What the experts say – the 2 minute read – Help Manage your Blood Sugars

Welcome back to the ‘what the experts say’ series. These 2 minute reads give you a snapshot of what the experts are saying on the cutting edge of the health and wellness sphere.

So, today we be looking at managing those tricky blood sugars. Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is essentially the amount of sugar that the bloodstream carries to all the cells in the body to supply energy. When food (especially carbohydrates) are broken down by the body to form glucose, your body produces the hormone insulin to transport the glucose around the body for energy.

Issues occur when too much insulin is secreted due to to much glucose being produced consistently. Insulin resistance is on the far end of the scale – think diabetes. On the other end you have ‘hangry’ (hungry/angry), post meal dips in energy and foggy head.

Alrighty, first hot tip from mr primal himself, Mark Sisson. Mark has been one of the fore bearers of the paleo movement and his books give a great insight into tailoring your nutrition, workouts and lifestyle more inline with an evolutionary prospective.

So, his tip – avoid highly processed vegetable and seed oils. They promote insulin resistance by creating oxidative stress in the liver, which Mark describes as ‘the control tower’ for the whole body.

Next tip is via bio hacker website, which, as said on the tin, presents many a great bio hack. They advise apple cider vinegar for lowering blood sugar. It’s especially best to take at night as helps blood sugars balance overnight for the morning and could also help improve sleep.

Building on this last recommendation, we have a pro tip from Mr Aubrey Marcus. He’s contributed a few to this series. In a nutshell he’s the CEO of Onnit and an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to optimising health and well-being.

Aubrey advises to reduce blood sugars after eating and to improve digestion, try this concoction:

– 30ml apple cider vinegar

– 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

– 90ml room temp water

Lastly, and again from Mr Marcus, try adding soluble fibre to your high carb food to reduce the impact of on blood glucose. Think psyllium or chia seeds. This will slow the absorption of sugars into the blood system. So where you can, always use fat and fibre to delay the immediate blood sugar spike.

Alrighty, that was just about the two minute mark, please like, share and comment if this was helpful in anyway! Till next time.

Fasting for Brain Health and to Treat Concussion & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Right then! Welcome back to the What Supp Blog, the one stop shop for all things performance.

Today’s post is bought via some pretty powerful insights from Mr Dr Daniel Pompa. Dr Pomp (as I’ll affectionately refer to him as) is a pretty damn knowledgeable dude in the health and wellness space. His specialty in particular however, is the use of fasting as a wholistic tool to manage your health and wellbeing.

Ok, obviously fasting as a topic could literally fill a book, (and has, I’d recommend Dr Fung’s complete guide to fasting!),I’m going to narrow it down a little hear. Well, a lot actually. This post will give 7 pretty damn good reasons that Dr Pomp recommends fasting as a remedy to cleanse your brain and manage concussions or brain injuries. It is of note though that many of the adaptations presented completely apply to your overall health, so please don’t think this is limited purely to brain health.

Now, you may well not have had any specific concussions, but you could well play a sport which head impact is a part of the game, namely any full contact sport, or could have been in a car accident for example. Or of course, you just might want to have a brain that performs at its very best. As one of the leading lights of the science behind sleep, Mathew Walker noted, the mere act of just being awake is causing continuous minor brain damage!

It’s worth noting that when we discuss fasting here, I’m referring to anything 24 plus hours. Also, when I say fast I mean purely water fast, anything that the body has to metabolise ,(coffee, herbal tea, etc), could well short change you.

This is all simpler than it sounds with a 24 hour fast being achieved most easily from, for example, fasting from after dinner from say 7pm, to 7pm the next day. To really amp up the effects highlighted below, try and hit that 36 hour mark by seeing through the day and holding out till some time after 7am the following morning (longer the better).

If, however you really want to go deep and see some powerful results, consider a 3, 5, 7 or even 10 day fast. You will likely need a period of aductation to achieve longer fasts (reasonably) comfortably if you are eating a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates.

I won’t go into huge detail here on the science behind each point, (please check the man’s website and/or podcast), but see below the 7 reasons to implement fasting post injury;

1. Promoting autophagy . This is probably one of the best known health promoting by products of fasting. Autophagy is the body’s process of ridding bad cells/bad DNA to promote new healthy cell growth. This is especially important for your brain, and especially if you’ve suffered accumulative or acute damage.

2. There is a natural occurrence of stem cells rising. The fasting triggers them to rise up and this subsequently starts the healing process.

3. Energy diversion. It takes a certain amount of energy to process and metabolise food. Fasting triggers the body’s innate intelligence to start to use this extra energy which has been saved to start the healing process.

4. Turning off bad DNA. Yes you do have the genes you have, but what turns them on and what turns them off is all primarily down to nutritional and environmental factors. In a nutshell, fasting down regulates the bad genes and up regulate your good genes.

5. Gut health. The gut is not called your second brain for nothing. Many neurotransmitters are formed in the gut as well as it being home to all your gut microbes. Fasting can cause a change to the gut michrobiame and hence fix your gut health.

6. Brain benefits from higher ketone production. Now, similar to fasting, the benefits of ketones would fill a book. You don’t however have to start a ketogenic diet to benefit as fasting is a sure fire way to kickstart your liver into producing higher ketone levels.

7. Optimise hormone levels. This one is a lil bit of a shocker as fasting can actually elevate human growth hormone, (HGH), and norepinephrine. HGH is secreted by the brain and stimulates cell growth and reproduction. It also promotes lean tissue and helps mobilize fat, (try telling that to a muscle head down the local gym). Norepinephrine increases arousal and alertness, promotes vigilance, enhances formation and retrieval of memory, and focuses attention.

Alrighty, well there you have it, 7 good reasons to get your fast on. As already stated, all 7 have far reaching beneficial effects across the board so don’t let not having a head injury, be a good reason to not fast! Till next time.

The Genius Foods & how to remember them

Welcome back to the What Supp Blog, your one stop shop for everything to optimise performance!

Today’s hack is two for the price of one! Firstly, I’m going to introduce you to the food list presented in Mr Max Lugavere’s New York Time’s best selling book; Genius Foods. Secondly, I’m going to show you a super simple way to remember these foods, a technique (and the actual example given) by memory extrodinare, Jim Kwick.

Max’s book is focused on what food to get into your diet to best promote your cognitive functioning whilst also highlighting what to avoid to ensure protecting it from decline. This really is a passion project for Max as his mother was sadly diagnosed with a form of neuro degenerative disease.

Although this post will present the essential food list, it won’t discuss what else can be done to avoid neuro-decline, so do your swede a fave, and treat yourself to the book.

So, first the food list;

1. Avocados

2. Blue berries

3. Broccoli

4. Extra virgin olive oil

5. Wild Salmon

6. Eggs

7. Leafy greens

8. Grass fed beef

9. Almonds coming

10. Dark chocolate

Next, how to remember. Right, so I’m gona need your imagination on this one. Jim created this imagery specifically for the 10 super brain foods. So his theory goes, the key with memory is being able to directly link the word/what your memorising, with an image. The more out of the ordinary the image is, the more likely it’ll stick.

So your going to visualise in the this order, the following body parts; Head/Nose/Mouth/Ears/Larynx/Collar/Shoulders/Fingers/Belly button/Seat (Bum).

Firstly, I want you to think of a human head, any human head. This is where we begin. This will all become clearer shortly. We will go through step by step and I want you to associate the image with food. Spend a little time on each step really visualising the image –

1. Avacados – guacamole being mixed in/on top of your your head

2. Blue berries – popping out your nose

3. Broccoli – coming in your mouth

4. Extra virgin olive oil – being used to wash your ears

5. Wild Salmon – lying around your collar

6. Eggs – placed in your larynx (adam’s apple)

7. Leafy greens – coming out your shoulders

8. Grass fed beef – for fingers or in your hands (Jim gave grass fed beef hot dogs for fingers as an example!)

9. Almonds – popping one by one out of your belly button

10. Dark chocolate and your seat, (be as creative as you will hear..)

Okay then, there you have it and hopefully you have some creative visuals going around in your head! Till next time.

Cheap Eat Nutrition # 33 – Roasted Ginger & Coconut Broccoli Bites

Welcome back to a long overdue return to the cheap eat recipe series! These are affordable, simple recipes you can use day in, day out.

Today’s recipe is simple. It can be used as a substantial side portion of your main meal or a handy snack to take out and about.

So, you may well, and probably rightly, question the combination of broccoli and ginger. I get it. But actually not only does it give these lil nutritional nuggets a tasty twang, but it seriously adds to the health benefits you’re receiving.

Ginger has some great anti inflammatory qualities. In fact one study compared highly concentrated ginger to a placebo in 247 patients with osteoporosis of the knee. The ginger was shown to reduce pain and stiffness in the knee joints by 40% over the placebo!

Black pepper is also a nice addition, alongside the salt, for this dish. Black pepper actually helps with absorption of other nutrients, so add it wherever you can!

Right then, time for the nuts and bolts..

Ingredients

– 1 whole washed broccoli

– 1 tbsp of coconut oil

– 1 to 2 tsp of ground ginger

– salt & pepper

Method

– Chop the stem off the broccoli and cut into small florets

– Massage in the coconut oil thoroughly to broccoli florets

– Liberally sprinkle the ginger over followed by salt and pepper, (experiment a bit here with the quantity you want).

– Thoroughly tossing the broccoli, try to ensure all the pieces are well covered in the ginger, salt & pepper.

– Space out on oven tray and place in pre heated oven at 190c for 15/20 minutes, removing at 10 minutes to turn and mix the broccoli to ensure even cooking.

– Serve and enjoy!

A Whistle Stop Tour of Stoicism

Welcome back to What Supp Blog! As ever I aim to bring some of the best information for supplementing your physical and mental performances day in and day out. I’ve got something a little different for y’all today with the focus being on mindset.

In order to develop a focused and balanced mindset, it’s helpful to have outlook that promotes these qualities. This post will hopefully aid that by giving a whistle stop tour of Stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of, in a nutshell, learning to roll with the punches. I’ll give you a brief overview of this practical philosophy then 3 principles to live in stoic way.

The philosophy asserts that behaviour showing high moral standards equates to happiness, and judgment should be based on behaviour, rather than words. A core principle is we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.

Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses, rather than logic.

Stoicism has been bought back to the fore front in recent years by a few key authors such as Tim Ferris (podcast host extraordinaire), 48 laws of power supremo Robert Greene and the current go to voice of stoicism, Ryan Holiday.

Mr Ryan Holiday has released a few books that are both accessible in language and easy to digest, something some of the original stoic texts can certainly not always be. Below are three key stoic lessons that Ryan recently gave away of Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Radio podcast;

1. Focus on what is in your control and ignore what is out of your control. This is regardless of whether it’s micro or macro issues and themes within daily living.

2. Treat obstacles you encounter as opportunities to do things you couldn’t and/or wouldn’t have done before. This in itself give you opportunity to get better at facing adversity and difficulty.

3. Make time to cultivate moments of stillness in your life, if you won’t, who will? This can be meditation or simply walking unplugged from the world. Either allowing for time to reflect and consider life’s circumstances.

Ok, thanks for reading! If you you liked, please leave a comment and like. Till next time.

What the experts say – the 2 minute read – tips for creativity, learning & organising

Welcome back to what the experts say! Today’s pro tips are for getting the swede firing in all cylinders regarding creativity, learning and organising. We’ve got a cheeky little 3 tip special from 2 mighty fine experts.

First off, couple’a pro tips coming up from Jim Kwick; memory extraordinaire. This guy’s back story is simply stunning. Went from actually being labelled ‘the boy with the broken brain’ at school, to literally being able to remember every name in the room with an aduience of 100 plus. He’s got a short and awesome podcast, and also makes his way round a few more as a guest.

Jim specialises in everything brain power related;

1. If you are seeking some creativity for a project or are feeling stuck, simply have a shower. The calming and being present in the moment effect that a shower can bring puts your brain into the theta state. Theta state is a frequency of the brainwaves, and there’s a number of others including; delta, alpha, beta and gamma. Theta brain waves are those created in a relaxed or meditation state, but are also the best brain state for creative thinking.

2. Wanting to increase your capacity to learn and be smarter? Try learning new physical activities. Your brain’s primary role is to move the body, so by improving your movement patterns you increase your capacity for all learning. Or in a simpler context, if you’re having a block when studying or learning, get up and move around.

Next tip is fromMr Aubrey Marcus. CEO of Onnit, perineal Joe Rogan podcast guest, phycadelic explorer and author of the bio hacking handbook – own the day. Aubrey gives an absolute sh*t ton of tips, tricks and hacks to fully optimise your life or quite simply, own the day. Here’s one planning;

1. Research suggests you can only hold three to four things in your working memory at a time. Therefore, whether planning for the micro or the macro, to keep focused and on task, ensure your plans or to do lists only consist of maximum 4 items. This will help ensure maximum efficiency and productivity.

Hope you enjoyed, till next time, thanks for reading!

Natural Energy Bars – A Healthy Choice?

Welcome back to the What Supp Blog, where we explore all things nutrition and performance related! Today’s post is a an insight into some of those sweet treat indulgences that are promoted as “healthy options”.

Now first and foremost, a brief disclaimer. I absolutely love to indulge in pretty much everyone one of these treats. From a nutritional standpoint I often think ‘right or wrong’ choices is not always a good way to look at it. As is often the way, it’s not that black and white.

Choices

Many of the bars I highlight below, in terms of choices, are far better options than your regular chocy bar. That’s if you are wanting to indulge your sweet tooth of course. Most are cold pressed, with “all natural” ingredients and no added vegetable oils or highly processed sugars and syrups . These are all a bonuses of course, and again, make them a better choice than a Snickers.

Most of these bars are simple, devoid of preservatives and in relative terms, won’t spike your blood sugars to the same degree as many a high sugar laden treat. Or will they. For those that don’t know, the continual raising of blood sugars, or glucose, is what can cause weight gain, metabolic disfunction and disease.

Metabolising Sugar

In a nut shell, you breakdown carbohydrates (essentially sugars & starches), and to a degree protein, into glucose which causes the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin carries the glucose around your body to the hungry cells for energy. When each cell is full, the remainder gets stored as fat. This is of course a natural bodily function. Where things go wrong is the excessive over spiking of insulin on a continual, multiple times a day basis. This can lead to your cells becoming insulin resistant at worse, and at best, foggy head, mood swings and a build up of inflammation in the body.

Now it’s beyond the scope of this post to give a full detailed description of all the what’s and why’s of excessive insulin spikes, but needless to say most will agree that excessive sugar ain’t doing nothing for nobody.

All Sugar Equal?

Again, and I can’t emphasise this enough, on the spectrum of good choice/bad choice, many of these paleo/vegan/gluten free bars rank a flip of a lot closer to good than a Twicks. But, know what you’re eating. Whether it’s organic coconut palm sugar, white processed table sugar, honey or even a high glycemic fruit like a date, it’s all the same (or very similar) to your body – sugar.

Don’t get too bogged down either with fructose (fruit sugar that is also isolated and manufactured in many products), sucrose (table sugar) or glucose, (blood sugar). They all have a detrimental impact. Glucose will raise blood glucose levels most rapidly of all the sugars and therefore increase insulin secretion. Whereas fructose will have the least effect on glucose and insulin, but it will raise triglycerides levels, (basically fat in your blood stream). This can actually be far nastier, leading to cardiovascular disease and weight gain. Sucrose will break down to glucose in the body and many products will have combinations of these sugars.

Snack Time

Here’s a list of some of the sweet treats options that are open to you. I have scoured the supermarkets of the UK and the least processed, closest to healthy options appear to come from Nakd, Primal Pantry, Planet Organic and some dark chocolate brands. There are obviously others but these appear to be the most readily available.

I’ve basically included dark chocolate as when the nutritional content is considered, it actually has a far greater claim on being a healthy energy bar than many other options out there. For more on why dark chocolate, have a read of this previous post about human’s real best friend; https://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/03/05/chocolate-a-superfood/

Soo, just quickly before we look at that indulgent lil afternoon snack list, here’s a quick note on the side. I have not included any bars which contain oats. Oats have a high carbohydrate content and many of the options on the market that I checked included the likes of rice bran syrup, apple/grape concentrate, fructose etc etc. All of these little offenders are titled differently to divert the consumer from the fact they are buying sugar. So basically that’s just more sugar on your sugar.

The brands

Nakd

First up we got Nakd bars. These little numbers are both pretty damn affordable and pretty damn tasty.

Natural balance foods, the creators of Nakd bars, state their bars are “completely different to other cereal bars because they’re made with a wholefood approach, which means that we believe in minimal processing and we don’t add any sugar, syrups or mysterious additives to your food.”

See the below list of Nakd products and their accompanying sugar content starting with the lowest content offering:

– 12 grams of sugar in 35g pecan pie nakd bar

– 12.4 grams of sugar in 35g ginger bread nakd bar

– 13.6 grams of sugar in 35g peanut delight nakd bar

– 13.6 grams of sugar in 35g cocoa orange nakd bar

– 13.7 grams of sugar in 35g cashew cookie nakd bar

– 14.3 grams of sugar in 35g apricot crunch nakd bar

– 15.6 grams of sugar in 35g carrot cake nakd bar

– 15.9 grams of sugar in 35g cocoa delight nakd bar

– 16 grams of sugar in 35g Bakewell tart nakd bar

– 16.6 grams of sugar in 35g berry delight nakd bar

– 16.7 grams of sugar in 35g cocoa coconut nakd bar

– 17.7 grams of sugar in 35g lemon drizzle nakd bar

– 18.2 grams of sugar in 35g blueberry muffin nakd bar

– 19.3 grams of sugar in 40g pack of coconut bliss nakd fruit & nut nibbles

– 20.2 grams of sugar in 40g pack of salted caramel nakd fruit & nut crunch nibbles

Planet Organic

Alrighty, next we have Planet Organic’s own range of grain free bars. Planet Organic is basically a paleo/vegan/nutrition bod’s wet dream. All the food sold there is in line with three key principles; organic (funnily enough), natural and sustainable.

– 7.8 grams of sugar in 30g Planet Organic Chia Vanilla Energise Bar

– 7.8 grams of sugar in 30g Planet Organic Chia Vanilla Energise Bar

– 8.4 grams of sugar in Planet Organic Cacao Brazil Nut Energise Bar

– 9 grams of sugar in 30g Planet Organic Goji Pumpkinseed Energise Bar

Primal Pantry

Right, next up Primal Pantry. These bars clearly align themselves to the paleo lifestyle. This can be seen with some great combinations including coconut and macadamia nuts (awesome omega 3 to 6 ratio) being a personal fave.

The Primal Pantry fames itself having been created by a qualified nutritionist. As their site states; “The award-winning Primal Pantry bars contain no added nasties or funky sounding names, just honest, simple ingredients that can be found in your own kitchen cupboard.”

We’ve got the standard and smaller version bars first, followed by the larger protein bars after:

– 14.9 grams sugar in 45g coconut & macadamia bar / 9.9 grams sugar in 30g bar

– 15 grams of sugar in 45g açai & super-seed bar

– 16.1 grams of sugar in 45g almond & cashew bar / 10. 7 grams of sugar in 30g bar

16.9 grams of sugar in 45g apple & pecan 45g bar /

– 17.1 grams of sugar in 45g brazil nut & cherry bar

– 17.5 grams of sugar in 45g hazelnut & cocoa bar / 11.7 grams of sugar in 30g bar

Primal Pantry Protein Bars

– 20 grams of sugar in 55g cocoa brownie hemp protein bar

– 21 grams of sugar in 55g cocoa orange hemp protein bar

– 21 grams of sugar in 55g double espresso hemp protein bar

– 22 grams of sugar in 55g mixed berry hemp protein bar

Dark Chocolate

Below are 3 bars that are pretty much widely available in most spots at the snack counter.

– 10.15 grams sugar in 70% 35g lint bar

( 29 grams in 100g lint bar )

– 10 grams of sugar in green & blacks organic 35g bar 70% ( 28.5 grams of sugar in 100g bar )

– 10.46 grams of sugar in 26g 72% willie’s cocoa Venezuelan bar

Conclusion

Right, so hopefully you’ve had a little scan through. Just to emphasise the point, and this is a big one; a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar equals one gram. So basically a full teaspoon equals 4 grams of sugar.

As can be seen, some of these bars have a pretty shockingly high sugar count, even some of the 35 gram bars, (although do bear in mind size differentiation). The Planet Organic hit some impressive low scores but again, size matters, they’re only 30grams a pop.

The dark chocolate has, as can be clearly seen, an impressive lower sugar content also. For those going low carb or keto, this makes it a clearly better choice. As already highlighted, there are a number of other benefits to consuming chocolate. Be weary though, these diminish with lower percentage cocoa bars and experts will argue that the nutritional value is negligible under 70% – 80% cocoa.

Timing

This is not to discount the value of the all natural ingredients in the bars we looked at. As with most things in life, timing is all important. Especially when looking to consume any particular carbohydrates or sugar.

So, if having a bar such as those discussed, the numero uno time would be post exercise. Although this may seem counter intuitive, as the treat will give the body calories and exercise will subsequently burn it off, it’s a tad more newonced than that.

This is primarily as your body is looking to replenish it’s depleted glycogen (energy) stores and is eager for them to be replenished. So in a nutshell your body is in the right metabolic state to use the carbohydrate and sugars being given to it.

A less optimal time to cram in on sugars and carbs, especially non complex carbs, would be the morning or evening, especially having completed no exercise prior. Adding any sugars first thing is a sure fire way to ensure blood sugar roller coasters and food cravings throughout the day.

So if you are looking to move away from sugar, which you damn well should be, start reading labels. Hope you’ve found this post interesting! If so, please like, share and leave a comment. Big love to you for reading.

What the experts say – the 2 minute read – nutritional choices for exercise recovery

Alrighty, welcome to the super sharp pro tips 2 minute read! As ever, these are some bite size morsels that come straight from the horses mouth,(so to speak).

Today’s pro tips are in regards to using a couple of nutrition hacks to get the best out of your recovery from exercise. We’ve got 3 lovely little tip bits for you today, so enjoy and go forth and improve your athletic performance!

The first two tips are from biohacker extrodinaire, Mr Ben Greenfield. I’ve spoken about him in the previous professional tips post so have a look for a tad more info. Saying that, here’s a pro tip via me; check his podcast series and interviews in Joe Rogan’s JRE podcast. Now.

1. Be mindful of the blunting hormone response post exercise of antioxidants, this is particularly true of high amounts of vitamin C or A. The antioxidant profile of coffee however is very similar to green tea polyphenols, which do not blunt the hormedic response to exercise! For instance, research shows coffee post workout enhances glycogen restoration into your body, if consuming a meal.

2. Needing recovery during the workout? You could do far worse than start swapping out your daily mineral water with Pellegrino sparkling water. This is a good source (and Pellegrino the highest source) or sodium bicarbonate, which buffers lactic acid build up during heavy workouts. Taking straight backing soda to achieve this often causes gut distress, so this is a good way to progressively load throughout the day prior to an evening workout.

Ok, last tip is from one of the sleep masters, mr Nick Littlehales. Nick is the leading elite sport sleep coach to the biggest names in the sporting world, including British Cycling and Team Sky’s recording-breaking cyclists, top Premiership and international football clubs, including doing extensive work with the treble winning 1999 Manchester Utd team.

Although we’ll revisit some sleep tips in a later post, try this for recovery;

1. Nick recommends in his excellent book Sleep, Montmorency tart cherries for recovery from exercise. They can also increase melatonin, the natural sleep hormone produced when you’re ready to nod off. Sleep is of course probably one of the single biggest factors to aiding recovery.

Alrighty, there we have it. 3 tips to nutritionally aid your recovery. Till next time.

The Vitamin Breakdown! – Vitamin B7

Welcome back to vitamin break down! This series looks to breakdown the vitamin alphabet to let you know exactly what, is doing what. We’ve been slowly marching our way through the B vitamins, which bring us nicely to our next breakdown.

Vitamin B7, more commonly known as biotin, or even less commonly; vitamin H, is a water-soluble nutrient. This means it passes through liquid in the body and can’t be stored in reserves such as fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A.

B7 is of course part of the B vitamin family. B vitamins help support adrenal function, calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes in the body.

Enzymes & Coenzymes

Biotin is a coenzyme. Coenzymes are substances that enhance an enzyme’s action. Coenzymes cannot trigger or speed up a biological reaction, but they help enzymes do so. Enzymes are produced by all living organisms. They act as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction, or help speed one up, within the human body. They bind to molecules and alter them in specific ways. They are essential for respiration, digesting food, muscle and nerve function, among thousands of other roles.

Metabolism

Biotin has vital metabolic functions. Without biotin as a co-factor, many enzymes do not work properly, and serious complications can occur, including varied diseases of the skin, intestinal tract, and nervous system.

B7 is crucial for the body’s metabolism of nutrients and as such, energy production. B7 as a coenzyme, transfers carbon dioxide, an important step in breaking down food. This role is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, proteins and helps process glucose.

It plays a further key role in several other metabolic processes. It’s particularly important job is being involved in helping the body effectively process;

Fatty acids, a type of molecule found in fats and oils

Leucine, an essential amino acid that humans cannot synthesize

Gluconeogenesis, the synthesis of glucose from molecules that are not carbohydrates, for example, amino and fatty acids

Blood & Blood Sugars

B7 crucial for Haemostasis; the body’s normal physiological response for the prevention and stopping of bleeding/haemorrhage. It results in the blocking of any vascular breach. Generally speaking, it helps ensure blood fluidity and blood vessel integrity.

Biotin can help address high blood glucose levels, especially essential for people with type 2 diabetes. One study found that people with diabetes had lower levels of biotin than people without the condition. B7 may do this by aiding the body to process glucose through decreasing insulin resistance and improving glucose tolerance. In fact in rats, it has been found to stimulate the secretion of insulin.

Nervous System & Psychological Function

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar/glucose can injure nerves throughout your body. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Some reports have suggested that biotin supplements can improve symptoms of neuropathy in people with diabetes. However, these have not been confirmed by research.

The brain is particularly sensitive to the delivery and metabolism of glucose. As B7 plays such a key role in glucose metabolism , there are clear ramifications for mental clarity, focus and general cognitive functioning.

Very high doses of biotin have been observed to possibly change the course of several rare neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers have tested whether there may be some benefit to treating MS with B7. The exact mechanism underlying neurodegeneration in MS is unknown. High doses of biotin may help in countering the loss of mitochondrial energy metabolism or help by stimulating the basic pathways for myelin formation via its effect as a coenzyme for the numerous carboxylases involved in both these processes.

Aesthetics

Biotin often gets pigeonholed as a beauty vitamin. It contributes to healthy nails, skin and hair, so it features in many cosmetic and health products for the skin and hair. It even supports maintaining mucous membranes and possibly helps prevent birth defects. However, it cannot be absorbed through hair or skin, so don’t be to fooled by product promises.

Sources & The Gut

The human body cannot create or synthesise biotin on its own. Only bacteria, molds, yeasts, algae, and certain plants can make it, so the diet needs to supply, and regularly at that. Hang on though, as it could be more a matter of feeding your symbiotic bacteria rather than cramming in biotin rich food.

Only small amounts of biotin are found in food sources such as brewer’s yeast, chicken, pork, egg yolks, leafy green vegetables, soybeans and bananas. There is however some good news as our clever native gut bacteria, or gut microbes/microbiome, are able to manufacture it, (phew!).

People who have taken a lot of antibiotics are also at risk of B7 deficiency, since antibiotics set off the equivalent to a nuclear explosion to your gut microbes that help generate it. If this is the case, seek to get lots of probiotic rich food such as anything fermented like sauerkraut, kimchi, komboocha or kefir.

These foods mentioned above should be sort regardless within your diet. Help to feed the new colonies probiotics bring by feeding them with plenty of prebiotic food also. I won’t go on to much but read more here about the importance of pre and pro biotic sources in your diet; https://whatsuppblogblog.com/2017/04/27/snack-hacks-5-prebiotics-vs-probiotics/

Fortunately, biotin deficiency is extremely rare. That said, as mentioned diabetics tend to have lower levels, and biotin supplements can be useful in managing glucose levels. Be aware that unused biotin is eliminated in urine and as the body does not build up reserves of B7, so to help generate it, support your gut health appropriately.

Right then. Thanks for reading! As ever, please give it a like and comment if you found the piece interesting or helpful in anyway! Till next time.

What the experts say – the 2 minute read – Choosing the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Mushrooms

And welcome back to the ‘what the experts say’ series! As before, this is a short little post with a couple of fact bombs from those in the know.

Right, today I’ve got two tip bits for you. The first is from Mr Max Lugavere. Max has written a quite excellent book called ‘Genius Foods’. This is packed full with how to protect and nurture the important bit in your swede.

The second tip comes from Tero Isokauppila. This famous Finn is the genius behind Four Stigmatic mushroom coffee. Depending on your choice, this stuff will switch you on like nothing else, keep you firing all day or put you out like a baby. What this dude don’t know about fungi, literally ain’t worth knowing.

Expert tip 1.

Oleocanthal is the phenol (plant compound) within extra virgin olive oil that does incredibly good things for your brain such as reducing low level inflammation. Oleocanthal gives a peppery taste, the stronger the taste, the stronger the health effects. Therefore you should literally cough on good extra virgin olive oil if sampling before you buy.

On a side note for purchasing good extra virgin olive oil by the way, (and this isn’t via Max), look to purchase oil in a dark bottle, from a single origin and with a ‘bottled on’ date. Oh yeah, and store in a dark cupboard.

Expert tip 2.

Mushrooms act like parasites, (don’t be put off!), and as such need things to eat to live, like animals and humans do. This is opposed to plants which use photosynthesis to create energy and grow.

Mushrooms exist symbiotically when growing. They can eat organic or non organic material they come into contact with and act like cleaners of the forrest. For example oyster mushrooms can clean up oil, one species found in the amazon can feed on plastic and others even feed on radiation!

For this reason it’s important to know where your mushrooms have come from, and even more so, to ensure your eating organic. This is as mushrooms will feed on pesticides and unknowingly, could well pass them on to you. Buy organic!