abnormal, or their individual parameters have been transgressed. Again, all these have been designed to operate on a basic foundation containing other normal parameters such as, amongst others, the body’s vitamin and trace element content. Thus, if the body’s content of vitamins and trace elements is low or high, ill-health results.
In our times there is a preoccupation with supplementing vitamins and trace elements, based on the assumption that their levels, left on their own, tend to become lower than normal. This is assumed most commonly by the world-wide middle class, and has resulted in the highly lucrative vitamin supplement industry. For the middle classes worldwide, the notion that there is a need for vitamin and trace element supplementation is potentially dangerous social herding.
Whilst the tail-end of twentieth century agricultural production brought a global glut in food supply overall, the truth is, our health-view has remained fixated on a past era that focussed on correcting under-nutrition. We seem to have missed the point at which the pendulum swung into the opposite extreme, especially in developed parts of the world, where we find it now.
Because people on these supplements generally enjoy a balanced diet, faddish vitamin and trace element supplementation is unnecessary, wasteful and in and of itself, a cause of ill-health.
This dictates TWO lifestyle changes:
· 1. Desisting from the vitamin and trace element fad
· 2. Mentioning the fact that you are on vitamin and trace element supplementation to your doctor so
he/she can factor this into the current diagnostic process.
Below is a table showing the normal values/parameters of major vitamins & trace elements required for normal body function, as well as some known effects of excess ingestion:
EFFECTS OF EXCESS INTAKE
20-50 micro Gm/dL
Dry rough skin, cracked lips, headache, joint pains
(>2mg per day is excessive)
Balance & sensation disturbances - permanent
8.5- 10.5 mg/dL
Thirst, rash, loss of weight, kidney stones & other kidney damage, renal failure.
Intake of 2 mg/day required
Sepsis & bowel disease in infants
Normal activity tested using clotting tests
Anemia, bowel disturbance
Blood cell damage, brain damage , kidney failure, blood in urine, repeated miscarriage.
Part of Vit B12 formation.
Heart disease – often fatal.
Loss of hair & nails. Nervous disorders.
With the prevalence of ‘health’ and dietary supplementation currently in vogue, this article is a heads-up to the danger of finding ourselves inadvertently at the opposite end of the spectrum, nutritionally speaking, to where we think we are.
This is important because of the potentially serious – even life-threatening – results of excessive vitamin and trace-element ingestion.
©Thabo Seseane. All rights reserved.2013
As our technology and numbers steadily grew over time, man's global ecological footprint has always been the one variable with the power to affect significant parts of our planet's functioning. At the end of the previous century we became conscious of the ozone layer depletion - and that it posed a threat to our very existence. This was a direct result of our growing ecological carbon footprint. With the growth in population, however, this new ecological paradigm led to the environmental green movement, which dictates more and more of our urgent and focused attention - and action, on preserving the integrity of our ecology. The effects of environmental degradation are closely connected to the byproducts of modern existence, however these byproducts are the consequence of economic and job 'growth'. So at a certain inflection point decisions are/have been made regarding the common good - a word fraught with subjective interpretation. Moreover, a word which has in the past been used to designate the better interests of those with productive power in the economy, with the result that long-term best interests have become subservient to short-term economic gain. Hence the love/hate relationship that has evolved between those advocating a new ecological paradigm shift based on long-term survival of our planet versus those who support uninterrupted economic growth at almost any cost. See http://tinyurl.com/aqaz9dt © Thabo Seseane. 2013
Take Charge of Stress and Abdominal Obesity
Stress is a well known cause of adrenaline/epinephrine production. It prepares (in an instant) the body to fight or flee, all in the cause of self-preservation.
Adrenaline or epinephrine is a hormone and a neuro-transmitter with many functions in the body. It helps to regulate blood pressure, heart-rate, the patency of air passages, and metabolic responses, and is a crucial component of the fight-or-flight response.
This response results in the production of other hormones in a cascade that results in an increase in blood glucose. Glucose is a primary source of energy for the brain, and hence its availability influences mental and psychological processes. Low glucose affects many brain processes including decision-making as well as self-control.
During a stress response, the hypothalamus part of the brain secretes hormones, one of which is corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH stimulates the brain’s pituitary gland which ultimately results in cortisol /glucocorticoid production , another stress hormone. Cortisol is the dominant hormone in situations of chronic stress, and its effects are more permanent than those of adrenaline.
Effects of Cortisol
Are exerted all over the body:
=> INCREASES IN CORTISOL
=>LOSS OF MUSCLE BULK
=> INCREASED ABDOMINAL FAT
Abdominal fat has been found to be especially hormonally active . It has a direct relationship with Diabetes.Central obesity from increased abdominal fat deposition predisposes individuals for insulin resistance. The fat secretes a group of hormones called adipokines that lead to the body
producing resistin, which impairs glucose metabolism. This is the leading cause of Type 2 (Acquired ) Diabetes.
Is therefore vitally important for all of the reasons above and others, to control the amount of abdominal fat we have.
Controlling the Amount of our Abdominal FatBaseline Measurements
Baseline self measurements are easy to do at home. We can measure our blood pressure and blood glucose with portable machines. ( Note this advice does not replace having regular and on demand medical check-ups by qualified practitioners, it is in addition to these check-ups). The other self or assisted measurements we can do are:
©Thabo Seseane. All rights reserved.2013
What is Stress
Whilst many people have a good day sometimes, everybody is familiar with the sensation of stress. Being stressed is almost so synonymous with modern living, we take it as a normal part of life. This needn’t be so because excess stress is always an undesirable, and almost always avoidable consequence of modern living.
The Four Stress Zones of Life
There are only 4 main areas and these are dealt with from another perspective here.
To recapitulate, they are:
Manifetastions of the Stress Zones
The Causes and Effects of Stress
With all the advances in modern medicine, most of the ailments that have plagued mankind are still with us, only now they come accompanying stress.
The immediate feeling of mental strain and invisible shoulder-weights almost always leads to body manifestations. We are no stranger to that sense of being overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, withdrawn and lackadaisical, these are so familiar. But they have real, (almost tangible) accompaniments –which are also well-documented, such as depression, panic attacks, exhaustion, high blood pressure, skin eruptions or rashes, insomnia, low libido, migraine, gastrointestinal difficulties (reflux disease, ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract, cancers), upper and lower respiratory disease, even ear problems, Gynecological problems and immune suppression.
There are about 6 global stress ‘zones’ in everyone’ life as noted above. We often don’t acknowledge the roles relationships such as family, marital, friendly, as well as phobias have in pushing us up the stress scale. Most of us complain about job and relationship stress, to the exclusion of the others.
Yet stress comes in so many ‘normal guises’, some of the most apparently harmless occurrences in life are accompanied by stress. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale or Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale was formulated as a result of this discovery.
By means of it ‘everyday’ occurrence such as change of house, change in frequency of arguments, marital reconciliation were found to add to one’s stress levels – with resulting dangers to health.
Of course everyone knows that the death of a spouse causes stress, and divorce, as does foreclosure but it is the cumulative effect of these, large and small things, that result in life-threatening physical disorders. It’s been found that if the addition of these factors (each of which has a numerical value) totals 300 or more then serious deleterious body effects result.
The generic effects of stress affects 3 parts of our being:
Our life-and-death duty is to make very sure our stress levels remain as little as we can make them.
© Thabo Seseane.2013.
What is Fulfillment in life?