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Phosphatidylcholine and Vision: Will The Real PC Please Stand Up?

A disquieting commentary about a globally progressive mentality is that even the most highly educated among us can be misled into believing a falsehood, a misrepresentation often based on linguistic nuance. It’s all in the spin enunciated by those with a systematic plan to pull the undereducated into their fold. The point in this case is the semantic concerning phosphatidylcholine (PC), the phospholipid purposely and ignorantly confused with lecithin, a material that contains PC as its main constituent, but itself is not PC.

Ultraviolet Light: The Good, The Bad, And The Sun

If a little bit is good, more must be better. A bit of dark chocolate is good for the ticker, so the whole bar must be better. Try that and you’ll need another hole in your belt. A modicum of vitamin A is good for night blindness, so a few more capsules might eliminate my need for spectacles. Maybe so, but your skin’ll turn yellow as your liver rides into the sunset. With lots of things, a little bit is good. Period. That includes sunshine.

Photosensitivity and Supplements

Ah, the red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch. Many of us have had the pleasure…or, rather, the pain. In our youth we were not told of what was to come from repeated aspirations to the beauty of the bronze. And, if we were told, we didn’t listen. If you’re a fair-haired beauty, you’re more likely to burn than your darker peers. Skin types range from very light to very dark, but you already knew that. What you may not know is that the sun’s rays penetrate all skin types and wreak havoc on your DNA. Yes, dark brown and black skin tans and burns, though burning is not so common. Ultra-violet damage can lead to serious problems, not only with your skin, but also with your eyes.

Colon and Butyrate: The Colon Beyond Punctuation

Quite a lot of people do not like to share their space. It’s understandable that some are uncomfortable when a conversation, as with a stranger, is carried on nose to nose. In Arab countries, it is offensive to step or lean away during such an encounter. There is, however, an instance where closeness cannot be avoided—with the microbiome that occupies not only our space, but also us. The human body holds ten times more microbes than human cells, some on the outside, and others on the inside. The skin, the largest organ of the body, houses a range of microbes that live in distinct communities yet work together to protect us from attack by sickness and disease (Grice, 2009). But our attention here is to those on the inside, the microbiota that weigh up to three pounds and contain tens of trillions of members. There might even be more than a thousand different species, about a third of which are common to most of us. The other two-thirds belong only to you.

Phosphatidylcholine And Memory: Aw, Forget It. Oh, You Already Did.

In his 1932 inaugural address, FDR told the world that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. If you ask people today what they fear, the list will likely include more specific things, like public speaking, ostracism, blindness, death, poverty, failure, memory loss, disease and a host of other states, conditions or activities. Some fears can be overcome with counseling, such as acrophobia; some can be prevented by being active instead of passive, such as poverty and failure; and some might require nutritional or medical intervention, such as certain diseases. Getting and using education, which doesn’t necessarily entail sitting in a classroom, might possibly attend to these needs. A modern-day fear is that of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), one that people associate with memory dysfunction, disorientation, and eventual loss of function. It’s a matter of not knowing that you don’t know. And it’s frightening.

Diabetes and CVD: Sometimes You Don’t Want A Sweet Heart

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears. Nick Boynton, Blackhawks. Kelli Keuhne, LPGA. Sean Busby, snowboard. Scott Verplank, PGA. Jay Leeuwenburg, NFL. Bobby Clarke, Flyers. Cory Vaughn, Mets (who plays with an insulin pump in his pocket). What do these athletes have in common? Diabetes. You know, that group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas can’t make enough insulin, or because cells don’t respond to the insulin that is produced. Frequent urination, increased thirst and a voracious appetite are symptoms.

Liquid Minerals

Getting right to the bottom line, if the soil in which our food grows is not in balance, neither will be the food. Modern agriculture is in such disarray that plants don’t stay in the ground long enough to completely develop their nutrient potential because they have to be shipped across the country without spoiling. After all, they have to look pretty to attract attention. To make them grow faster so they can be harvested sooner to increase income, chemical fertilizers and biocides are employed. After picking, plants are held in storage until enough of them are available to fill a freight car. Time and storage conditions affect nutrient content. Careless kitchen practices don’t help. Crop rotation is an expensive practice that requires manpower, time and expense. Why would a farm that earns big bucks raising broccoli switch to tomatoes the following year? Soils today are mineral depleted. Doctor Jones might tell you that multi-vitamins and minerals are unnecessary, and that you can get all the nutrition you need from your diet. That puts him out of touch with the facts.

Diabetes: An Integrative Approach

Diabetes has been around for ages. It used to be called “sugar diabetes,” but modern times have changed that to “diabetes mellitus.” The “diabetes” part dates to ancient Greece, and indicates “one who straddles” or goes to the bathroom a lot. The “mellitus” part is kind of new—only about four hundred years old—and means “tastes like honey,” to indicate that the person’s urine tastes sweet. Tasting was the first lab test. In case you are wondering, healthy urine is generally non-toxic and is sterile until it hits the urethra, which is the tube running from the bladder to the outside, where it picks up some epithelial cells that might carry bacteria. Being a filtration product, urine does contain some junk eliminated from the body. We always thought that clear urine is a sign of ample hydration. Caffeine and alcohol can fool you.

Probiotics and Blood Pressure

Maybe what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, but what happens in your gut doesn’t stay in your gut, the place we think of as the processing plant that makes nutrients available for use by the body and wastes available for disposal. That part’s correct, but recent interest in the machinations of the system has researchers looking at its relationship to the brain. That means that some of what happens in the gut goes to your head and bypasses the enteric nervous system (ENS), that part of the body called the second brain. Working autonomously, the enteric nervous system is able to coordinate reflexes while controlling the gastrointestinal activity upon which humans rely. Although it communicates with the brain by way of the vagus nerve, the ENS can work independently through a series of neurons that control peristalsis (churning of intestinal contents) and monitor mechanical, chemical and electrical conditions within the system, such as those involved in enzyme secretion and neurotransmitter manufacture. The neurotransmitters of the gut are the same as those in the central nervous system (CNS): acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin. In fact, more than ninety percent of the body’s serotonin lies in the gut, where it modulates cells of the immune system (Sepiashvili, 2013) (Mawe, 2013). That’s uncommon knowledge, for sure.

Gut Bacteria And The Brain

They’re called flora. Their name comes from the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility, and refers to the plant life occurring in a particular region. The region in this case is the intestine, and the florae that occupy it are micro-organisms that total almost a hundred trillion, a number considerably larger than the number of cells in the human body. So phenomenal are the metabolic activities of these bacteria that they are considered an organ (O’Hara, 2006). Gut bacteria are so influential that they affect more than just a few bodily functions, from immunity to weight control to behavior and concentration (Bravo, 2011). And without them we couldn’t make biotin, vitamin K, or the short-chain fatty acids that energize intestinal cells. An absence of intestinal bacteria is associated with reduction in mucus cell turnover, muscle wall thickness, cytokine production (regulatory proteins), and of course, digestion. The micro-organism population begins in the mouth, where about two hundred different kinds live. They bypass the almost-sterile stomach and then increase on their way to the colon, where several hundred species thrive (Canny, 2008). For all that we know about the body, this area is not completely understood.

Seeing Eye To Eye?

The world of conflicting information is still doing well, thanks. In the 1950’s, doctors who smoked, smoked Camels. In the 1990’s, lots of those doctors had left the planet, or at least were in it. A few decades back, headlines announced that black pepper caused cancer. Then, miraculously, it didn’t. Conflicting stories about scientific findings abound, even today, and have been the subject of study in an effort to determine the public’s reaction to information that may be harmful or helpful, depending on context (Jensen, 2012). The association of statin drugs and cataracts is a hot topic of recent vintage. The bottom line is evasive because of…conflicting information. It takes only one contrary comment to upset the apple cart of certainty—just one.

The first FDA-approved HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, or statin, was lovastatin, introduced in 1987. It was, however, found to cause cataracts in beagles if given at high doses, a term that defies definition.  Naturally produced by red yeast rice, certain Aspergillus fungi, and higher fungi such as oyster mushrooms, lovastatin, better known as Mevacor, removes a required building block for cholesterol biosynthesis. Because cholesterol has never been convicted of causing a heart attack (although often accused), there is much wonder these days why statins were ever invented in the first place, since the list of caveats is extensive. But that’s common to most pharmaceuticals, even over-the-counter.

The Eyes Ought Not Have It

We humans anticipate that certain things will happen at specific times of the year. Flowers are supposed to bloom in spring and summer; snow is supposed to fall in winter. Unfortunately, certain physical conditions follow a similar timeline. We might get athlete’s foot in the summer from walking unshod on the lawn, and might catch a cold in winter, usually from being cooped up in a stuffy building surrounded by contagious people. There’s no theory for the foot fungus, but the absence, or at least the dearth, of endogenous vitamin D and its salutary relationship to colds and flu can be blamed on the lack of enough sunshine to make it. Vitamin D, that is. It isn’t that the sun fails to show up for work every day; it’s that its angle is too shallow to hit the skin just right. Then there are those things that attack us by surprise, like pink eye, a.k.a.conjunctivitis. Just because you hear about it in kids doesn’t mean adults are immune.

Does Being Healthy Mean You Have To Be Miserable?

Yes. But like anything else that’s good for you, you’ll get over it. Then, you won’t be miserable any more. And you’ll be healthy and live long enough to pay your grandkids’ college bills. But, do you really have to avoid the cookie tray and get a yearly physical?  This is an important question. However, a mere “yes” or “no” does not suffice an answer.

This is the time of year for the most decadent foods, especially the sweets. We can’t convey the difficulty with which we write about avoiding the cookie tray. If ever we deemed a gift to come directly from heaven, the cookie tray is it. Black, white, green or red; sparkles, sprinkles, powdered or granulated, we love ‘em all. Artificial this and imitation that belong in the gar-bazh'. Butter is preferred and real sugar is divine, the former actually a health food and the latter not so much. Maybe by some stroke of divine intervention the two can cancel each other out and render a neutral in the gustatory debauchery to which we incline ourselves.

When Does Old Age Begin?

The boundary between seniors and old people has shifted over the years. Some people are deemed old because they are grandparents—even at forty-five. Others become old when they retire, regardless of age or circumstance. Despite getting a seniors’ discount at age 50, or 60 or 65, some folks don’t fit the definition because of their mindset, Social Security or not. Now that Social Security eligibility in the United States is headed toward 70 and a whole lot of folks are still working, old age might never be attainable. The physical and mental changes can sneak up on us, though. Wrinkles and liver spots, gray hair (if you have hair), reduced lung capacity and voice changes wrought by loss of elasticity are signs of ageing. But the mental changes, namely forgetfulness and full-blown dementia, are the more frightening. Depressed mood is common.

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