Friday, August 10, 2018

The Human Fuel

Carbohydrates resemble the main source (about 90%) of energy requirements of humans living away from extremely cold weather ( pole).
How much we take them? how the body deals with them? what is the impact of them on the body?. This is what we are going to discuss now.

Carbohydrates are present in many chemical forms:
-Mononmolecular form is either 5 or 6 carbon atoms.
-Dimolecular form which is a combined 2 monosaccharide (6 carbon atoms each).
-Oligosaccharide wich is formed of a few combined monosaccharides.
-Polysaccharides ( polymolecular chunks) of glucode.

Pentoses (5 carbon) are present in nature in bound forms, and oligosaccharides are of structural value (e.g. Antigens) , but the disaccharides specially sucrose (sugar of commerce) which may make up as much as 40% of carbohydrate intake, and the polysaccharide starch, with glucose as the building unit of both, are abundant in nature and are relevant to energy production in humans.

Glucose is the most important molecule in carbohydrate metabolism.
-It can be catabolised (broken down gradually) in the cytoplasm to produce some energy as in muscle cell or red blood cell, and its catabolic products are oxidized in the cell energy house(mitochondria) to produce larger amounts of energy.

Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates in human body to meet rapid demand of glucose or energy (fat is the other storage form).
The only human that can store glycogen in high amounts is the fetus before birth, however adult human can only store small amounts of it:

-Adult stores about 250 grams of glycogen in the liver which breaks it down during starvation to be completely depleted within 24 hours, the first thing the liver does after meals is to restore the normal glycogen store.
-Adult stores another small amount of glycogen in muscles which never give it up to be kept for their energy needs to start work.

The human brain stores Glucose as is in the blood and the whole body is responsible for keeping a blood concentration within a narrow range, this is done primarily by the liver which can utilize glycerol (split from fat) and amino acids (from protein) to build up to 55 g glucose which accords precisely with the estimated energy requirements of the brain.

Blood glucose can only highly fluctuate in diseases:
1- High levels in diabetes mellitus. Glucose can react with body proteins and modify them contributing to Cataract and other long term complications of diabetes.
2- Low levels near to 0 in Cancer, producing a muscle waste and general weakness (cachexia). The ability of cancer cells to absorb huge amounts of glucose led some scientists in the former Soviet Union and in Germany to flood blood with glucose to kill the cancer cell by its own produced high acidity through cytoplasmic glycolysis of this glucose. It proved some success in some cases.

The surplus glucose is stored as FAT, the most efficient form as energy store on weight basis , man strategic energy resource which he never uses nor he needs, moreover, stored fat is a mechanical handicap and a health risk.

If humans think that their main fuel is produced by Sun (through plant) and that Sun is present all the time they are present on earth, they would have thought about not to keep energy stores!
Next time when you are faced with cookies, candies, bakeries, pasta, and desserts, remember this article.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

6 Home Made Teas for Weight Loss

Home made teas have the advantage that they let you control every thing you intend to ingest. You can discard any unacceptable ingredients and largely modify their amounts as they are not standardized for a precise content, so that they become more palatable, convenient or beneficial to you.

Certainly, there is no miracle tea that will do all the work for you. You should have your plan of weight loss and these teas may help you to better commit to your plan. None of these teas contain those serious ingredients that may affect your health negatively, like Senna which may induce hypokalemia ( decreased blood Potassium) which may lead to serious effects including cardiac arrest and death, if used unwisely.

These teas have another advantage of keeping you away from the buzz of the debate about
their use. Many people use them regularly without planning for weight loss.

The oriental teas are used to be boiled with water, or soaked in cold or hot water, and their
constituents are household spices that may be used regularly.

These are your teas for weight loss:-
1- Sage: boil 1 tablespoonful of Sage herb in a cup of water. Drink it in the evening.

2- Cumin: soak 1 tablespoonful of Cumin seeds in boiling water, put Lemon slices in the water,leave it overnight. Drink it before breakfast.

3- Chicory ( leaves, flowers and roots): Boil 1 tablespoonful in a cup of water. Drink it 3 times daily for 3 weeks.

4- Ginseng: It is said to generally exert offsetting breakdown and building up of carbohydrates, lipids and protein metabolism. It backs up the response to stress.

5- Green Tea: It is well known to have antioxidant effects as well as it is a supplement to aid
weight loss.

6- Apple vinegar: add 1 teaspoonful to a cup of cold water. Drink it before breakfast.

There are some seeds that help you regulate taste and convenience of your teas. They are all
used in many ready-made weight loss teas. These are: Fennel- Caraway- Anise- Coriander,
in addition to Peppermint herb.

You still can drink Cherry and Pineapple juices as they are known to be good for weight loss.
breakdown and building-up action of carbohydrates, lipids and protein. It backs up the response to stress.

You still can drink Cherry and Pineapple juices as they are known to be good for weight loss.

The Killer White Gold

Until the second middle of the 18th century, sugar was a luxury and its profits let people call it "The White Gold". The impact of table sugar on the health of people masses had started less than 150 years ago. By 1874, Gladstone- the British Prime Minister- abolished the tax on sugar and brought its prices within the means of ordinary people.

The first sugar was recorded in England in 1100. Its price in London in 1300 was equal to US $100 per kilo at today's price, and it is the discovery of the new world (The Americas) that established the sugar industry, as the climate in the Caribbean was so advantageous for the growth of cane.

During the 18th century, sugar became enormously popular and heightened demand and production of sugar came about to a large extent due to a great change in the eating habits of many Europeans, e.g. they began consuming jams, candy, tea, coffee, chocolates, processed food, and other sweet victuals in much greater numbers.

Now, annual consumption is running about 120 million tons (about %15 of them is in US alone) and is expanding at a rate of about 2 million tons per year. Most sugar is consumed within the country of production and only approximately %25 is traded internationally. In many industrialized countries, sugar has become one of the most heavily subsidized agricultural products.

Besides the refined white sugar, there are some other forms of sugar, these are :
* Brown sugar: Unrefined or partially refined soft sugar.
* Caramel : It is a food which has an orange-brown color and sweet toasted flavor derived from the caramelization of sugar. Caramel is used to flavor candy, as well as soft drinks such as Coca-Cola. It is also used as a food coloring (with the E number: E150).
* Corn syrup: Known as Glucose syrup outside Canada and US, it is a syrup made from corn starch by enzymatic process and composed mainly of glucose. It is used to sweeten commercially processed food.
* Golden syrup: A thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syrup, made in the process refining sugar cane juice into sugar, or by treatment of a sugar solution with acid. It is used in a variety of baking recipes and desserts.
* Natural brown sugar: It is either an unrefined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar.

Impact Of Sugar On Our Health:
Refined sugar and starchy foods commonly eaten (e.g. refined grain products) represent the most abundant foods having a high Glycemic Index(GI) , those foods that release their absorbed sugars through the stomach lining into the blood stream rapidly. The trend of fat reduction concurrently with high carbohydrate intake specially those with high Glycemic Index(GI), and since fats slow gastric emptying , this may result in even more accelerated absorption of sugars.
 Eating sugars with low fat causes a rapid spike in blood sugar. The body responds by releasing extra insulin in the blood stream. The high insulin makes blood sugar crash back down and suppresses fat burning as well, one gets that famished feelings which lead to overeating.

High GI meals induce a sequence of hormonal and metabolic changes that promote overeating (clinical trials proved people ate almost twice as much after high GI meals compared to low GI meals). Compared with low GI meals, the high GI meal resulted in higher Insulin levels, lower plasma Glucagon levels, lower post absorptive plasma Gluose and serum fatty acids levels and elevation in plasma Epinephrine.

The first observed effect of eating too much sugars (and other carbohydrates of high GI) is the formation of a lot of fats (obesity) a predisposing factor to Diabetes mellitus(ll). Some authors exaggerate the impact of eating carbohydrates by describing the most severe complications of uncontrolled diabetes like blindness, limb amputation, stroke...etc, yet we can point to some common known impacts of eating sugars on health, which in themselves may be predisposing factors to some other effects, these are :

1- Increased blood Insulin has negative effects on the body that accelerate aging.
2- Increased blood Glucose causes Glycation of proteins and this affect some tissues and systems negatively (e.g. Hypertension).
3- Raised cholesterol and triglyceride and sequela.
4- Indigestion, flatulence, constipation and gall stone formation.
5- Acne (actually the formed pustules are filled with un-metabolized carbohydrates).
6- Emotional disorders.
7- Osteoporosis.
8- Food, Caffeine and drug addiction.
9- Supra-renal gland exhaustion.
10- Hypersensitivity.
11- Arthritis.
12- Overweight.
13- Diabetes mellitus type ll.

In essence, we need to use sugars as a luxury again.
Unless you suffer from low blood sugar or you are running a marathon, minimize or avoid the killer "White Gold" i.e. sugar.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Essential Hypertension

Blood Pressure (PB) reading consists of 2 numbers in a top/bottom assembly.The top number is the systolic pressure which measures BP when the heart is contracted, and the Aorta and carotid arteries (that carry the output of blood) are stretched out to expand, while the bottom number is the diastolic pressure which measures the BP when the heart, aorta and carotid arteries are negative at work.The difference between the 2 numbers measures the resistance exerted by the blood vessels and is called the pulse pressure. It is a rough index of vascular rigidity, and we should consult a specialist if it is higher than 70mmHG.

In 10% of hypertension cases the cause may be a congenitally inherited disease , chronic disease in the kidney or its supplying arteries (e.g. renal failure), alcohol abuse or hormonal imbalance, it is called "Secondary hypertension".
In 90% of hypertension cases, the cause is unknown and is regularly seen at older age. It is called " Essential hypertension".

A normal BP is 120/80 or lower, higher BP is 140/90 or higher. If it is in between the case is called a pre-hypertensive case. As hypertension is the "silent killer" if not treated in time to guard against its prognosis, one should be aware of his BP at any age. After the age of 21, it should be measured every 2 years.

Hypertension damage the blood vessels, raising the risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart disease and heart attack. Nicotine in cigarettes and other Tobacco products causes BP to rise as a result of both constricting blood vessels and accelerating heart beats. Sodium (in table salt) can increase BP in some people but not every one.

Large arteries are designed so as to stretch out expanding when they receive blood pumped by the heart, then when this blood flows out of these arteries into smaller ones, they recoil back to their original size before the heart beat.
To perform this job, the middle layer of the arteries is made up of smooth muscle cells surrounded by a network of collagen and elastic fibers. Collagen and Elastin are proteins which together form the nest or the matrix where-in the smooth muscle cells reside. It is this middle layer that is responsible for elasticity of arteries.

A young person arteries are similar to soft latex birthday balloon. But for many persons, the arteries have become more like rubber tires.This is due to stiffening of arteries which is determined by the changes in the smooth muscle cells and the matrix proteins(collagen and elastin) in their walls. This stiffening of arteries is called "Athersclerosis".

Atherosclerosis is initiated by direct damage of blood vessels through glycation.With aging the amount of vascular collagen increases, causing an imbalance of collagen and elastin to occur, and abnormal cross-links from between the collagen strands as a result. These cross-liks are the result of advanced-glycation-end-products(AGEs).

It is the result of a sugar molecule, such as Glucose, Fructose or Galactose bonding to a protein or lipid molecule without enzymatic control.
Dietary-Preformed Glycation products and Advanced Glycation End Products(AGEs):
As an organic reaction AGEs can be and they are typically formed when sugars are heated(cooked) with proteins or fats. High temperature greatly accelerates the reactions, but lower temperature with larger cooking times also promote their formation.
These compounds are absorbed by the body during digestion with about 30% efficiency .
Sugars are added to products such as french fries and baked goods to enhance browning. Browning reactions are evidence of pre-formed Glycations.
Many foods contain AGEs, like those with significant browning, or with directly added AGEs ( as flavors or colorants). Just to mention a few of foods with very high exogenous AGEs:
Donuts - Barbecued meats -Cake - Dark colored Soda pop.

In-Vivo formation of AGEs( Inside the body) :
In the blood, Glucose, Fructose and Galactose, through a complex series of very slow reactions ( inside the body) like Amadori's, Schiff's base formation and Millard reactions, leading finally to AGEs formation. Some AGEs are more reactive than the sugars they are derived from and are implicated in many age-related disease.

1- Reduce weight.
2- Exercise as your health allows.
3- Reduce intake of foods known to contain AGEs.
4- Untill very recently, not a single study has shown improved health outcomes on reduced Sodium diets.
5- Stop smoking.
6- Keep visiting your Dr periodically.

It should be through a specialist who can describe one or more of these drug groups:
Diuretics - B-Blockers - Methyl-Dopa - ACE inhibitors - Calcium channel blockers - Angiotensin2 antagonists, according to how he evaluates the patient condition.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Static Herbs that Cure Ailments

There are plants known to have some medicinal effects and they are used traditionally as herbal remedy. When used in its natural form, it is considered as a herb medicine, but if an active ingredient is extracted, isolated, investigated and used in a specified dose then it is a medicine with a specific pharmacological  effect.

An example that illustrates the difference is Ephedra plant and its active ingredient Ephedrine alkaloid. Ephedrine can be toxic if its dose exceeded the recommended one which is tiny.

Herb medicine has some great advantages as it has a high safety margin since it is present in minute amounts in its native source, in addition to its highly diversified utilities ( Have you heard that Fennel+Dill can treat Cataract or that Garlic can treat snake or scorpion bites ? I had).

Now, what endows herb medicines their activity in treating different ailments? in other words, how do they affect our bodies and why?. The answer lies in understanding the design of the plant and animal structures so as to perform biological functions.

It is easy, plants derive their energy from solar energy and are reproduced through their seeds, i.e. they don't need to move, while animals need to move to seek food and mate. This mechanical difference in survival needs dictated the structure and the metabolism -biochemical activity- of each to serve the static standing nature of plants and the dynamic mobile nature of animals.

Plants only needs built-in canals to transport water down-up and animals need muscles around bones to move. Plant canals are hollow cellulose walls and animal bone and muscles are made of protein.

Both animals and plants utilize the same food categories (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) , yet the genetic code of metabolism of each serves their essential mechanical nature , hence the plant metabolism is largely devoted to carbohydrates metabolism to serve the purpose of producing building units (cellulose).

Animals use protein as their structural element (bones and muscles), they also elaborated tiny protein molecules to serve other functions like enzymes, immunity proteins, cell adhesion proteins, some hormones...etc., consequently their protein is highly responsive to any extraneous chemical molecule.

When animals ingest food, they use both carbohydrates and fat for energy production and storage, and put some of them in cell membranes, while they assimilate protein so that it becomes similar to their own protein. Any other substance different from the aforementioned forms will not enter the normal pathways of metabolism, and will be excreted.

Herb medicines through their extraneous materials that do not be involved in normal human metabolism, mostly affect human protein so as to modify its structure without distorting it, these protein modulations restore the proper structure and function of body proteins (this is of particular crucial importance if the protein is present in cell membrane or is an enzyme).
They can also also affect carbohydrates and fat to a lesser degree.

Known traditional herb medicines if investigated systematically can launch the conventional medicines to much more better level.

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