|Can we really ever live healthily until 100 YEARS OLD?
A: A few people already achieve this! The real question is whether
we can make this option more widely available. There is a great deal
of evidence to suggest that we can do this via enhanced nutrition, which
can slow the appearance of many of the signs of ageing — such as
the run-down of the immune system, or the furring of arteries.
I take an A-Z MULTI-VITAMIN daily. Is this all I need?
A: NO. I believe that the whole A to Z concept is a bit of a con-trick,
as the implicit promise is that they will give you all you need. That
just isn’t true.
A to Z’s generally contain the RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances)
of the vitamins and minerals that have RDAs — but RDAs are designed
to prevent deficiency diseases (such as scurvy, beriberi and pellagra);
they are not high enough to give you the best chance of long-term health.
Perhaps even more worryingly, we now know of many new micronutrients
that are critically important to protect your health — such as
lutein, lycopene, isoflavones, Omega 3 oils and prebiotic fibres —
but these do not yet have RDA values, so are not included at all.
My teenage son suffers terribly from ACNE? Is there anything I can include in his diet that might help him?
A: Diet is not primarily responsible for acne, but the following combination
seems to be useful in some cases: Omega 3 oils, combined with Vitamins
C and E, and high dose flavonoids (ginger, turmeric or bilberry). This
provides a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, and may also reduce the
effect of testosterone on the sebaceous cysts which are involved in
the acne eruptions. Silicic acid applied topically has also been reported
to be helpful.
Is it possible to slow the AGEING
A: UNDOUBTEDLY. Many of the signs of the ageing process (furring of
the arteries, thinning of bone, the run-down of the immune system, etc)
are nothing to do with ageing itself, but are caused by progressively
worsening nutrition; eating habits, and nutritional status are well
known to deteriorate with age. Intensive micro-nutritional support can
slow and even reverse many of the symptoms of ageing.
I’ve read aluminium cookware could be at
the root of ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, is this
true? What can I eat or take to lower my risk?
A: Aluminium is not the only or even the most important cause of Alzheimer’s.
However, it is in principle a good thing to reduce your exposure to
aluminium, as certain forms of this mineral are very toxic to the brain
— and anything that kills brain cells will contribute to reduced
brain function. Therefore, do not cook acid fruits in aluminium saucepans
— the bright metal which shows after cooking shows just how much
aluminium has been dissolved, and eaten!
If the drinking water in your area is surface water (ie from rivers
or lakes), then consider a silicic acid supplement. This binds to aluminium
salts and turns them into aluminium silicates — or sand.
What can I take to prevent or treat ARTHRITIS?
A: A combination of anti-inflammatory agents such as turmeric, ginger
or MSM (methylsulphonylmethane); with cartilage builders glucosamine
hydrochloride and manganese. To protect against developing rheumatoid
arthritis, try to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections (see
Health Defence for details). You can do this by incorporating cranberry
juice into your daily regime.
Is there anything I can do to control my ASTHMA?
A: Yes. You need a variety of anti-inflammatory agents, and I would
include fish oils (which must be combined with Vitamins E and C), turmeric
and ginkgo. These will help to make the airways less twitchy; and once
the inflammation has been dampened, a lecithin preparation may give
additional help. Finally, the smooth muscle of the airways can be made
to relax somewhat by switching from salt to low-sodium, high magnesium/potassium
Are supplements really necessary if I eat
a BALANCED DIET?
A: YES. Unless you are a full-time athlete, you can’t eat enough
food to provide sufficiently high levels of all the micronutrients you
need. Government surveys carried out in America and Europe show that
the vast majority of people don’t even get the RDAs of all the
vitamins and minerals from their diet — and are therefore suffering
from multiple micronutrient depletion.
If you eat a lot of processed foods, and/or smoke, or are elderly or
diabetic, you are likely to be even more malnourished.
Is BETAINE a
mineral or vitamin and what is it for?
A: Betaine is not a classical vitamin, although it has many vitamin-like
qualities, and for that reason is sometimes known as Vitamin B10. Basically
an amino acid, and one which occurs in many foods (although generally
at low levels), this compound is the most effective methyl group donor
known. For this reason it is added to pig and cattle feed to give the
animals all-round protection against stresses and toxins.
From our point of view, the ability of betaine to reduce homocysteine
levels makes it an essential component in any nutraceutical
programme designed to protect against coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s
and probably osteoporosis as well.
What is the best way to prevent or treat HIGH
A: Lose weight if overweight. Switch from table salt to a potassium-based
salt substitute. High dose flavonoids will, over a period of several
weeks, restore your arteries’ normal ability to dilate, lowering
blood pressure further.
I take a CALCIUM
supplement. Will this protect my BONES
in old age?
A: Calcium on its own – or even when combined with magnesium and
Vitamin D – is not very effective at preserving bones.
To gain better protection, you need to combine these minerals with
a number of other micronutrients, including Vitamins K, C and B6; the
minerals copper, zinc and manganese; and the amino sugar glucosamine
hydrochloride. In my opinion glucosamine hydrochloride is preferable
to the sulphate form.
How does one lower the risk of developing
A: Increase your intake of tomatoes, soy and Brazil nuts. In terms
of supplements, take the carotenoid lycopene, the soy isoflavones, and
the mineral selenium; all of which are linked to a reduced risk of this
paticularly unpleasant form of cancer.
Which vitamins and minerals should I be taking
to lower my risk of getting CANCER?
A: Include anti-oxidants such as Vitamins C, E, and the minerals selenium,
copper, zinc and manganese. Carotenes such as lycopene (tomatoes) and
alpha carotene (mangoes, carrots) isoflavones such as genistein (soy),
prebiotics (FOS) and inulin. Also sulphur compounds in vegetables such
as broccoli and kale.
Is there anything one should eat or take once
diagnosed with CANCER?
A: Many studies show that higher intakes of various micronutrients
are associated with a reduced risk of various cancers, but there is
relatively little information on the efficacy of nutraceutical programs
in cancer. One exception to this are a couple of trials in which the
carotenoid lycopene was given to men with prostate cancer — with
positive results. Another clinical trial will shortly proceed in the
UK, giving an advanced nutraceutical programme to patients with a particular
form of cancer, but this is still at a very early stage.
However, some micronutrients have been shown to have anti-cancer effects
in various animal models of cancer, and in in-vitro systems.
Given the safety of these micronutrients, if I was diagnosed with cancer,
I would personally take the following : lycopene, genistein, selenium,
berry flavonoids, and high dose Q10.
Beyond this it is hard to make recommendations, as cancers in different
sites may respond to different interventions; for example, in the case
of colo-rectal cancer, I would personally consider taking a prebiotic
which is broken down in the colon to produce butyrate, a compound with
significant anti-cancer effects.
I’ve read that CHOCOLATE
is supposed to be good for you, surely this is not true?
A: Depends on the chocolate. Dark chocolate (the good stuff) contains
flavonoid compounds known as cocoa red, similar to the flavonoids in
red wine or green tea. These molecules are cardio-protective and vaso-protective.
Milk chocolate contains less of these valuable molecules, and white
chocolate is a flavonoid-free zone. Don’t forget the calories though!
I take a COD LIVER
OIL supplement for my joints. Is there anything else I can do?
A: YES. Cod liver oil tastes bad enough to seem like a medicine, but
it is an old-fashioned and relatively ineffective remedy.
Omega 3 fish oils are more powerfully anti-inflammatory, as are many
of the flavonoid preparations. To actually rebuild the damaged joint(s),
you should look at glucosamine (the hydrochloride form), together with
manganese. Many people find that MSM can also help.
What is Co Q10?
Is it a vitamin?
A: Strictly speaking, Q10 is not a vitamin because we can produce it
in the body, where it is essential for energy production and is also
a key anti-oxidant. However, as we age our ability to make Q10 is reduced
(as also happens after liver damage.) In these circumstances the shortfall
in Q10 can contribute to many health problems, and accordingly a Q10
supplement may confer significant health benefits.
Are there any COMBINATIONS
OF NUTRIENTS that shouldn’t be taken together?
A: With very few exceptions, micronutrients work best in combination
— and most people are so malnourished they need more than one micronutrient
anyway. Micronutrients are not like drugs (ie ‘magic bullets’,
best used as monotherapies); instead, they are best used in combinations
specifically designed to rectify the complex metabolic imbalances which
are the main cause of the degenerative diseases.
I’ve just been diagnosed with Adult-onset
(Type 2) DIABETES. Is there anything I
can do to help myself?
A: Cut down on potatoes, confectionery and baked goods (breads, cakes,
biscuits). Switch to less refined carbohydrate foods, ie beans, pulses,
coarse flours and oat products. If you need sweetness, switch from sugar
to oligofructose, and intense sweeteners such as aspartame and xylitol.
Take Vitamins C and E, a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement,
and high dose flavonoids to prevent excessive glycosylation (damage)
to proteins in the arteries, kidneys and lenses of the eye. Try chromium
also, which may help reduce sugar cravings in some cases. Finally, take
more exercise, or alternatively try a cold exposure programme. (See
Brown Fat, on this website).
Is there anything I can take for my ECZEMA?
A: A difficult question, as it depends on the cause of the eczema.
However, try a combination of anti-inflammatory agents (such as high
dose turmeric, with fish oil and the anti-oxidant vitamins). In some
cases, additional glucosamine hydrochloride supplements may offer further
Are EGGS really
bad for you?
A: No. It was formerly thought that the cholesterol in eggs made them
a heart hazard, but it is now known that the cholesterol they contain
boosts levels of the good form of cholesterol in the body, namely HDL
cholesterol; which is cardio-protective.
Furthermore, the deep coloration of organic eggs indicates that they
contain carotenes, valuable micronutrients that protect our health in
Are there any nutrients I should be taking
to safeguard my EYESIGHT?
A: YES. There is good evidence that both cataracts and macular degeneration
are largely due to free radical damage, and therefore appropriate anti-oxidant
supplements are recommended. Lutein has had a lot of publicity, but
should on no account be used on its own. It should always be combined
with Vitamin C, riboflavin, and the anti-oxidant minerals zinc, copper,
selenium and manganese. In advanced cases, or in cases of diabetic retinopathy,
berry flavonoids should also be included.
I’ve heard the term FREE
RADICALS. What are they?
A: Free radicals are reactive particles, which can be atoms or molecules.
If these are formed inside the body, they can attack cells and tissues,
damaging and destroying them in a way which is now strongly linked to
the development of various disease states. We can reduce the damaging
effect of free radicals by neutralising them both with anti-oxidant
enzymes, and anti-oxidant compounds such as Vitamins C and E, the flavonoids
Why is GARLIC
so good for you ?
A: Garlic has a long tradition of medicinal use, and there is some
scientific data which backs this up. A combination of various effects
(including a slight reduction in LDL cholesterol, some anti-oxidant
activity, and a reduction of platelet stickiness) would seem to offer
a degree of cardio-protection — although this has never actually
The other effects so often cited (anti-bacterial, anti-viral, etc)
almost certainly do not occur at normally ingested doses. But apart
from that, it tastes great.
What is GLUCOSAMINE?
Should everyone take it?
A; Glucosamine is involved in tissue repair; so anyone practising contact
sports may want to take this to speed recovery from injury. In addition,
it is involved in the regeneration of cartilage — so arthritics
often gain benefits with glucosamine. Our ability to make glucosamine
in the body slows down after the age of 40 or thereabouts, so a prophylactic
glucosamine hydrochloride supplement can slow or even prevent the emergence
What is GRAPESEED
EXTRACT and should I take it?
A: This is a rich source of flavonoids, which have a variety of health
benefits. Cardio- and vaso-protection is combined with anti-inflammatory
and a degree of anti-cancer effects. If you suffer from a chronic inflammatory
condition, this is one product that you should try. (It is a cheaper
equivalent to Pycnogenol, the pine bark extract).
I am 50 and have been diagnosed with
a HEART CONDITION. Is it too late to start
taking vitamin and mineral supplements?
A: NO. As long as tissue is viable, it may be possible to salvage it,
and restore function. This means that if an artery is still open, despite
atheroma build-up, it may be possible to reverse this aspect of the
disease process and restore normal blood flow. It is only very late
in the disease sequence, ie after an irreversible event such as a heart
attack with consequent death of heart muscle, that tissue renewal is
no longer possible. Even at this late stage, however, there are things
we can take (such as Omega 3 oils and flavonoids) which will reduce
the risk of subsequent arrhythmias and blood clots.
What should I include in my diet to lower
my risk of HEART DISEASE?
A: Fresh fruits and vegetables, oily fish, onions, oats and soy bean
products. Learn to drink your tea black, or switch to green tea; and
move over from white wine to red. Cut down on saturated fats, processed
foods and sugars — and if you are a smoker, STOP!!
My family has a history of HEART
DISEASE, how can I best protect myself?
A: If your LDL cholesterol level is very high, bring it down with soy
protein, prebiotics such as FOS, and/or citrus juice.
Protect the HDL cholesterol with anti-oxidants, beginning with Vitamins
E and C, and a good multi-mineral supplement. Boost HDL (‘good’)
cholesterol with exercise, betaine, and moderate alcohol!
Finally, protect your arteries with flavonoids, as in berry fruits,
green tea, dark chocolate and red wine; and cut down on deep fried foods
and salt. If you smoke, try to stop.
Why should I eat HIGH
A: Whole grain cereals are now known to reduce the risk of coronary
artery disease, and everyone knows a higher fibre diet helps to prevent
constipation. Some of the cereals (especially oats) also provide prebiotic
fibres; and are in general a good source of B vitamins. They also have
anti-oxidant activity, although it is not yet known whether the anti-oxidant
elements in fibres offer health benefits.
What are HYDROGENATED
OILS? Why are they bad for you?
A: These are vegetable oils that have been boiled and altered chemically
to turn them into fats. When eaten they mimic normal fats, and obstruct
their normal metabolism. They are linked to heart disease and possibly
other health disorders.
What can I do to control my IBS
(Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?
A: Peppermint oil is often used; and may be combined with a glucosamine
supplement (hydrochloride form) for longer-term benefits. Prebiotics
can be extremely helpful in some cases; it is important to start with
small doses, and gradually increase them until benefits are noticed,
as a sudden high dose of these fibres can make the short-term problems
What would you recommend to boost one’s
A: Do you want a stimulant, or an immune support? If the former, then
Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) is one well-documented herb. If you want
an immune support, then a comprehensive vitamin and mineral supplement
is required, together with a methyl group donor like betaine. If your
immune system is suppressed by either over-exercise or stress, you need
the amino acid glutamine or an adaptogen such as one of the ginsengs.
There have been stories in the media about
something called LYCOPENE, what is it,
and what is it good for?
A: Lycopene is found in tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup
and passata. It is related to beta carotene, but appears to be very
much more cancer-protective; an increased consumption of lycopene is
linked to reduced risk of cancer of the prostate, breast and gastro-intestinal
tract. The protection is probably due to the ability of this valuable
nutrient to force cancer cells to ‘re-differentiate’, ie turn
back to being normal, non-cancerous cells. Lycopene is also a strong
anti-oxidant, and is thought to be considerably cardio-protective.
Why is it better to eat MACKEREL
OR SALMON than haddock or plaice?
A: Oily fish such as herring, mackerel and salmon contain Omega 3 oils,
which are not found in white fish. These oils are cardio-protective,
and have other health benefits as well (See Health Defence for details).
I want to preserve my MEMORY,
what can I eat or which supplements can I take?
A: Start by increasing your intake of the main anti-oxidants, including
Vitamins C and E, and the carotenes. Make sure you have enough selenium
in your diet or supplement, together with the other anti-oxidant metals
copper, zinc and manganese. Add in the B vitamins, and betaine. This
combination will give you a head start. To gain an additional level
of protection add in lecithin, or phosphatidyl serine. If there are
vascular problems, add a high dose flavonoid supplement.
Is there anything I can take to ease the
symptoms of the MENOPAUSE?
A: The isoflavones and related compounds in soy, flax seed and red
clover have all been reported to reduce menopausal symptoms such as
mood swings, hot flushes and loss of libido. These can be obtained in
supplement forms, or by a switch to a carefully defined vegetarian diet.
If I took every NUTRIENT
I’ve been recommended I would rattle! What is the answer?
A: I recommend a comprehensive formulation – one that crams all
the micronutrients into a relatively small number of pills (ie 5-7).
Why are OATS supposed
to be so good for you?
A: Oats are a good source of two different types of fibre. They contain
the prebiotic betaglucans, which are cardio- and CChem-protective; they
also contain the more old-fashioned fibre known formerly as ‘roughage’,
which aids bowel function.
Oats are also a reasonable source of the mineral chromium, which can
enhance insulin’s effects in the body, and has been shown to help
some adult-onset diabetics.
Why is ORGANIC FOOD
supposed to be better?
A: It’s not entirely clear yet whether organic food really is
better for you, although there are a few studies which suggest it might
Organic foods contain lower levels of artificial pesticides (they should
really contain none at all), which may have some slight health benefits.
Perhaps more significantly, they generally contain higher levels of
some of the more recently discovered micronutrients such as the flavonoids
and carotenes, and this may present significant health advantages.
However, agro-industry has learned how to persuade even intensively
grown crops to generate the same levels of these compounds — so
the differences between organic and non-organic will soon be reduced.
My mother has advanced OSTEOPOROSIS?
Is there anything she can do or eat to halt its progression?
A: Yes. Doctors routinely prescribe HRT, and bisphosphonates, but there
are problems associated with both of these approaches.
If you prefer to take a nutritional route, stock up on the micronutrients
needed to make osteoid, the precursor of bone. These include the minerals
zinc, copper and manganese, the Vitamins C, B6 and K, the amino sugar
glucosamine; and Vitamin D. With these micronutrients in place, you
will not be so dependent on huge (excessive) doses of calcium and magnesium;
and the rate of osteoporosis should be slowed, and perhaps even stabilised.
Ipriflavone is also recommended by many practitioners.
What is the difference between PREBIOTICS
A: Probiotics are the so-called ‘friendly’ bacteria’
found in fermented dairy products such as yoghurts. Some strains of
bacterium are useful, and may help to protect against stomach upsets,
but many others are ineffective.
Prebiotics are a type of fibre, such as FOS, or the betaglucans found
in oats, which are not digested but pass through into the large bowel,
where they stimulate the growth of the ‘friendly bacteria’
By and large, prebiotics are cheaper, more stable, and have a greater
effect on the bacterial populations in the gut. They are also likely
to be cancer-protective, whereas there is little evidence that the probiotics
have any similar effect.
I am six months PREGNANT.
Should I be taking an iron supplement?
A: Iron-deficiency anaemia is the single most common deficiency syndrome,
and women of child-bearing age are the highest risk category. However,
iron supplements should really only be taken if the symptoms of anaemia
are present (ie pallor, fatigue, chronic infections), or if anaemia
has actually been diagnosed.
What is SELENIUM?
Is it true it can boost MALE FERTILITY?
A: YES — but only if the infertility is due to selenium depletion.
Infertility caused by other factors (and there are many of them) would
not respond to selenium supplements. However, selenium depletion is
common in the UK, due to dietary shifts, and is therefore a probable
contributory factor in many cases.
I’ve spent years sunbathing and I am now
worried about SKIN CANCER AND WRINKLES.
Is there anything I can do, or is it too late?
A: Stop sunbathing — but if the beach habits are too hard to break,
learn the Australian slip/slap/slop routine: slip into a shirt, slap
on a hat, slop on the sunscreen.
If you’re a smoker, do try to stop; boost your intake of anti-oxidants,
especially the flavonoids, and if you’re over 40 add a glucosamine
supplement (in hydrochloride form) to the mix. This will help to slow
the development of wrinkles.
If you’re really concerned about the possibility of skin cancer
(ie you have pale skin and red or blonde hair, or have experienced bad
sunburn on one or more occasions, or have worrying skin symptoms such
as an enlarged or bleeding mole), then high dose carotenes, together
with selenium, could offer some protection.
Why is SMOKING
so bad for me?
A: It floods your body with a toxic mixture of free radicals and other
carcinogens, so please try to quit. A more complete explanation, including
nutraceutical strategies to reduce the harmful effects of smoking, can
be found elsewhere on this site.
What is the best way of taking vitamins,
in SOFT CAPSULE OR TABLET form?
A: Vitamin C, the B vitamins (including betaine) and the minerals can
be taken in tablets or hard capsules, which are among the cheapest delivery
forms. The essential fatty acids, and fat-soluble micronutrients such
as Vitamins C, D and K, CoEnzyme Q10 and the carotenes, are generally
better absorbed when taken pre-dissolved in oil, in a soft-gel capsule.
How can I increase my SOY
A: Try cooking with soy beans, either soaking from dry or using pre-soaked,
available in cans from some supermarkets – or use tofu. Other soy
products such as the meat substitutes are often more widely available,
and will offer some of the health benefits of soy such as cholesterol
I’ve read that SOY
is good for you? Why is this?
A: The U.S. FDA has accepted the evidence that a diet which provides
25g or more of soy per day can help to lower cholesterol levels, and
this is thought to be cardio-protective. The isoflavones in some soy
extracts offer additional cardio-protection. The isoflavones are also
linked to protection against certain cancers, and a reduced risk of
Can diet help alleviate STRESS?
A: In the broadest sense, yes. Many nutritionists suggest you reduce
your intake of refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol — and I have
no problem with this.
However, to gain more significant anti-stress benefits, you really
need an adaptogen such as one of the ginsengs. Chinese (Panax ginseng)
is the most commonly known, but the Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
and the Indian forms (Withania somnifera) are rather cleaner, ie have
somewhat fewer side-effects.
I’ve heard that SUPPLEMENTS
are not absorbed by the body and are simply passed out in urine, is
A: Not necessarily. It depends on how well the supplements are designed,
and how they are consumed (ie in relation to mealtimes, etc). Good supplements
have actually been shown to provide some micronutrients more effectively
be taken in combination?
A: In almost all cases the answer is yes. Very few micronutrients work
well as single agents, and some of them (including Vitamin E, the carotenes,
and possibly the mineral manganese), may have adverse effects if used
on their own. The other point is that most people are depleted in most
micronutrients; and their risk of developing a degenerative disease
is related to their overall pattern of depletion. In the vast majority
of cases, therefore, it is more logical to take a well-designed micronutrient
Why doesn’t my GP recommend SUPPLEMENTS?
A: GPs are only trained in conventional medicine, and many of them
know relatively little about nutrition. You might recommend them to
have a quick look at my book Health Defence!
I’ve always thought TEA
was bad for you, is this true?
A: I don’t buy this old-fashioned idea. Tea contains flavonoids,
with green tea coming out ahead of Oolong, followed by the black teas.
These are thought to be cardio- and chemo-protective.
I am always TIRED,
could I be deficient in something?
A: You probably are, although this isn’t necessarily the cause
of your feeling tired, which might be due to anything from an uncomfortable
bed to noisy neighbours, or stress-related insomnia. However, multiple
micronutrient depletion is frequently implicated, so a good multi-vitamin
and mineral supplement, combined with Co-Q10, is often helpful.
I buy VITAMIN E
at my chemist. I’ve noticed some is labelled natural source and some
isn’t. What is the difference, and which is better?
A: Natural source is almost certainly better. This is because of the
complex structure of Vitamin E; the molecule may take up to 8 different
forms, and only one of these (dl-alpha) is thought to be fully effective
as an anti-oxidant in the body. Most natural sources provide dl-alpha;
synthetic products contain all 8 forms, and may be considerably less
effective, or even counter-productive.
Can one take too many VITAMINS
A: YES. Some minerals can be toxic in overdose, such as selenium, copper,
manganese, and iron; a relatively small overdose of iron (ie 4-6 times
the RDA) can kill a small child.
Vitamin A can cause problems in overdose in pregnant women; doses only
a few times the RDA have been linked to an increased risk of foetal
Even small doses of Vitamin K can cause problems in people taking anti-clotting
agents. And both Vitamin E and the carotenes can be harmful if taken
in large amounts, unless given in combination with Vitamin C. Micronutrients
are potent molecules, and can cause harm if taken unwisely. This is
why the regulatory authorities have determined Upper Safety Levels (USLs)
for most of them.
Why is LIVE YOGHURT
better for you?
A: Some live yoghurts are better (than pasteurised yoghurts), but not
all of them; it depends on the culture that was used to make the yoghurt.
Some, like the Shirota strain in Yakult or LC1 in the Nestlé
range, have been shown to persist in the gut and may therefore offer
some protection against various GI problems. Other strains of bacterium
used in various yoghurts are killed off in the stomach, and probably
don’t do us any good at all.