Na Zdrovie

A new method and substance to indirectly self-medicate, a probiotic “adjuvant” based on the interaction of bacteria and phages.

In almost all ecosystems that so far have been subjected to in-depth studies, it has been estimated that there are around ten phages for every microbial cell, rendering phages the most abundant biological entities on our planet [12]. By killing bacteria, phages significantly influence global biochemical cycles, while they are also considered to be crucial in driving microbial species diversity due to the fact that phage are species-specific [13]

Thus, by extension one could argue that in the human gut no specific bacterial strains persist in dominant numbers over time and that there is a dynamic equilibrium of functionally redundant bacterial and viral strains that continuously substitute each other in a “kill-the winner” fashion, thereby maintaining stable metabolic potential and taxonomical diversity.
>An important aspect that deserves a much more detailed investigation is the potential role of phages in defining the limits of bacterial populations in the human intestine when a dietary intervention introduces a considerable amount of bacteria. Such an approach is commonly known as probiotic treatment and consists of the supplementation of viable microbial cells in sufficient numbers so as to modify the intestinal bacterial populations in order to elicit a beneficial effect on human healt

Someone thinks it can be done…


>Giving Probiotics a Boost

Many people live in a state of dysbiosis or imbalance that not only threatens their long-term health, but may also contribute to sleep disorders, to a sense of malaise or “fogginess,” and to a range of stomach distress issues that cannot be explained by a specific disease. Fortunately, many studies have shown that positively changing the microbiome—shifting it toward a healthy profile and away from dysbiosis—can also change symptoms and disease risk.14,35,36

One important way of improving the intestinal microbiome is through the use of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics are a great additive therapy that increase the abundance of organisms that can rebalance an ailing microbiome. In some cases, however, probiotics by themselves have difficulty competing with the more aggressive microbes that contribute to dysbiosis in the first place.

A more comprehensive approach is to use probiotics in combination with another therapy, one that selectively targets and reduces the troublesome bacteria that are taking over the microbiome. This approach of targeting harmful bacteria while replenishing beneficial bacteria can make way forprobiotics to better help restore the microbiome to a healthy, balanced state. That is how phage therapy works.

Phage therapy reduces potentially troublesome organisms that are overabundant in the microbiome, allowing beneficial organisms to flourish. This helps restore the microbiome to a healthy, balanced state.37

>After 24 hours, compared with the control group, animals in the phage-treated group gave powerful evidence of a reduction in the disease-causing bacteria as can be seen on the following page:

  • About a 10-fold decrease of E. coli in the small intestine
  • About a 100-fold decrease of E. coli in the colon (large intestine)
  • About a 100-fold decrease of E. coli in fecal matter

At the same time, the phage-treated animals showed remarkable increases in the beneficial (B. longum) bacteria as follows:

  • About 100-fold increase of B. longum in the small intestine
  • About 100-fold increase of B. longum in the colon
  • About 40-fold increase of B. longum in fecal matter

This study also revealed marked differences in the appearance of tissue samples and digestive function across the different groups of mice.

Mice treated with E. coli and B. longum alone were constipated, and intestinal segments showed swelling, redness, and leaks compared with healthy animals. The mice given B. longum and E. coliplus the phage mixture had normal bowel movements, while their intestinal tissues showed no detrimental changes.

And the product being pitched:

Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 liquid vegetarian capsule
Amount Per Serving
Proprietary Probiotic Blend 15 Billion CFU†
Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14; Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04; L. paracasei Lpc-37; L. rhamnosus Lr-32; B. bifidum/lactis Bb-02; B. longum Bl-05
TetraPhage Blend 15 mg
LH01 – Myoviridae; LL5 – Siphorviridae; T4D – Myoviridae; LL12 – Myoviridae
Other ingredients: glycerin, vegetable cellulose (capsule), microcrystalline cellulose, silica, purified water, stearic acid, chlorophyllin.


†Colony Forming Units at time of manufacture.

Dosage and Use
  • Take one (1) capsule daily, with or without food, or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.


The Great Norwegian Porridge Feud

A tempest in a porridge pot or microcosm of nutrition and health science in 1865 Europe?

“The more things change, the more it is the same.” The newest and best is here! Modernizers, scientists, doctors, the new adopters, the “experts” backed by the latest discoveries tell you, “Yes, there were mistakes in the past, but trust us, now we got it right, this is the answer, the best!”


Note that porridge so-called was made with grains not exclusively oats; the same general use of the word kasha in Russian. Oats may have been most common in Scotland, buckwheat in Russia, maze corn polenta in North Italy; not clear here what was the most common grain used in Norway at that time.

At first glance, it sounds like much ado about nothing, with a silly name to boot — the Norwegian Porridge Feud, indeed! — but once upon a time in Norway, the preparation of a simple bowl of porridge became a nexus for deeply-held, passionately-argued views about the natural sciences, nutrition, economy, the role of women in Norwegian society, education, tradition, nationalism, progressivism and enlightenment.

It was the custom of Norwegian farmers’ wives to prepare porridge by throwing a quantity of flour into the porridge as soon as it was ready to eat. One might see such a practice — adding uncooked grain to cooked — as a redundancy, but the author of Fornuftig Madstel, Peter Christen Asbjornsen (writing under the pseudonym Clemens Bonifacius) attacked this practice as worse than redundant: he argued that it was in fact a loss to the eater, as the flour would pass unabsorbed through the body, and it was a loss to the Norwegian economy, as all of this unused flour could be put to better use. He argued further that the only way to reverse this chronic waste, and the resultant weakening of the Norwegian population, was to revise the known methods of cookery and optimal consumption of foods to adhere to the principles of natural sciences; since women were the primary cooks for their families, they were responsible for the deleterious effects of bad cookery, and they should be retaught everything they knew from scratch, in accordance with natural science.

The tenacity of Asbjornsen’s ideas is all the more remarkable when we learn that the argument that started the Norwegian Porridge Feud — uncooked flour, added to cooked porridge, passes unused through the body — was disproved two years after the publication of Fornuftig Madstel, when a Norwegian doctor put it to the test…

A more recent review and analysis proposes that the enzymatic/amylase sweetening effect of the added flour explains the preference for the traditional porridge cooking method in dispute so long ago.

To study cooking practices in depth, transdisciplinary
approaches (Ramadier, 2004) are required; uni- or
interdisciplinary approaches may fail to notice vital

Bonus alphabetical listing of porridge names and ingredients from Atole to Wheatena:




Them Damn Canadians Hanged Louis Riel

Louis Riel Day, November 16. The day that the Metis President of the Manitoba Republic-leader of the rebellion against the Hudson Bay Company rule transferred to the newly established Canadian government-was hanged by the Mounties.


The title above is also the title of a good book on the subject by James McNamee, published `1971. 2nd hand copies readily available from the usual sources.

Here is the short version, same idea, in a poem:

 There is a small display for Gabriel Dumont hidden in a back corridor of the Saskatoon airport departures and transfers lounge.



Cod Liver Oil, A?

And D, and K!

So I bought her a bottle, t’was just for to try
And the way that she scoffed it you’d swear she was dry
I bought her another, it went just the same
Till I owned she’s got cod liver oil on the brain


A piece, perhaps a critical one, of the nutrition and health jigsaw puzzle. Understanding the interaction and conditional or optimum requirements for Vitamins A, D and K could be valuable also for dog food. I recall back in the 70s and 80s buying large cans of cod liver oil to add to the sled dog’s food. The NAS 1968 Nutrient Requirements of Mink and Foxes had a more practical approach than for dogs since the processed pet food industry already controlled that field. The document recommends dietary Min/Max limits for animal liver 1.5/7% and cod liver oil .3/.8%

Health bonus not addressed in the W-P article below, the bottle of CLO I have in front of me also contains per 5 ml, 430 mg EPA and 390 mg DHA, and “Quik-Sorb” ginger, amla and capsicum. Could increase absorption as the name implies, protect as antioxidant, reduce burping? Don’t ask me about burping, I use it on salad with olive oil and herbs for dressing.

In many countries a spoonful of cod liver oil was a daily supplement ritual for children. They usually disliked the taste. Some products were flavored with malt extract, some with black currant syrup to improve palatability. CLO can be purchased now with lemon, orange or similar added flavor.

BTW, if you are going to eat cod fillets, the best way to cook Poor Man’s Lobster is to lay Bay leaf on top when you steam or poach the fish, then eat with melted butter.


North Atlantic Cod

Looks somewhat like walleye aka perch pike or pickerel, but the freshwater cod around here are called lawyers aka burbot, loche, lingcod, mariah.

cod-liver-oilcod-liver-oil-vitamin-a    Selected excerpts:

>In order for vitamin D to activate the expression of its target genes, it must bind to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and then combine with the retinoid X receptor (RXR), which is activated by a particular form of vitamin A called 9-cis retinoic acid. Researchers from Spain recently showed that vitamin D can only effectively activate target genes when its partner receptor is activated by vitamin A.

WAPF Response: A dose of 1000 IU vitamin D daily is adequate to avoid problems with vitamin A in adults. If the ratio of A to D in cod liver oil is 10 to 1, then it is easy to obtain a safe amount of vitamin A along with an adequate amount of vitamin D.

WAPF Response: As stated earlier, vitamin A can be toxic when vitamin D is absent. Vitamin A does not antagonize vitamin D—both are needed for optimal assimilation. It would be amazing if vitamins A and D were antagonistic since they are so often found in the same foods.

Our primary message is that vitamin A levels are far too low in the modern American diet compared to primitive diets. Primitive peoples consumed very high levels of vitamin A from organ meats, insects, fish eggs, fish heads, liver and fish liver oils, as well as from butterfat and egg yolks from grassfed animals. Since most of our animals are raised in confinement today, and many of the vitamin A-rich foods are unacceptable to modern palates, we recommend taking cod liver oil on a daily basis. We have never recommended taking a multivitamin. Likewise, we have never stated that vitamin A is “not at all” toxic.

We have thoroughly explored this topic and shown that plant foods are a very poor source of vitamin A for humans, especially for babies and children, diabetics, and those suffering from thyroid and digestive disorders.

WOUND HEALING: The combination of zinc oxide and cod liver oil was found to be superior to the formulations containing only one active ingredient. This combination was also found to be most efficient in accelerating wound healing when it is retarded by repeated dexamethasone treatment (Dtsch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2006 Sep;113(9):331-4).

HIP FRACTURE: Multivitamin or cod liver oil supplementation was associated with a significantly lower risk of any fracture. “We found no evidence to support any skeletal harm associated with increased serum indices of retinol exposure or modest retinol supplementation in this population” (J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Jun;20(6):913-20).

UPPER RESPIRATORY TRACT INFECTIONS IN CHILDREN: Children supplemented with cod liver oil had a decrease in upper respiratory tract infections and pediatric visits over time (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2004 Nov;113(11):891-901).


Try B And See…

Boron, a new nutritional wunderkind.

The element Boron has many uses in the form of borax, boric acid, and a naturally occurring organic complex in plants, calcium fructoborate.

Boron and borate not to be confused with bromine and bromate. Borax sold as laundry booster can be used as powder or spray on wet floors and walls subject to mildew. It is also a cheap, effective and nontoxic wood preservative that will dissolve and spread in the wet  or moist environment, reaching areas below the surface and inside walls. Boric acid  or borates like borax are typically and commonly used in eyewashes, antifungal salves and cosmetics.

Recent research shows calcium fructoborate dietary supplementation and consumption as found in foods can have valuable health benefits. However when elemental boron levels are low or depleted in soils the consequent levels in foods grown there will also be low.

>Calcium fructoborate (CF), a natural sugar-borate ester found in fresh fruits and vegetables, is a source of soluble boron. CF contains three forms of borate (diester, monoester, and boric acid) and all are biologically active, both at the intracellular (as free boric acid) and extracellular level (as fructose-borate diester and monoester). At the cellular and molecular level, CF is superior to the boric acid/borate, exhibiting a complex “protective” effect against inflammatory response. CF is commercially available in the USA as a “nature-identical” complex, an active compound for dietary supplements. It provides effective and safe support against the discomfort and lack of flexibility associated with osteoarticular conditions (arthritis and joint degeneration), and improves Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) and McGill indexes. In addition, orally administered CF is effective in ameliorating symptoms of physiological response to stress, including inflammation of the mucous membranes, discomfort associated with osteoarthritis disorders, and bone loss, and also for supporting cardiovascular health. Clinical studies have exhibited the ability of CF to significantly modulate molecular markers associated with inflammatory mechanisms, mainly on the elevated serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

The following article includes studies showing the effects of boron as trace mineral in some or in the form of CF in others:

> As the current article shows, boron has been proven to be an important trace mineral because it

(1) is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone;

(2) greatly improves wound healing;

(3) beneficially impacts the body’s use of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D;

(4) boosts magnesium absorption;

(5) reduces levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α);

(6) raises levels of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase;

(7) protects against pesticide-induced oxidative stress and heavy-metal toxicity;

(8) improves the brains electrical activity, cognitive performance, and short-term memory for elders;

(9) influences the formation and activity of key biomolecules, such as S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+);

(10) has demonstrated preventive and therapeutic effects in a number of cancers, such as prostate, cervical, and lung cancers, and multiple and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; and (11) may help ameliorate the adverse effects of traditional chemotherapeutic agents.

In none of the numerous studies conducted to date, however, do boron’s beneficial effects appear at intakes > 3 mg/d. No estimated average requirements (EARs) or dietary reference intakes (DRIs) have been set for boron—only an upper intake level (UL) of 20 mg/d for individuals aged ≥ 18 y. The absence of studies showing harm in conjunction with the substantial number of articles showing benefits support the consideration of boron supplementation of 3 mg/d for any individual who is consuming a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables or who is at risk for or has osteopenia; osteoporosis; osteoarthritis (OA); or breast, prostate, or lung cancer.

Avocado has the highest level of boron in commonly available foods.




Red Hair & Freckles Alert!


Literally! Green Self-Medication Selfie! For Real!
Nicotiana alata (Azteca), Freckles, Keratoses, Scissors…Thumbs up!  (From Nicotiana alata is called Azteca NIght Blooming; other sources might call particular N rustica varieties Aztec so beware common names vs. the more reliable botanical “binomial” names.)

“…faut cultiver son jardin!” Candide/Voltaire

Tobacco species, genus Nicotiana, one of which (rustica/Hopi) was used to treat skin diseases/cancer successfully 450 years ago by Jean Nicot based on Monardes’ introduction; another species, Nicotiana alata (Azteca in the photo), was discovered recently, better to say rediscovered, to contain antimicrobial peptides, AMP Defensins, that do in fact attack and eviscerate human cells with irregular or abnormal membrane characteristics without harming healthy ones, a better alternative than fluorouracil treatment for sunlight damaged skin aka actinic keratoses.

Re: Are traditional herbal medicines obsolete?

What replaces them? Recent drug “inventions,” many based on traditional plant constituents? Drugs which may treat particular conditions but for some people have serious adverse collateral effects? Methods and substances based on the principle of attacking the agent of disease while often ignoring prevention and harming the host organism? Closing the barn door after the horses escaped, or worse, shooting the horses that did escape! Is the traditional method built on hundreds of years experience replaced by so-called controlled studies which can’t possibly control for all possible variables?

In fact, genetics, epigenetics, and the evidence of pervasive effects of microbiomes different for each person and each organ have all kicked the support out from under the 20th century evidence-based eco-phobic allopathic medicine scam. It is a method based on the misuse of statistics to imply more certainty or confidence than can exist in highly variable real-world populations and never applies to any single person. Statistics do not apply to individuals, no surprise there! The Medical Industrial Pharmaceutical Complex or cartel is  more about liability, insurance, invested interests, entitlement, and psycho-social politics at many levels, not true science. Use all the buzz-words you want, try to claim evidence to support one position or another, but evidence and data are not misleading, people misuse statistics calling them evidence to mislead people. “Asinus asinum fricat.”

Statistics give you probabilities about future behavior of collections or aggregates of objects/events based on and derived from analysis of past outcomes of similar (but necessarily not identical) populations and events. How good is the modeling and similarity?

True science, as opposed to the pseudo-science practiced in “Evidence-based” medicine, would acknowledge that a single case, an anecdote, while suggesting a possibility of causality, does not confirm any general conclusion, at the same time also recognizing that the statistical results of a population study do not confirm or predict with certainty the outcome of a single case.

“What is truth?” so Pontius Pilate said to Jesus

What is any fact or truth that Evidence-Based Medicine can claim to own it exclusively? From the book, The Half-Life of Facts:

“Facts” live and die, writes Samuel Arbesman in this nifty introduction to “scientometrics,” the ecology of knowledge; facts migrate through social networks, interbreed, evolve, and undergo mass extinctions. Surprisingly, the growth and turnover of knowledge plot the same predictable curves as bacteria in a petri dish or a radioisotope’s decay. But predictable doesn’t mean optimal: errors are perpetuated, effort is duplicated, and pieces of many a lifesaving puzzle lie buried in widely separated studies.

The simplistic “Evidence-Based Medicine” approach on careful logical examination turns out to be another version of the No True Scotsman fallacy.                                        >This fallacy is a form of circular argument, with an existing belief being assumed to be true in order to dismiss any apparent counter-examples to it. The existing belief thus becomes unfalsifiable.

“Those who cling to perceptions and views wander the world offending people.” The Buddha

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” The Buddha

Fry Bread First Nations

Fry Bread: an element of Cultural Stockholm Syndrome?

As Marie Antoinette said, contributing eventually to her own execution, a clueless insult to the malnourished masses, let them eat cake… or frybread.

The five gifts (Trojan horses, seeds of destruction) of the white man: sugar, lard, milk, salt, flour according to an article in The Walrus, June 2016, Breaking Bread, Bannock’s contentious role in Aboriginal cuisine. (Must mean specifically food “gifts” otherwise why not strong alcohol and twisted Euro-centric Christianity?)

“Hide your wives and daughters; hide your groceries too…

Now they’re gone, gone, really gone…”

Bannock as a tool of Colonialist Imperialist repression? Fry Bread and bannock are agents of cultural genocide! Don’t blame the Scots. The early versions in Scotland would have been cooked on girdles (our language corruption, gridles) hot flat stones around the fire, the dough batter made with barley and/or oats. No sugar. Baking soda was introduced to cooking ca. mid 19th century… more about that in Marian McNeill’s book The Scots Kitchen… BTW, even uncooked oats are tasty and digestible.

What brought on this gratuitous rant; who am I to complain? Who has any right to identify with Aboriginal and other enslaved colonized people? Take a hint: don’t mistakenly refer to a Paddy, a Cousin Jack, or a Scot as an Englishman…

Is it good enough to say of native culture “use it or lose it?” In the face of constant overt and covert cultural sabotage, the prescription should be “use it and flaunt it.”

Stockholm Syndrome is a term used when captives identify with and join, co-opted by the captors. Willingly adopting and carrying shackles of repression that were first forced on them.

The new colonial imperialism goes by the euphemistic title Globalization. But long in the past, as now, the tools perpetuating Colonialism following military conquest were diet, culture and religion promoted with false proxy misleading doublespeak doublethink Newspeak reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel 1984. The colonizers are so adept and proficient they no longer need military force. (Except the USA when manipulated for their more immediate benefit by the Military branch of the Greedy Industrial Complex.)

Trade agreements, Free Market manipulation of culture and diet are all more efficient and cost effective methods in the New Fascism based on the old paradigm of big business and government collusion, the Military Industrial Complex Ike Eisenhower complained about too late as he was leaving office. Comedian Mort Sahl said, “We fought WWII to stop Fascism. We won, we prevailed… for about 10 years.”

The 99% or fewer (even in the so-called Free World) that are losers in the Globalization Grand Game don’t understand they are exhibiting Stockholm Syndrome, buying and investing in the chains, restraints, constraints and shackles they put on their own bodies. Occupy Wall Street Movement were simply taking superficial actions while continuing as part of the Globalization franchise constituency. Speaking and demonstrating for the 99%, they were themselves 99% immersed voluntarily in the Globalization element. Calling out for Apocalyptic changes but truly only Apocalypstic. Many of them and certainly their parents depend on the banking stock market-controlled global economy scheme.

As a metaphor Jozef Conrad wrote in Lord Jim, “Swim in the element that surrounds you.” The corollary means keep your head above water or you will die. To avoid “drowning” you must swim in one prevailing element or medium but keep your head up, above in another.

Back to bannock, fry bread, scones, tools of colonial cultural aggression, changing course from general abstractions toward specifics…

There is often a dispute about native culture, some feel proprietary and secretive (often because historic suppression by colonizers required distrust and hiding their culture) unwilling to show and tell to others within or outside their own tradition. When I hear that I usually say, the cat was out of the bag long ago, any cats still in the bag you may think you are protecting but more likely will suffocate and die. Use it, flaunt it or lose it! In biological systems there is no static equilibrium, only temporary stability with opposing balanced forces; diversity is strength to adapt to inescapable changes to equilibrium. True for culture and populations as well as species and individuals.

Invasive species, invasive cultures. Invasive species coming in because of changing habitat are inevitable but useful. What good can there be from a single global dominant invasive culture?

Another way to put it, in a one dimensional system the universal and perhaps cosmic principle of Entropy dictates one step forward can only result in multiple steps back, the Entropy of the universe is a negative sum game. But in a multi-dimensional system you can chose which direction or in which compartment to progress/win and which to regress/lose, one step forward can be achieved without loss in that direction when the two steps back occur in another area/compartment which you can determine.

Apologizing for logorrhea, running at the mouth…

A few years ago, Reinhardt was serving up fry bread, a type of bannock, at a fundraising event, when he asked himself, “Would my ancestors even recognize this as food?” His question led him to develop a year-long study called the Decolonizing Diet Project, in which twenty-five participants, including Reinhardt, ate a diet of foods indigenous to the Great Lakes region. For Reinhardt, like Adams, decolonizing means not eating bannock. “People are calling it Indian soul food,” he says. “Fry bread helped us to survive in a period of colonization—why would we celebrate that and internalize that?”

Here is a pdf slideshow with lots of good info and data, though some might see also in their rigor the foolish consistency that is the hobgoblin of little minds, for instance rejecting parsnip but eating squash.

Breaking Bread



Breaking Bread

















How To Receive The Benefits Of Chaga … Without Consuming Chaga

Best advice for consumption: grind it fine then powder it, add to warm water or coffee cooled to body temp, drink it all down.

You say, well woo, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?
I say woo, woo, to relieve your belly ache
You say ya, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?

You put the lime in the coconut, you drink ’em bot’up
Put the lime in the coconut, you drink ’em bot’ up
Put the lime in the coconut, you drink ’em bot’ up
Put the lime in the coconut, you’re such a silly woman

Put a lime in the coconut and drink ’em bot’ together
Put the lime in the coconut, then you’ll feel better
Put the lime in the coconut, drink ’em both down
Put the lime in your coconut, and call me in the morning

Wild Foodism

chagawildfoodismStanding under the protruding, irregularly-shaped black mass, it’s hard to imagine anyone would make a fuss about this fungus.

I mean, look at it.  Certainly there are mushrooms that could seemingly outperform chaga in a beauty contest.  There’s hardly a debate about that.

It’s not a prized edible fungus, either.  Chaga is essentially a hardened mass of mycelia and much too tough to chew (though I have been known to nibble on the interior amadou from time to time).

So why is it that photographs of chaga (or growths that people want to look like chaga) inundate most mushroom identification forums with the accompanying million dollar question, “Is this chaga?”  Why is it that every nutraceutical company seems to market a chaga-containing supplement?

And why is it that chaga is so near and dear to my heart, routinely forming the foundation of my personal medicinal protocol?

Simple, really. …

View original post 2,835 more words

Coconut Oil

Eat fat to become lean…

“One measure for a dog, two for a man?” Iams and other dog food or supplement makers were adocating MCT from coconut and palm oil for their sponsored sled dog teams back in the early 90s. There was a Mayo Clinic diet promoted for weight loss before that, a type of ketogenic diet. David Kronfeld was talking about the benefits of ketone bodies for sled dogs long before too.

To the extent that ketones aka ketone bodies are comparable from exercise, low glycemic diets, fasting and MCT dietary sources, you could say that coconut oil is exercise or fasting without exercising or fasting. Gain without pain. Although many people who have fasted will tell you that fasting is not so hard after the first 24 hours, they feel empowered, invested and committed so that stopping a fast is harder than continuing.

Excerpts from an article in AOCS magazine Inform:

Coconut is the oil du jour, attracting endorsements from athletes and celebrities for its alleged health-promoting effects. The oil, once considered exotic outside of the tropics, is showing up in supermarkets and health food stores everywhere, often advertised as a “functional food.” Yet not long ago, coconut oil was reviled by health experts, lumped in the same unhealthful category as lard and tallow because of its high content of saturated fat. As saturated fat has embarked on the long road to exoneration, many people are starting to appreciate the unique physical and chemical characteristics of coconut oil, not only as a cooking oil, but also as a cosmetic ingredient, an antimicrobial agent, a biofuel, and even a possible medicine for ailments ranging from obesity to Alzheimer’s disease. But does the scientific evidence of coconut oil’s benefits justify the hype?

Based mainly on incomplete epidemiological data, in the 1950s prominent US nutrition researcher Ancel Keys formulated a hypothesis that dietary saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn clogs arteries and causes heart disease. Because coconut oil is about 93% saturated fat, it was viewed as less healthful than edible oils composed of primarily unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil.

Apparently bolstering Keys’ hypothesis, several studies showed that rodents fed coconut oil as the sole dietary fat had higher cholesterol levels and were much less healthy than animals fed corn or soybean oil (e.g., Williams, M. A., et al., J. Nutr., 1972). However, according to Foale, these studies were flawed because coconut oil lacks the essential omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, the animals fed coconut oil were suffering from a dietary deficiency, rather than from negative effects of the oil per se. “In the real world, coconut users of the tropics generally eat fish, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” says Foale. “So the combination has always been a healthy one, and heart disease isn’t an issue among traditional coconut users.” Moreover, in these studies the researchers typically used hydrogenated coconut oil, which could contain trans fats. Trans fats are now recognized to have adverse effects on serum cholesterol levels and human health.

Despite firmly entrenched biases against saturated fat within the medical community, mounting evidence has begun to exonerate saturated fat as a contributing factor to heart disease. Coconut oil has likely benefited from this recent development. Like other saturated fats, coconut oil raises the total serum cholesterol level, which concerns some health experts. However, more than any other type of fat, saturated fats raise the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called “good” cholesterol that has been correlated with a reduced risk of heart disease (Cassiday, L., Inform, 2015). Although saturated fat also raises the serum level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol, the type of LDL particles increased are of the large, buoyant type, which are less strongly associated with cardiovascular disease than small, dense LDL particles.

Because of the opposing effects of HDL and LDL cholesterol, the total serum cholesterol level has proven to be a poor predictor of cardiovascular risk. Instead, the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (total:HDL) is a more reliable estimate, with lower levels correlating with reduced risk. Whereas unsaturated fats lower total:HDL cholesterol, and trans fats raise the ratio, saturated fats typically have no effect, suggesting a neutral influence on heart disease risk.


Although saturated fats are often considered a single nutritional entity, studies have shown that molecular chain length greatly influences a fatty acid’s metabolic and physiologic properties. Coconut oil is unique in its fatty acid composition, containing more than 65% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs)—commonly defined as fatty acids with chains of 6 to 12 carbon atoms (C6–C12) (Fig. 2). In contrast, saturated fats in animal fats and most other vegetable oils are mainly long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), which contain 14 to 18 carbon atoms (C14–C18). Triacylglycerides (TAGs) composed of MCFAs are more water-soluble and readily digestible than TAGs containing LCFAs.

Coconut and palm kernel oils have similar fatty acid profiles, but they have different triacylglyceride (TAG) compositions (Dayrit, F. M.,, 2015). In one study, researchers found that the predominant TAGs in coconut oil are trilaurin (3C12), 1-capro,2,3-dilauryl glyceride (C10-C12-C12), and 1-capro,2-lauryl,3-myristyl glyceride (C10-C12-C14). In contrast, palm kernel oil contains mostly trilaurin (3C12), 1-myristyl,2-stearyl,3-lauryl glyceride (C14-C18-C12), and 1,3-oleyl,2-lauryl glyceride (C18:1-C12-C18:1). Unlike coconut oil, palm kernel oil is not commonly consumed in the diet because of the presence of residual extraction solvents, says Foale.

“Most of the health benefits of coconut oil, whether VCO or RBD coconut oil, have been attributed to the high content of lauric acid,” says Fabian M. Dayrit, professor of chemistry at Ateneo de Manila University, in Quezon City, Philippines. “Additional health benefits of VCO have been attributed to the presence of polyphenols.”

As a result, most ingested MCFAs are transported directly to the liver, where they are converted to energy and other metabolites rather than being stored as fat. Indeed, among fatty acids, lauric acid contributes the least to fat accumulation.

Upon arrival at the liver, MCFAs enter the mitochondria. Unlike LCFAs, MCFAs can freely diffuse across the mitochondrial membrane without requiring carnitine-assisted transport. MCFAs are then rapidly metabolized by one of two pathways (Fig. 5). The major pathway, β-oxidation, yields acetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA either enters the citric acid cycle to produce energy, or is further metabolized to ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, β-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone) that are transported from the liver to other tissues, such as the brain, muscle, and heart. There, enzymes can convert the ketone bodies to acetyl CoA for use as an energy source. The second pathway, ω-oxidation, accounts for only 10–20% of total liver fatty acid oxidation under normal conditions. This pathway produces 11- and 12-hydroxyl fatty acids, which can be further oxidized to dicarboxylic acids The ω-oxidation pathway may help remove excess fatty acids from the mitochondrial respiratory chain (Dayrit, F. M., Philipp. J. Sci., 2014).

Because of their rapid metabolism in the liver, MCFAs do not contribute to fat accumulation or obesity nearly as much as other dietary fatty acids.

Foale notes that many health-conscious people are now incorporating coconut oil into their diets, whether as a cooking oil or as an addition to their morning cereal, smoothies, or desserts. “People who are a bit skeptical about the advice that ‘this is a saturated fat and it’s bad for you’ are prepared to try it,” says Foale. “And then they discover that they feel better with it: Their general well-being is improved, and they feel more energetic.” Many athletes find that coconut oil sustains their energy during exhaustive competitions, Foale says, possibly due to the ketone bodies formed from MCFAs. Ketone bodies can serve as an alternative energy source in muscles during strenuous exercise, when glucose reserves may be lagging.

Although experimental evidence is lacking, some researchers have theorized that the ketone bodies generated from MCFAs in coconut oil could help treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have already established that a ketogenic diet—a high-fat, low-carbohydrate, adequate-protein eating plan—can drastically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children who are resistant to drug therapies (Watkins, C.,Inform, 2016). The lack of carbohydrates in the ketogenic diet forces the liver to convert fat into ketone bodies, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and be used as a source of energy by the brain. However, the mechanism by which ketone bodies can help prevent epileptic seizures in some patients is still unknown.

In Alzheimer’s disease, certain parts of the brain have an impaired ability to use glucose, partially due to disruption of insulin signaling. Thus, ketone bodies may help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s by providing an alternative energy source for the brain. Researchers have also proposed that polyphenols and plant hormones called cytokinins in VCO may prevent aggregation of amyloid-β, the peptide that forms plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols also scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative stress, a condition that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

“I confess to some frustration that a food oil that has supported traditional healthy diets for millennia must now be proven to support good health because it was maligned and ousted from acceptance in the diet policies of the U.S. and Australia, in particular,” says Foale.

Sled Building Materials Spreadsheet

“An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don’t know by now…”

DENSITY p 0.60 2.7 4.5 4.5 8 2 1.6
YIELD STRESS S 8.00 80 105 160 350 120 230
MODULUS E 1.80 10 15.5 16.5 30 6 19
STRAIN at YIELD e % 0.44 0.80 0.68 0.97 1.17 2.00 1.21
WORK to YIELD W 17.78 320.00 355.65 775.76 2041.67 1200.00 1392.11
WORK to YIELD/p 29.63 118.52 79.03 172.39 255.21 600.00 870.07

The data in the spreadsheet fields apply directly to rods or bars in compression or tension from loading in the length; axial loads. With some simplifications it is possible to interpret for comparisons of bending properties of skis and runners.

If all other factors were equal this spreadsheet suggests that the material properties of the two fiber reinforced plastics FRPs in the last two columns (with far higher work to yield per unit weight) would easily make the strongest lightest sled runners or skis. For I beams or laminated/stressed skin with light cores,  the most strength and weight is in the skin or flanges with proportionally little weight wasted in the core or web.

For similar profile beams in bending, stiffness will increase with increasing Modulus and depth/thickness and width of the beam.

Strength of beams usually corresponds to the load on a beam spanning a given distance and the bending “moment” of the beam at failure. These are values calculated under static conditions. A ski or runners are not subject to the same kind of static loads. The load increases and decreases over time as the runner comes up and over a bump. A more flexible runner will “shed” part of the load by bending.

For these reasons the Work to Yield field and the corresponding Work to Yield divided by density give more useful comparisons of different materials.

Unfortunately attaching other components to FRPs can be a problem, forming a curve in the front of the runner also a problem, and making runners or skis with light weight cores from these materials by hand lay-up methods can increase the cost to be prohibitive. Another factor is the cost/benefit for weight saving at different baseline weights. If a pair of aluminum runners can be made weighing 3 kg/7 lbs at reasonable cost is it worth the extra cost in $ to make them lighter to save a given amount of weight considering also other downstream costs and difficulties to use FRP? Cost and fabricating could also disqualify the Titanium materials.