Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Is In Your Fish Oil Supplements?

A lot us are taking fish oil supplements on the daily basis. We believe that the omega-3, EPA and DHA are good for our brain and nervous system, help to fight heart and chronic diseases, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

How well do we know about the contains in the fish oil supplements? LabDoor has analyzed 30 best-selling fish oil supplements in the U.S.A., measuring the omega-3, EPA and DHA quantities, vitamin D and CLA amounts, mercury level, and total oxidation values.

They found:

- 21/30 demonstrated omega-3 levels that varied by over 10% off their label claims.

- 6/30 contain omega-3 level 30% lower than what the label stated.

- 12/30 contain DHA level 14% lower than what the label stated.

- DHA intake should be higher than EPA, but most supplements trended in the opposite direction, generally serving up twice as much EPA as DHA.

- Every product contained measurable amounts of mercury, ranged from 1 to 6 parts per billion per serving, which is well below the upper safety limit of 100 parts per billions.

- The majority of products passed oxidation (freshness) test. All brands showed oxidation level above 20, where safety limit is 26. The average score of the 30 brands was 21.3, but 1 product recorded a score above the upper limit and 6 more products measured within 5% of the upper limit.

THEN, should we still take fish oil supplements?

According to Dr. Philip Gregory, editor-in-chief of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, says in this New York Times article that:
“It may be that for people with heart disease who are already well treated with statins or high blood pressure medication, fish oil supplements may not offer any additional benefit,” he said. “Similarly, for those who already consume fish in their diet, adding a supplement probably doesn’t offer additional benefit.”
Whether fish oil will benefit normal or healthy people wasn't discussed in the study. I guess it is up to us whether to consume, way to consume, and frequency of consuming.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Moms Eat During Pregnancy Will Make Their Children Obese

Researchers from Yale University School of Medicine in U.S.A. and the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research in Germany used female mice to find out how maternal diet influenced brain development in offspring.

In the study researchers played around with feeding mouse mothers a high-fat diet before and during pregnancy and lactation. Pups born to obese mothers have different metabolic profiles than those of pups from mothers who were on a normal diet.

Specifically, the pups whose mothers ate a high-fat diet while they were in utero had impaired connections in brain neurons that regulate glucose and help control when they're hungry and full and how fat gets broken down. The study also suggests that even normal-weight moms need to watch their diet if they want to avoid setting the stage for obesity in their kids.

Last October, Prof. Dr. David Ludwig from New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, U.S.A., and his colleagues published a study on 40,133 mothers and 91,045 of their children. To factor out the role of genes and environment, the researchers looked only at siblings, comparing how much weight a mother gained in different stages of pregnancy and how that related to her children's weight years later, assuming maternal weight gain is a good proxy for the quality of diet during pregnancy.

They found that kids born to moms who put on too much weight — 40 pounds or more — during pregnancy had an increased risk of becoming obese even 10 years down the road.

"Genes, at this point, are not modifiable, whereas diet and pregnancy weight gain are."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hair-Size Windmill To Power Portable Electronics

Researchers Smitha Rao and JC Chiao, from University ofTexas at Arlington, U.S.A., have come out with a bold idea of using micro-windmills to power portable electronics.

The new micro-windmills only measure about 1.8 mm at their widest point. A single grain of rice could hold about 10 of them. Hence, hundreds of them could be embedded in a cell phone sleeve for recharging purposes.

The micro-wind turbines include gears, inductors, pop-up switches and grippers. All of those parts are as tiny as a fraction of the diameter of a human hair. The windmills will be turned simply by the force of the air while moving around or set the phone in a windy place to get the tiny propeller blades turning to generate electricity.

The work attracted the attention of Taiwanese electro-mechanical fabrication company WinMEMSTechnologies, which has the researchers brainstorming on designs. The micro-windmills are apparently relatively easy to create — the fabrication cost of making 1 device is the same as making hundreds or thousands on a single wafer, which enables for mass production of very inexpensive systems.

Thousands of the micro-windmills also can be installed on the walls of houses or building to harvest energy for lighting, security or environmental sensing and wireless communication.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

12 Ways To Use Coconut Oil On Our Body and Around The House

12 ways to use coconut oil:

1. Moisturizer: Even it will feel a bit greasy at first, but is quickly absorbed, leaving skin soft and supple. Use it on face, dry skin, chapped lips, and kids’ rosy cheeks.

2. Whipped lotion: Whip 2 cups of coconut oil (or half shea butter) in a stand mixer until soft and fluffy. Add essential oil, if desired. Scoop into a container. The oil will not harden.

3. Face wash and makeup remover: Coconut oil is great for cleaning. Rub a bit between your hands until it softens or melts, then rub all over your face. Wipe away with a hot washcloth.

4. Ultimate hair product: Work a small amount into your hair to tame it and produces well-defined waves and curls without greasiness. Do an overnight deep-condition.

5. Luscious massage oil: Coconut oil does just as good a job as those expensive massage lotions.

6. Spot and stain remover: Rub a piece of coconut oil into a spot on upholstery or a carpet, and it will loosen the stain or item. You can mix with baking soda to make an effective stain remover.

7. Diaper and nipple cream: Apply it to your baby’s bottom for moisturizing and antibacterial treatment. If you’re breastfeeding you can use it to treat sore nipples.

8. Sweetener and whitener for coffee and tea

9. Natural shaving cream

10. Oil pulling: Good for oral health. Swish some coconut oil around your mouth for 15 minutes in the morning to 'pull' bacteria out of your mouth. Spit and rinse with water.

11. Medicinal uses: Coconut oil helps yeast infections, vaginal dryness, ear infections, cold sores, nosebleeds, rashes, and bug bites.

12. Household uses: Season cast iron pans, polish patent leather, remove chewing gum, and clean shower scum with coconut oil on a rag.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Does Coffee Cause Dehydration?

I talked about "10 Things You Might Not Know About Caffeine" a week ago, and now lets discover that any ground is behind the myth of "drinking coffee causes dehydration."

Researchers at the University of Birmingham, U.K., has recently published a study on the fluid levels of 50 men who are habitually consuming 3 to 6 cups of coffee every day, which considered as moderate coffee drinker.

In the study, the 50 participants completed two phases of experiment.

    Phase 1: They drank coffee as their main source of hydration for 3-day.
    Phase 2: They drank equal amounts of water for another 3-day.

The result suggested that coffee, when consumed in moderation, provides similar hydrating qualities to water. Hence, the myth about "coffee causes dehydration" is actually NOT TRUE.

Another study also found that caffeine didn't hinder hydration among athletes who consumed caffeinated beverages after exercising.

Please keep in mind that these findings DON'T suggest that coffee is = to water!

Too much coffee can lead to jitters. And most experts agree that water or sports drinks are best for re-hydrating after fluids have been depleted.

Just like everything, it's best to limit caffeine to moderate levels in order to steer clear of jitters and interruptions to sleep.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Could Doctors Have An Ulterior Motive To Discourage Vitamin And Mineral Supplements?

On 2nd Jan. 2014, I talked about "Are Vitamin And Mineral Supplements Necessary?" Some doctors believe that vitamins and mineral supplements are actually waste of money and they don't add any benefit to our body. Now, there is one article offers another perspective about vitamins and mineral supplements.

According to Katherine Martinko many people feel that the medical community’s desire to crush the multivitamin and dietary supplement market is a direct attack on alternative medicine (such as chiropractors, midwives, acupuncturists, osteopaths, homeopaths, and naturopaths). This is because if we are healthy and taking care of ourselves by other means, doctors and pharmaceutical companies will make less money.

The book Bad Pharma also points out that some doctors get paid thousands of dollars in speaking and consulting fees by pharmaceutical companies, another possible conflict of interest. So perhaps doctors aren’t to be entirely trusted when it comes to opinions about dietary supplements, since it may not be in their best interest to promote their use.

Researchers are known to cherry-pick the data that supports the argument they wish to make. The multivitamin study never mentioned a huge study last year reporting a lower incidence of cancer among men taking supplements. Nor does it address the fact that regular supplement users often report overall ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ health, although that could be due to users having generally healthier lifestyles than non-users, with better nutrition and more exercise. Nevertheless, it's worth keeping in mind that the supplement industry is not nearly as regulated as the pharmaceutical industry, so it's easier for supplement companies to invent claims about their products without doing studies to back them up.

It’s still a good idea to approach multivitamins with caution. They are not a substitute for good nutrition, and many of the cheaper varieties contain worrisome synthetic nutrients. Consult alternative health care practitioners for additional opinions to learn which supplements can be truly beneficial.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Renewable Plants Are Cheaper Than New Fossil Fuels In Australia

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in Australia has discovered that renewable energy is cheaper to produce than conventional fossil fuel sources, even without the subsidies.

The study found that electricity generation cost for a new wind farm is US$83 per MWh, compared to US$148 per MWh for a new coal plant and US$120 per MWh for a new gas plant, including the cost of emissions under the Gillard government’s carbon pricing scheme. However even without a carbon price wind energy is 14% and 18% cheaper than new coal and gas, respectively.

Few reasons driving the lower cost in building new renewable power plants:

(1) The cost has fallen by 10% for wind generation and 29% for solar photovoltaics since 2011.

(2) New coal is made expensive by high financing costs. Banks are unlikely to finance new coal without a substantial risk premium due to the reputational damage of emissions-intensive investments.

(3) New gas is expensive as the massive expansion of Australia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market forces local prices upwards.

(4) Carbon price adds further costs to new coal- and gas-fired plant and is forecast to increase substantially over the lifetime of a new facility.

BNEF’s analysts conclude that by 2020, large-scale solar PV will also be cheaper than coal and gas, when carbon prices are factored in. By 2030, dispatchable renewable generating technologies such as biomass and solar thermal could also be cost-competitive.

Of course, the new wind is cheaper than building new coal and gas, but still cannot compete with old assets that have already been paid off.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Things You Might Not Know About Caffeine

When come to caffeine, a lot of people would think of coffee and know that it will make you feel more alert. In moderate doses, it can boost memory, concentration, and mental health. But how much do we really know about caffeine?

Here are 10 lesser-known facts about caffeine:

(1) Decaf isn't the same as caffeine-free. Decaf coffees still contain caffeine ranging from 8.6mg to 13.9mg, compared to 95mg to 200mg in regular coffees.

(2) It takes 30 to 60 minutes for caffeine to reach its peak level in the blood, and 3 to 5 hours for our body to eliminate half of it. The remainder can linger for 8 to 14 hours.

(3) Caffeine affects people differently. Women generally metabolize caffeine faster than men. Smokers process it twice as quickly as nonsmokers do. Women taking birth control pills metabolize it at perhaps one-third the rate that women not on the Pill do. Asians may do so more slowly than people of other races.

(4) One might think that energy drinks would pack loads of caffeine. On the contrary, they contain considerably less than an old-fashioned cup of black coffee. An 8.4-ounce serving of Red Bull, for instance, has a relatively modest 76 to 80mg of caffeine, compared to 95mg to 200mg in a typical cup of coffee.

(5) Dark roasted coffees have less caffeine than lighter ones. This is because the roasting process burns off caffeine. So if you prefer less caffeine then you might opt for dark coffee.

(6) Caffeine is found in more than 60 plants. Tea leaves, kola nuts (which flavor colas), and cocoa beans all contain caffeine.

(7) All coffees are not created equal. It varies from brand to brand. For example, McDonald's coffee had 9.1mg per fluid ounce, while Starbucks' contains 20.6mg per fluid ounce.

(8) 80% of American adults consume caffeine each day, with average intake of 200mg, equivalent to 2 five-ounce cups of coffee or 4 sodas.

(9) Finland takes the crown for the country with the highest caffeine consumption, with the average adult taking 400mg each day. Worldwide, 90% of people use caffeine in some form.

(10) You can intake caffeine not just from drinks. Even though more than 98% of caffeine intake comes from beverages (like coffee, cola, etc), certain foods, such as chocolate (one-ounce milk chocolate bar contains about 5mg of caffeine), and medications can also contain caffeine.

Source: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/10-surprising-facts-about-caffeine

Monday, January 6, 2014

23% Of 2012 Global Electricity Generated By Renewable Sources

National Renewable Energy Lab, U.S.A, reports that in 2012 23% of global electricity (4,892 TWh) was generated from renewable sources. Among all countries, Germany led in cumulative solar photovoltaic installed capacity, U.S.A. led in geothermal and biomass installed capacity, China led in wind and Spain led in solar thermal electric generation.

Few key findings are:

(1) The installed global renewable electricity capacity almost doubled between 2000 and 2012 (from 748 GW to 1,470 GW).

(2) In 2012, renewable electricity accounted for 14% of total installed capacity.

(3) Between 2000 and 2012, wind energy was one of the fastest growing renewable electricity technologies. Global wind electricity generation increased by a factor of nearly 16.

(4) Top countries with installed renewable electricity capacity:
      - China
      - U.S.A.
      - Brazil
      - Canada
      - Gremany

(5) Below graph shows the leading countries in various renewable technologies:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are Vitamin And Mineral Supplements Necessary?

A lot of us are taking vitamin and mineral supplements every day thinking that they would help to keep us healthy and vigorous. Supplement industry is a huge and fast-growing market in U.S.A. and Europe. It has reached annual sales of US$28 billion in U.S.A in 2010. Supplements may be a very popular source of nutrients, but according to an article published on December 16 in Annals of Internal Medicine, they are nothing but a huge waste of money.

Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. In some cases, multivitamin supplements could even cause harm.

There were 3 parts to the study:

(1) Clinical trials carried out on 450,000 people found that it has never been scientifically established whether long-term vitamin use prevents heart disease and cancer.

(2) A 12-year study of 6,000 male physicians age 65 and older showed that those who took a multivitamin were no more likely to retain cognitive function than those who took a placebo. In fact, some supplements even cause harm, such as beta-carotene that increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers, and high doses of vitamins A and E that may increase risk of death and cause harm.

(3) A 5-year study done on 1,700 people who had record of heart attack before, with part took high doses of minerals and vitamins and part didn't. No difference found on the rate of heart attack on these 2 groups.

The study recommends that establishing healthy dietary habits is more important than ever. Supplements are not a replacement for the vitamins and minerals that come from eating a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet on a regular basis.