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Science Behind Ketone Supplements

Part Two: For those like me who enjoy the science

After discussing the application and benefits of exogenous ketones in my last post, I want to dive into some science behind them and highlight the differences between various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

What Are Ketones?

Natural, Clean Energy

Ketones are our fourth fuel substrate, they are clean-burning as they reduce the production of potentially harmful Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside cells. Plus they also clean up ROS produced from other metabolic processes.

Ketones have been shown to be preferable fuel for the brain over glucose as they aid in brain development. When ketones are present they preserve glucose for pentose phosphate pathway which results in ribose for DNA syntheses and NADPH for lipid biosynthesis

Before we touch on ketone supplements you must first understand the mechanism that defines the state of ketosis. Simply put, when your body is in a state of ketosis, ketone bodies are present in a higher concentration than normal (0.5+ mmol/L). I have discussed this further in the previous post

Three Ketone Bodies:

  • Acetate (Acetone): Is the least abundant, produced in much smaller amounts, and is usually exhaled through the lungs rather than being used as fuel.
  • Acetoacetate (AcAc): Is part of the metabolic pathway whereby humans make and use ketones, but it tends to be found in the blood at lower levels than BHB.
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) Is the most prevalent of the ketones. Due to far higher concentrations and existing outside the cell, compared to Acetone and Acetoacetate it is widely used to measure ketone levels.

Two Forms of BHB:                                                                

  • D-β-hydroxybutyrate: The right-handed version. 

“D” comes from the Latin dexter.

  • L-β-hydroxybutyrate: The left-handed version, lab-made ketones.                    

“L” comes from the Latin laevus.

D-BHB vs. L-BHB: Which is better?

There is currently a lot of controversy around which form is safest and best to use as a supplement form. One side argues the D-BHB is superior in enhancing mitochondrial function, whereas other evidence suggests a mixture of D & L is handled better and more beneficial for neurological diseases and cancer. L-BHB is thought to be a signaling molecule to reduce inflammation and has been shown to also convert a portion to D-BHB. Additionally, the production of D-β-hydroxybutyrate (right-handed) is a more expensive supplement to produce.

When measuring it may appear that D-BHB promotes higher blood ketone levels. However, that is because most commercial ketone measuring devices only measure D-BHB, not L-BHB.

To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a comprehensive study to truly determine if D-βHB is more beneficial than DL regarding general use applications, or value to the consumer from a financial perspective.

History of Ketones

Ketones are nothing new, it is just our understanding that has changed. beginning, in 1865 scientist discovered a molecule called acetoacetate in the urine of diabetic patients. Acetoacetate is a ketone or also known as a ketone body. Through discovering acetoacetate ultimately led them to identify BHB.

In identifying them, they began seeing BHB in high concentrations in uncontrolled diabetics (Ketoacidosis), thus leading scientist to label ketones as bad. However, as our understanding has grown this was shown to be short-sighted and to predominantly be a factor for uncontrolled diabetics patients.

Ketoacidosis is Not Ketosis

I know it sounds similar but they are the same.

Ketoacidosis or Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) is a complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Associated with a dangerously high combination of ketones (much higher than ketosis) and blood sugars which makes your blood too acidic. As limited insulin is available for the cells to adequately uptake the sugar (glucose) in the blood to use for energy. Ultimately this can alter the normal functioning of internal organs like your liver and kidneys. It is a critical condition that requires prompt treatment as it is a life-threatening condition and often occurs quickly within as little as 24hrs.

DKA Ketone levels can increase up to 20-25 mM, which decreases blood pH, whereas a state of ketosis is determined as 0.5-3mM. With an upper threshold of 7-8 mM (e.g. during very-low-calorie Keto Diet and use of exogenous ketone supplements).

DKA is a predominantly a factor for type 1 diabetes but individuals with type 2 diabetes who have little or no insulin production, need to be careful as it can occur if not controlled.

Ketone Supplements:

  • Ketone salts: This is the form found in most ketone supplements available on the market. Ketone salts are a compound consisting of a mineral ion, such as sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and BHB. Ketone salts are high in electrolytes; so they can aid replenishing electrolytes lost in urine while on the ketogenic diet.
  • Ketone esters: Ketone esters are primarily used in research and are not currently available to consumers. This form consists of pure beta-hydroxybutyrate or Acetoacetate without other additives.
  • MCT Oils: Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) doesn’t contain BHB but has been shown to moderately raise BHB levels. MCT’s require a greater amount of processing than other exogenous ketones thus taking longer to get into ketosis. Along with this, MCT’s are a more calorie dense which could be counterproductive for those needing to watch their caloric intake.

What Ketone Supplements do I use?

I personally utilise a mix of MCT Oils and Ketone Salts. I have used them for close to two years now and couldn’t imagine life without them especially the Pruvit (ketone salts).

My goal is performance and un-tapping my potential, I can’t settle for suboptimal, I want to always be performing at my best. Therefore, I use these supplements in many varying capacities from training and racing (triathlon), speeding up my recovery, to increase my mental capacity and clarity (ps. I am functioning on ketones as I write the majority of my blog posts 😉 ). Aside from performance end I also utilise Pruvit for longevity and to keep hunger at bay and extend my fasts so perfect for travel or when on the go with no good food insight or time, this gets me through these dangerous moments and keeps me functioning at a high level without hunger pains or cravings.

MCT Oils (Bulletproof or Melrose): I use this mostly when I need a little bit of mental and energy boost, but mostly to keep my hunger at bay. Plus sometimes to blunt the effects of those carbohydrate treats for me this normally means MCT Oil on my fruit salad. 

Ketone Salts (Pruvit): MCT is great but nothing compares with Ketone Salts, this would have to the biggest performance enhancing supplement I have ever taken, it is my rocket fuel!

Mixing Things Up:

I have traditionally taken each supplement separately until recently when I came across research stating the benefits associated with a combination of both Ketone salts (BHB) and MCT’s. This combo has been shown to further elevate the BHB response in the blood. Plus as it has a delayed gastric absorption it extends and sustains a higher elevation of blood ketone level over a longer period. The combination is looking extremely promising as it appears to be better than either ketone salts or MCT’s alone. Even better, it has been reported that it may remove the adverse gastrointestinal emptying effects of MCT oil that is often associate when MCT is taken on its own. However, further research is required to identify ratios and best application

Recently I have been playing around with my own ratios and I have introduced MCT oils into my staple long ride fuel of ketone salts and so far it has been great but I will keep you all posted with how I get on.

Why Pruvit?

Pruvit or Keto OS, which stands for “Ketone Operating System,” They were the first to patent to ketone technology, meaning they are most widely researched and used. Pruvit, is now one of the quickest growth nutrition based companies and has posted 400% year-to-year growth since its inception and is showing no signs of slowing down as it has recently moved into Canada, Asia, and Australia.

 

“I Need to Try Ketones for Myself!”

Flick us at Taylored a message and we can get you set you up with a trial.

[email protected]

Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Keytone Supplments: What is the Fuss about?

Ketone supplements or more technically known as ‘Exogenous Ketones’

Why All the Fuss?

The product has been shown to put you in ketosis in 30mins!

A profound statement when you compare to the time it takes to achieve nutritional ketosis through diet alone which normally takes around 2-3 days and potentially as long as 7 days! It is no wonder people are flocking to exogenous ketones. Plus with all the success stories it does not seem to be disappointing.

What is this magical state ‘Ketosis’?

When in a ketogenic state you produce ketones which simply put is your 4th fuel substrate so fat, protein, carbohydrate, and ketones. This state can be achieved by either restricting carbohydrate or by taking an external supplement such as exogenous ketones, that puts you into to this state and promotes production and use of ketones.

What does Ketosis Achieve?

  1. Weight loss
  2. Increased Energy & Mood
  3. Increased mental clarity & Focus
  4. Increased Performance (Mental & Physical)
  5. Better Sleep
  6. Faster Recovery
  7. Longevity

There are two types of ketones:

  • Endogenous ketones: Endogenous = ‘Endo’ = within. ‘Genous’ = origin.”                                                
  • These are ketones made naturally by the body through the process of ketogenesis.
  • Exogenous ketones:Exogenous = ‘Exo’ = external. ‘Genous’ = origin.”
  • These are ketones supplied to the body by an external source like a nutritional supplement

Application:

No doubt this sounds great but what are people using it for?

  1. Adaptation Phase: Keto Induction

Exogenous ketones are especially helpful for some getting started on a keto or high fat low carbohydrate (HFLC) diet because as you remove carbohydrate from your diet you will face two major challenges ‘Keto flu” and hungry/carbs cravings

  • Keto Flu: Adaptation to a ketogenic diet (keto-induction) can be associated with some unpleasant symptoms, this has been coined as “Keto Flu”. The symptoms associated have been shown to subside after 3-5 days and people report better energy and mental clarity afterward. However,

Exogenous ketones have been shown to be a viable aid in this induction period and avoiding keto flu.

How?

Keto Flu stems from a lack of sodium.  As you deplete your stored carbohydrate (glycogen), you lose 3-4 grams of water for every gram of glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Explaining the initial weight loss associated with ditching carbohydrates. Therefore, in this induction period, it is important to increase sodium (salt) intake to compensate for the loss of water and sodium to aid in retaining water loss. No need to stress, salt intake is not unhealthy like we have been fooled to believe. This is one way that exogenous ketones can help have they are packed full of salt it can aid in minimising this depletion and unpleasant effects associated.

  • Hungry/Carbohydrate Cravings:

The shift from carbohydrate can be difficult as you cut sugar (carbohydrate) it has been shown to reflect a similar addiction response to cocaine. Overcoming any addiction is not easy! The great thing is exogenous ketones can help with this as the increased satiety and remove cravings and instead of being bound to the pantry, hungry at all times, you end up finding that you will need to remind yourself to eat. This liberation from the need of continual refueling was one the most profound effect I personally saw.

 

  1. Weight Loss:

  • Calorie Restriction:

Yes, calories are important and no a calorie is not a calorie.

I personally recommended the approach ‘quality over quantity’, first as it is a more nutrient-dense plus for the purpose it will normally self-correct as you are more satisfied from good quality foods and will naturally limit calorie intake. However, to accomplish  weight loss goals you need to attain a healthy negative calorie balance and being in ketosis is one of the greatest methods in achieving this as mentioned above it curbs your hunger and cravings, liberating you from your need to snack and regularly refuel, resulting in you naturally extending periods between food and eating less at meal times and as a result you reduce your caloric intake which results in weight loss!

  • Lifestyle Buffer: When life gets the best of you, exogenous ketones are also great for keeping yourself on track. They are great for those who struggle with maintaining a strict ketogenic diet and find themselves slipping up, exogenous ketones will aid in buffering the effect of a slip-up, keeping you on track towards your goals.

Application: Take around and during the meal, to buffer response

 

  1. High Performers:

Perfect for any high flyers, always on the move that is either:

  • Time poor
  • Always on the road
  • Up in the air
  • In back to back meetings

Time poor and always traveling with back to back meetings doesn’t leave you much time to eat well, making it extremely hard to come across healthy options.

Dealing with a lot of high flyers, this is a never-ending question that I get asked as they gradually see a decline in their health as they continue down the vicious track. What if I was to tell you the solution is a small sachet that can increase mental clarity, focus, energy, mood while keeping you full till you have time to eat a nutritious meal. Obviously, we want to do our best to eat well but this aid will get you through the tough times, especially the tempting junk food found in conferences! With no insulin spikes and crash, so you won’t crave the slices and sausage rolls.

Especially helpful for those who fly a lot, it is well known how bad airplane food is. It not only tastes bad but because we lose taste buds in the air, they pack it full with sugar and sweeteners to make it palatable….. Instead, I say no to food and come prepared with a sachet of exogenous ketones to sip on and if long hall brings along my own healthy snack like macadamias. Ketones will also help with minimising effects of jet lag as another added bonus.

  • Productivity: Due to the increase in cognitive function and mental clarity, exogenous ketones are my biggest performance hack. Whenever I am under the pump or need to be productive you can guaranty I am sipping on some exogenous ketones.   

 

  1. Sporting Performance:

Performance cannot be forgotten exogenous ketones are like rocket fuel and amazing for all athletes from high intensity to endurance athletes.

The effects on athletes are phenomenal. Using them myself personally in training and racing across a variety of distances from sprint to Ironman Triathlon for the last year and a bit, I can personally attest to this. It is important to understand there is multiple applications to optimise sporting performance.  

  • Fat adapted (Metabolic Flexibility):

The ability to optimise your fuel substrate utilisation and tap into fat for fuel which has an endless supply of energy.  have to be one of the most powerful tools in training fat adaption as within 30mins they put you in a ketogenic state but also they help at keeping the hunger at bay allowing you to extend the fast. They are a great tool to use in the none key steady fasted sessions.

Can you spot my Keto OS Swiss Cacao

Training fasted? Fasted sessions are all about training your bodies ability to tap into your endless supply of fat stores instead of relying on external fueling of carbohydrate like a traditional athlete. You may think I’m crazy but I will often do a lot of my ironman training fasted, a couple hours on the bike followed by a run and then refuel afterward which could be a total of 18hr fast. However, important to remember this is a trained skill and fat adaptation takes approximately 3 months or so to train. I am never hungry or craving food and you shouldn’t be! If you are, eat! You should never suffer if so, you are playing with fire and will burn out due to excessive stress. Additionally, important to understand not all sessions should fasted, fast on steady-state training rather than high-intensity key sessions or longer sessions.

Application: Sip on full sachet across the session.

  • Recovery: The anti-inflammatory benefits of bringing in ketosis is not only beneficial for chronic health conditions but also your recovery from training and racing. Keeping blood sugar levels balanced you no longer get insulin spikes that are associated with an inflammatory response. I see the recovery component being one of the greatest underestimated benefits of exogenous ketones.

Recovery = Adaptation = Results

Drinking Keto OS while in my Recovery Boots in the middle of a big training weekend

Too many athletes neglect the recovery component, and in its place double down on training, putting themselves further in the hole and not allowing the body the time to adapt to training response. What if you could speed this process up and get back training sooner. Exogenous ketones will absolutely aid in a quicker recovery and are something I believe all high training load athletes need to consider. Maybe less important for sports which training frequency is low and have to recover but in sports like triathlon and especially sports like Ironman where you training 15-30hrs per week, most of the time on top of your full-time job, you really need to double down on recovery strategies as you are placing a significant amount of external stressors on your system. This needs to be balanced out!

Sleep is the most powerful component for recovery and exogenous ketones have shown to be effective in improving your sleep and I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of a good night’s sleep we all know the power that poses (For more information on the importance of sleep).

Application: Sip on half sachet before to get the benefits of alternate fuel source while training and racing and sip on the other half post session to promote recovery.

Or

Sip on full sachet post session across the remainder of the day to double down on recovery.

  • Endurance:

Want to go harder and for longer exogenous ketones are the answer! No longer in training do you need to rely on gels and blocks the wreak havoc with your Gastrointestinal (GI) system. Instead, you can fuel your training sessions on exogenous ketones. On most long rides I use ketones for fuel.

Fat Adaptation: Caveat

Although I have been discussing training low void of carbohydrate as much as possible when we race of looking to optimise performance it is a different story! We want to be metabolically flexible and race with the high amounts carbohydrate that our bodies can handle comfortably (Train Low Race High).

Why?

We want to optimise substrate utilisation, once fat adapted we can then utilise carbohydrate on race day/ race prep session (Test before the race!) to buffer our energy stores and give us the high octane fuel for those surges and sprints.

  1. Chronic Disease:

Chronic Health Conditions that might Benefit from Keto:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancer (glycolytic driven cancers)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy
  • Metabolic Syndromes
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)  
  • Migraine headaches
  • Gastrointestinal conditions eg. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin conditions eg. acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis

 

A relatively new area of application and with lives at risk it is an area that obviously requires a lot of research to ensure validity. Not mainstream treatment by any means. However, many people are now well aware of the effects of ketosis on certain conditioning, especially as it has been used as a clinical treatment for epilepsy since 1920. People, as a result, have begun self-supplementing with exogenous ketones to help aid their treatments.

Other Applications

These applications discussed above are only the beginning and as the growing body of literature grows, I believe so to will the number of varying application. I take many performance-enhancing supplements but nothing has compared to Exogenous Keytones so I am excited to watch this field grow.

 

“I Need to Try Exogenous Ketones for Myself!”

Flick us at Taylored a message and we can get you set you up with a trial.

[email protected]

Subject: Ketone Trial

 

Next Post:

Following on from this post I will take it a step further into the science behind Exogenous Keytones and highlight the differences between the various types to arm you with the knowledge to make the right decision.

The Most Restorative Sleep you will EVER have

Now it is time to bring sleep month all together. Over the last month we have discussed various factors and their effects on sleep. The final step now is to provide you with a resource full of tips, tricks and hacks to ensure you sleep like a baby again.

Design your Sleep Sanctuary

A bedroom should be a place to escape, unwind and sleep. It should not be your main ‘hangout’ place where you watch movies or get hooked on the latest netflix series. Even more importantly, your bedroom should not be another place where you do work.

The bedroom really is designed for two activities and should remain this way! The increase in leisure and work activities you do within your bedroom will promote a negative association with you, your bedroom and sleep. This combination will increase the likelihood of you having a poor night’s sleep. However, if you draw a line in the sand and keep the work, movies, social media at the door, you are setting yourself up for success and unbelievably good sleep.

My goal with this article is to outline the ultimate sleep sanctuary that everybody should strive for. The idea is to provide you with the tools and tricks to create your own sleep sanctuary at a low cost or higher cost if you really want to get serious. But these small changes and additions could be the most impactful investments you ever make to your sleep.

Creating the Perfect Sleep Sanctuary

The sleep sanctuary aka the bedroom, really the most important room in the house to get right. As mentioned above, you need to set yourself up for success. If it is not sleep or sex (sex has many positive sleep benefits) leave it out of the bedroom!

Below what you will find is a list of key things to include to promote a good night’s sleep.

 

Ditch Technology:

“BUT my phone is my alarm in the morning”

Simple buy an old school alarm clock (one that doesn’t emit light). There is no need for you to be surrounded by technology 24 hours a day. Try to make your bedroom a Tech-Free Zone! As discussed in an earlier post the EMF from your phone is causing more harm than good and is something you don’t want to deal with. Beside the EMF’s your body will have to deal with the bluelight from the phone screen.  This can be mediated with an app on the phone, such as FLux, which will extract bluelight from your devices (both laptop and phone). On top of this if you are really serious, like me, I would suggest changing your light to low blue light bulbs and investing in some blue blocking glasses to really full proof your exposure to blue light exposure at night.

 

Black it Out: Every sleep environment should be blacked out, there should be no light seeping through the window or the curtain. Obviously this is even more important if you are living in a city environment. There is some research that has shown that our skin is so sensitive to light that even if we wear an eye mask and shine a light the size of a pin prick on the back of the knee, it will disrupt/disturb our sleep.Therefore, any light seeping through the curtain or even a small flashing light from any form of technology (e.g. like a charging light or alarm clock) is going to greatly impact your sleep.

Target: Ideally you want to be able to extend your arm out in front of you and it should be dark enough that you should not see your hand.

 

Airflow: Crack the window!

First, check that your room is mold free and regularly stay on top of this! Nothing more important than this!

Stale air is the last thing you want in a bedroom, you want free flowing air. This free flowing air will promote the concentration of negative ions within your bedroom especially if you live close to nature. However, if this is not possible or ideal due to temperature or pollution from living within a city you want to look at investing in an ioniser. This will work to produce negative ions within your sleep environment and will help get you bouncing out of bed in the morning.

 

Essential oils

Essential oils are a great way to really create that sleep sanctuary with some sleep aiding scents. Aromatherapy has been used for years and is well recognised for its sleep aiding benefits. There are a wide variety of different oils associated with promoting sleep.

Sleep Aiding Oils: Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Clary sage, Jasmine

Don’t have a diffuser, no worries mix essential oils with a carrier oil (eg coconut oil) to topically apply to skin. Don’t apply directly as concentration is to high for skin and as for anything there can be too much of a good thing.

 

Plants

Plant are natural air purifiers and a great addition to any sleep sanctuary not only will they keep the air fresh they will also aid in decorating and livening up your room.

Examples Include: Aloe vera, English Ivy, & Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue). All of which are very low maintenance.

 

 

 

Mattress & Pillow

When talking about a sleep sanctuary the Mattress & Pillow combination cannot be skipped over. These two elements are  key component as discussed in previous post. In my opinion you can not go past the ECOSA mattress and pillow as it caters to all sleep positions and body types.

 

 

 

Sleep Aiding Gadgets and Strategies

If you really want to improve your sleep, then this next section is for you! I will provide some powerful sleep tracking and hacking tools, that will take your sleep to the next level.

 

Sleep and Performance Tracking:

Are you rested and recovered? What is quantifiable is measurable.

HRV has been shown to be one of the most powerful measures in identify and tracking excessive stress. It could be used to track mental stress or training stress such as overtraining etc. It measures this by calculating the time variation between heart beats.

Majority of tracking tools now utilise HRV and the tracking tool you choose to use is up to you and your budget. Like anything in this domain the more you spend the more you get. But you also don’t have to spend a fortune to get HRV tracking benefits.

HRV4 Training is a perfect option for the price sensitive person as all you need is the app (small cost: $15.99) and a newish mobile phone that has the capability to track through camera lense (most phones these days). This app is great as it combines with with subjective measures to get a well rounded picture. The app offers a pro-version with even more capabilities (less than: $50/Year). In my opinion whether go go on pro-version or not HRV is an essential measure for any high performing athlete or worker.

If you want to get serious, the Oura Ring in my opinion is the best personal sleep tracking device on the market! This company has managed to compress everything in to a ring! No, not a watch but a ring! The light sensor of the ring capture 250 samples per second for a constant flow of reliable data. The ring detects the pulse waveform and amplitude variation, and exact time between heartbeats. It is also equipped with a precise 3D accelerometer and gyroscope to track activity and it’s intensity. Finally, it also records body temperature and tracks it to the minute. These combined measurements provide a high power measure for tracking your current health status. It has phenomenal capabilities for such a small device and the new model coming out next month is now even smaller and more powerful. If you are passionate about sleep this is a device you need to check out! Also they have offered a discount of $50 US at check out with code “Taylored”

 

Body Temperature Regulation:

If the breathability of your new ECOSA mattress is not regulating your temperature enough and you run hot temperature like me, you can take it a step further and get yourself a Chili Pad. This will offer you the ability to set the temperature of your bed for optimal sleep quality. It even gives you the ability to individualise the temperatures to each partner’s needs. This has been referenced by many Kelly Starrett & Tim Ferriss as one of the most powerful sleep hacks you can implement.

 

 

My favorite Downregulation Sleep Aid:

When wired and tired with plenty on the mind and you can not seem to downregulate, that is when I use the Headspace Mindfulness App. This app not only aids in meditation practice and mindfulness but offers a great selection of sleep aiding sessions include my favorite 10 min sleep session that knocks me out everytime.

 

Noisy environment:

For those trying to get to sleep in noisy environments. Get yourself an app or device that plays White Noise or Water Noise both of which have been clinically shown to help you get to sleep.

 

Grounding:

Grounding or Earthing is the connection to the Earth’s natural negatively charged energy. Known to increase mood, decrease inflammation & stress, it is simple and powerful. The hallmark of grounding is its ability to achieve alpha brain wave state, which is seen in deep meditative states and in healing sleep states. There are many ways to do this, but the simple version involves you getting into nature and kicking off your shoes.

But with technology we can now produce this energy through PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) Therapy & Electrical Stimulation. These are some of the most powerful biohacking tools with proven benefits. The Earthpulse, a grounding mat or grounding bedspread, is a PEMF therapy device that provides better sleep & recovery than ever before. It is not a cheap device but if you are serious about your sleep it is money well spent!

 

Wake up Fresh & Ready to Go:

Bounce out of bed with a Sunrise Alarm Clock. The Natural light alarm clock was designed for a more natural wake-up. The lamp emits natural light as an alarm to improve your ability to function in the morning.

Other alternative is phone apps such as Sleep as Android that wakes you up in lighter stage of your sleep cycle by tracking movement and noise, helping you wake up fresh in the morning. I am sure we have all felt the effects of the alarm going off while we are in a deep sleep, and well it really isn’t fun. This app also allows you to rate and track your sleep. Plus it is great if you want to see if you snore as it offers a recording function.  

 

Circadian Rhythm Hack

One of the most powerful things you can do for priming your circadian rhythm is morning exposure to sun (No sunglasses or sun protection if possible). This coupled with light movement such as yoga, some mobility or a walk. You will not only be energised for the day ahead but syncing the body clock to the sun.

But what if this is not an option?

Treat Winter Blues

We have discussed the powerful effects of bluelight in affecting your sleep, if utilised smartly it can be a great tool in establishing circadian rhythm especially when access to natural light isn’t easy. The Re-Timer is a tool that you can wear either in the morning or evening, depending on how you want to change your sleep. The light is UV-free and has been independently tested for eye safety to the international standard.

 

 

Sleep Enhancing Supplement

Magnesium is an important mineral and is necessary for overall health. Every cell and organ in your body requires this mineral to function properly. It contributes to bone health, along with brain, heart and muscle function. Magnesium is found in foods such as; green vegetables, nuts, cereals, meat, fish and fruit, so it is important that you aim to eat these foods regularly.

Magnesium is often the first supplement to be suggested for sleep, due to magnesium ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (down-regulation system). Therefore, deficiency in magnesium can lead to poor sleep and even insomnia.

Certain populations are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency, including those people with digestive diseases. Issues with your digestive tract can cause your body to not absorb vitamins and minerals properly, resulting in various micronutrient (vitamins and mineral) deficiencies. Other people affected by this deficiency include diabetics, individuals with an alcohol dependence, older adults (many factors could affect this including current inflammatory state, disease, quantity of food intake) and athletes. It is recommended that athletes get sufficient magnesium to assist in recovery from large training loads

Dose:

Oral:

The Institute of Medicine suggests a daily oral dietary intake of 310–360 mg of magnesium for adult women and 400–420 mg for adult men.

Transdermal (absorbed through skin):

Often not thought of when it comes to supplementing magnesium but an Epson salt bath or a Float, which has a high concentration of magnesium, can be absorbed through the skin and bypass the gastrointestinal track. Therefore, these are great alternative methods if you struggle with oral supplementation. Additionally, you can get magnesium sprays, which are great to apply prior to jumping into bed.

What is the best option?

Yet to be conclusively defined. Transdermal does seemingly offer great potential but I think a combination of both may be best! Oral is easy to comply to on a routine basis where booking in for a float is often less frequent. My routine is a weekly Float coupled with daily supplementation of BePure new Magnesium.

 

Summary:

The ability to hack your sleep is endless and this is a quickly growing industry as we learn more about the power of sleep. Above is a my favorite sleep hacks and if implemented you will achieve the best most restorative sleep possible and feel amazing for it!

Air Quality & Sleep

Air quality is too often looked, yet it is such a vital component when it comes to health. As we have stated previously anything that affects your health will affect your ability to sleep well.

Toxic Mold

If your home is not well ventilated, it can be a breeding ground for mold, leading to poor air quality. Mold is the silent killer that is not getting enough attention. It is making more people weak, fat, and tired than ever before. It is largely invisible and can have a huge impact on your energy and stress levels, not to mention how long you’ll live.

Symptoms of Mold Exposure & Mold Poisoning:

Fatigue + Weakness + Aches + Muscle Cramps + Unusual Pain + Ice Pick Pain + Headache + Light Sensitivity + Red Eyes + Blurred Vision + Tearing + Sinus Problems + Cough + Shortness of Breath + Abdominal Pain + Diarrhea + Joint Pain + Morning Stiffness + Memory Issues + Focus/Concentration Issues + Word Recollection Issues + Decreased Learning of New Knowledge + Confusion + Disorientation + Skin Sensitivity + Mood Swings + Appetite Swings + Sweats (especially night sweats) + Temperature Regulation or Dysregulation Problems + Excessive Thirst + Increased Urination + Static Shocks + Numbness + Tingling + Vertigo + Metallic Taste + Tremors

Exposure to mold and it effects are more common than you may realise. Dampness and mold exposures ranges from 18% to 50% in buildings. The bad news doesn’t stop there sadly, in America over 25% (could assume similar numbers in NZ) of people are believed to carry the HLA-DRBQ gene. This gene promotes hypersensitivity towards mold. Essentially there bodies are unable to recognise mold as a toxin to eliminate it and instead they store the toxic mold within their bodies.

Mold toxins are lipophilic, in other words, their molecular structure is made up of fatty acid molecules. As the brain is the fattiest organ (60% fat) the mold toxins migrate and cross the blood brain barrier and deposit themselves within the brain. Once mold toxins enter the brain, they start to destroy neurons,  they can alter hormone production, and eventually this can lead to many chronic health issues including:

  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s Disease
  • Graves Disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • ADD/ADHD and more

 

Air Quality & Sleep:

Now that you have some background around mold and air quality, lets discuss how air quality can be affecting your sleep.

You spend ⅓ of your life in your bedroom, therefore bad air quality in the bedroom is a recipe for disaster! Some stats suggest that exposure to poor air quality can be 16 time higher in some people bedrooms. Poor air quality affects sleep and as a result has been shown to impact next day cognitive performance and increase perceived feelings of poor concentration and increased sleepiness. In rooms with poor circulating air comes and increased moisture and the development of bacteria and mold will not only impact your sleep but may cause a whole host of serious health concerns.

Want to Learn More:

Dave Asprey from Bulletproof, is a leader in this space after struggling personally with mold intoxication. He is leading the charge globally and highlighting the impact of mold on individuals health.  He has developed a lot of content around mold including a documentary on toxic mold (Moldy Movie), and even discusses the topic it in his book Headstrong.

Naturally cleanse the Air

Plants

Beyond toxic mold removal there are a few other ways to improve air quality within your bedroom. Research at NASA has found that a number of house plants go beyond just looking good, they actually possess the ability to double as a natural air purifiers. Improving air quality by absorbing and filtering out toxic agents from our indoor air. The NASA study listed a number of plants that have beneficial effects for air purification including Aloe vera, English Ivy and Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue). I personally own the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue due to it being very low maintenance and have found it extremely powerful.

  

Ever wondered why you sleep better in nature  especially if you are close to water?

Water, air, sunlight and the earth’s inherent radiation produce what is called negative ions (oxygen molecule charged with an extra electron). These negatively charged ions are most prevalent in a natural place particularly around moving water (waterfalls, ocean, thunderstorms etc). The taste and feeling of that “Fresh Air” when near a beach, waterfall or storm is your body receiving and influx in the beneficial negative ions.

Negative ions are good but positive ions are not and the most dangerous levels of harmful positive ions occur in the polluted, large industrial and heavily populated cities. Exhaust fumes from cars, trucks and buses, factory smoke, cigarette smoke, dust and soot, electromagnetic pollution and overall atmospheric pollution caused by air and sea crafts; all act to develop a mixture of harmful positive ions. In doing so reduce the production of the beneficial negative ions in our surroundings and subsequently affecting our overall health, lungs and may be the cause of general lack of energy and depression.

 

Strategies

Prevent, Identify & Repair

Prevent:

  • Avoid moist environments that lack airflow (stuffy environments). As these environments act as the perfect breeding ground for toxic mold.
  • Avoid Water Damaged Buildings:

Water soaked buildings are the perfect breeding ground for toxic mold. You should want to avoid living, working or attending school in any building that have been damaged by water whether from a flood, broken pipes, condensation, or water leaks of any kind. Signs would include; Water stains on walls and ceilings & a funky smell

  • Allow natural airflow as much as possible, sleep with window open as has been shown to greatly impact air quality.
  • Live close to nature, obviously where possible.
  • Get some nature into your bedroom, add some natural air purifying plants such as: Aloe vera, English Ivy, & Sansevieria trifasciata (commonly known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue)
  • Remove any condensation 
  • Purify and Negatively ionise your air within your bedroom and home with a Ioniser

 

  • Identify:

  • Ensure you have no leaks or mold present in your house.

Check baseboards, ceilings, and walls in your home, office, and school frequently looking for soft spots, stains, or other signs of water damage. If you have any serious concerns or even just for peace of mind get the building inspected by a professional. Additionally, ensure you have a properly installed AC or HVAC system especially in hot humid climates as this can be a red flag and could make the problem worse.

  • Take the Test: The Biotoxin Test can help determine if you are affected by mold. Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker developed a formula to determine if you are presenting with the symptoms associated with exposure to toxic mold.

 

Repair:

  • Outsource: If testing deems your house to have mold. Remove yourself from the environment & work with a remediation specialist to develop a cleanup plan. You don’t want to skip corners on this.

Hopefully in reading this I have been able to shed some light on the invisible killer that doesn’t get enough attention. This is something I have dealt with personally and was ignorant to the impact it played as I became sicker and sicker as the mold grew thicker and thicker. It is not something you avoid and hope it goes away you need to take action otherwise you will end up with serious health concerns. Just watch the moldy movie for some good case studies.

Let’s talk Science: High Carbohydrate Vs High Fat

This article is for those that enjoy diving into topics or for someone who likes to have evidence before they make a decision.

What is Science Telling Us?
As with anything in science there are a wide range of beliefs regarding best practice for nutrition. In my last post I presented an overview of the traditional nutritional beliefs and practices (Food Pyramid: We Got It Wrong!). The goal for this post is to update you on the current literature and to pull out relevant pieces of information that will help to educate and guide you towards making a informed decision.

Common Disadvantages Associated Carbohydrate:

What happens when we consume Carbohydrate (CHO)?

As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb and store the glucose in your system. Insulin is a vital part of our bodies normal functioning and metabolism. But when constantly bombarded with glucose through a regular uptake of high CHO the body is forced to continuously produce insulin, resulting in chronically (long term) elevated levels of hormone.

Next, similar to when your body is exposed to a drug, your body becomes resistant to the normal levels of the hormone and will require increasing amounts of this hormone to carry out the same function. With your cells not effectively responding to insulin you end up with the accumulation of glucose in your blood. This response is known as insulin resistance and is the defining symptom of type II diabetes and can be linked to a whole host of other metabolic conditions.

So can Carbohydrates can be dangerous?

When we talk about CHO we need to acknowledge that there are good and bad CHO sources. Something the oversimplified food pyramid was aware of but neglected to include for simplicity. The bad CHO such as our highly refined & rapidly-absorbed (High Glycemic Index (GI)) CHO (e.g. cereals, white bread etc) are dangerous to your health. These high GI CHO foods cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly after eating them and force insulin to peak rapidly and remain within your body. If you eat enough of these types of foods, and regularly eat them as part of your daily diet, then you are almost guaranteed to end up with insulin resistance.

Another downside to this way of eating and elevated levels of insulin is that it creates a pro-inflammatory state that can damage tissues and blood vessels. People who have symptoms of insulin resistance also tend to have high levels of inflammatory markers within their body and blood. Inflammation is a process by which your body’s inflammatory markers and white blood cells work to protect you from foreign substances. High inflammation is seen in people who suffer from diseases such as Cancer, Alzheimers disease, Arthritis and Cardiovascular disease.

In short your diet could be forcing your body into an inflammatory state which is similar to some major diseases today. We could argue that this state of inflammation is the leading cause of chronic health diseases today.

Interesting fact: Cornflakes have a higher glycemic response than raw sugar!! Now that is crazy! Why? Due to being highly refined, they developed the the cereal to be quickly absorbed to fire up the pleasure signals in the brain to get you hooked and wanting more. Food is being manufacture to act like a drug!

Interesting fact #2: Diet/Sugar free soft drinks will produce an insulin response even though they are ‘sugar free’. They produce a response in your body similar to when you ingest CHO drinks. If you are struggling to lose weight or control your weight, try ditching the ‘diet’ soft drink and replacing it with soda water with lime/lemon for a week or two..

So What is Good Carbohydrate?

Quite simply put you are looking for unrefined whole foods that are found in nature (fruits, vegetables, starches etc) .                                                                               

Why? Our bodies have evolved to breakdown utilise these fuels efficiently plus they have not be denatured (loss of nutrients) due processing.

Rule of thumb stay clear or packaged foods and if you do choose a packaged item then select one with minimal ingredients. My rule is no more than 3 or 4 ingredients, and I must be able to pronounce and recognise all the ingredients on the list. Another trick is when in the supermarket, shop around the outside aisles and stay clear of the aisles.  

Take home message: Stay clear of proinflammatory CHO ie refined, high glycemic index. When selecting CHO into your diet choose unrefined whole foods that are found in nature.

Should I consume Carbohydrate?

Yes, although it should be minimised where possible, CHO is important and should not necessarily be completely neglected. What is important is the type of CHO you choose to include in your diet. One of the biggest mistakes I see with people trying to make a change to their diet and health is that they try to completely remove all CHO straight away. Removing a complete food group can be dangerous as you can eliminate a number of key micronutrients essential for health. These micronutrients may be more easily accessible in certain substrates eg CHO over fat. Always aim to have a varied diet to ensure you obtain a variety of micronutrients, as some are limited to certain foods.

Carbohydrate Tolerance (Insulin Sensitivity)

Carbohydrate tolerances or insulin sensitivity (ability to produce adequate insulin when required, to ensure efficient uptake of carbohydrate) will vary from person to person. Therefore, it is important to identify your tolerance. If you possess a high carbohydrate tolerance you should still be careful of what kind of carbohydrates you choose to eat, focusing on high quality sources, not using it as a hall pass to eat whatever you please.

 

Kick Start Your Day the Right Way!

Ditch the cereals that we have been brainwashed to think epitomises a healthy start to your day. These highly refined, insulin spiking foods will quickly derail your day before you even start. Regardless of your carbohydrate tolerance, we should all aim to begin our days with a healthy fat focused breakfast.

Why? Fat does not spike hormones (Insulin) it instead produces a steady release of energy that will keep you satisfied for much longer than CHO.

Two of My Favorite High Fat Breakfasts

 

  • At home: Avocado & Eggs on Spinach

 

A great nutrient dense breakfast and normally my first meal of the day.With loads of added healthy oils such as avocado and coconut oil. Feel free to add meat source like bacon (Yes bacon!) or salmon etc

  1. On the Go: High Fat Smoothie

Mixed Berries, Coconut Cream, Cocoa, Almonds, Spinach, Chia seeds (Add some MCT for bonus fat if you have any). There is endless mixes this is just a base I normally work off.

 

 

Key Takeaway Points:

  1. Carbohydrates are not evil, there are good and bad sources of it like anything.
  2. Not everybody responds the same to carbohydrate some can handle more than others.
  3. Excessive carbohydrate leads to insulin resistance and in turn inflammation which is leading cause of chronic disease today!
  4. Regardless of your carbohydrate tolerance, we should all aim to begin our days with a healthy fat focused breakfast