From Your Brains, Bones & Blood Vessels to Your Distributor Cap… Fish Oils

It’s a general archaeological truism that Africa is the cradle of humanity, but an interesting addendum has recently been theorised…there was a particular dietary constituent that appears to have fuelled the southern African groups who became artists and explorers and some of whom eventually fanned northward into the cooler climes.  Fish…lots of this real food of the gods.  Around the globe the evidence is mounting that coastal societies with access to lots of fish were bright, artistic and inventive; more so than their inland cousins.  The far northern and southern coastal groups also likely got more sun by the shores.  And have you wondered about the ‘crazy people’ who talk about spraying WD 40 on their rusty elbows and making their arthritic pains feel better?  It’s not bunk…  I’ll get to this.
Fish oils come from the oily fish; sardines, salmon, anchovies, herring, mackerel, cod or fish liver and now krill (whale food).  The fat soluble vitamins A & D come from the fish liver oils and then there are the Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), essential because we can’t make them so we need to eat them.  These EFAs come from the skin and oily parts other than fish livers.  Recent findings suggest that we need more EFAs than we had previously accepted.  In fish, these EFAs are comprised of the long chain omega-3 oils, EPA and DHA.   No labels you’ve commonly seen write out the full names… eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.
Most cardiac physicians and internists in Jamaica now regularly suggest fish oils for the circulatory system and the beneficial effects on the joints have long been known.  It has also been newly publicised that your brains really need them too.  They are MAJOR brain conditioners, yes, against both dementia and Alzheimer’s too.  The archaeologists are actually calling fish ‘brain food’.  And what of our old friends Vitamins A & D?  Vitamin A is still critical for your eyes (comforting to know that this never changes from one minute to the next) but the story on Vitamin D has recently changed radically.  We need way more of it than was previously recommended.  Why?  A combination of factors including:

– People bathe with soap too often – twice per day is too much.   Use soap once per day.  If you must bathe more than once just do so under running water only and soap your “three armpits”!!  Soap washes off all the natural oils that the sun converts to essential Vitamin D.1

– People use too much sun block – sunlight is essential for the conversion of natural skin fats to Vitamin D, needed for absorption of calcium by bone, etc. and lack of Vitamin D will eventually result in bone calcium loss (osteoporosis).  By the way, sun block 15 gives you 95 % block.  Anything over that gives 100% sun block coverage.  Keep in mind, many of the sun block micro-chemicals & minerals are absolutely toxic and are themselves cancer forming.  You have to know which ones are okay to use, but this article is not about that story.

– Non-organic, commercial food quality has lost 50% of food value over the past century with genetic modification, depletion of soil nutrients & agri- & aquaculture methods unable to duplicate full nutritive value of feeds and fertilisers provided by nature.

– More indoor living – you get less of the sun’s UVA or B rays which convert the skin oil to Vitamin D.

Early last year I first came across the opinion that it’s harder to poison yourself on Vitamin D than was formerly thought.  A key Israeli researcher at a conference said he and his family gorge on 50,000 IU of Vitamin D per day!  Well, I think this amount is “nuts”, BUT guess what…practising oncologists I know and I use up to 5000 IU per day for cancer patients and those deficient in Vit D for whatever the reason and 2000-3000 IU per day is very good for anyone.  The active Vitamin D3 is what you’re after.

Concomitantly, the recommended time we should spend in the sun has also gone up – going from no more than 15 mins per day for those that live in the tropics and an hour for those that live farther north/south, to an hour a day for us tropicals and up to 2.5 hours for temperate and arctic types (please read as – exposure to UV light and remember I did not say go and roast yourself in UV cabinets which, when used MODERATELY and under a serious practitioner’s advice, can be very helpful).

As to the business of WD 40…well, its main substance is made from denatured fish oil and fish oils are anti-inflammatory for the joints.  In addition, the skin will absorb anything that is carbon chain based (like oils) if specific chemical ligands are not attached to the oil to prevent its absorption.  The denatured, anti-inflammatory fish oils soak in around the joints and make quite a few arthritic ones feel better.  Kindly note that I am not suggesting this as a formal prescription nor am I suggesting you consume it.  I’d rather you change your diet to fix your joints and spray the WD 40 on your distributor cap instead, inside and out, when you know you’re going out in bad weather so your car won’t shut off.  Remember too that WD40 is inflammable so do put out your cigarettes and be very careful of sparks in your distributor and electrical panels when you are using WD40!!  Flash burns are not uncommon with WD40.1

Okay, now what to do about taking fish oil supplements…?  I tell all my clients to “mix things up”.  Take oils from different sources so you get a more balanced mixture of EFAs and Vitamins A & D.  One month buy good old cod liver oil and take 6- 8 pearls per day.  Next month buy fish oil and take 3 big gels per day.  Next, pure salmon oil if you can get it and take 4 per day (these gels are usually smaller). Next buy krill oil and take an extra gel more than recommended on the bottle.  If you buy liquid oils take 1 to 1.5 tablespoons per day.  Why the mix up?  It’s one way of cutting down on the mercury issue and getting other micro-nutrients from one that another may not have.  You can also now get mercury filtered oils, but filtering always takes some good stuff out too.  Try and get the absolutely natural stuff, nothing added or ‘taken out’ with one exception, Vitamin E…a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory most richly found in plant material.  The manufacturers put it in fish/fish liver oils to improve its shelf life, but it will improve you too!   To tell the truth, I always tell my clients to not only do the mix of fish/fish liver oils as mentioned above, but also to add the flax, borage, coconut, sesame, olive, avocado and algae families of oils as alternates because these additional sources give you Vitamin E’s and plant omega-3s with none, or less (in the algae oils), of the toxins like mercury.  If you are already a DAILY imbiber of salmon, sardine, mackerel, herring and the plant sources, you can cut the above recommendations in half.  I am not saying fry or drown everything in oil…that tablespoon and ½ per day is IT for fat…period (okay, fling in 1 pat of butter if you like because the butyric acid is now said to fight colon cancer (!) and it has Vitamins A, if it’s really naturally yellow, and D).

Furthermore, there is also an issue which the various manufacturers and authorities rarely mention; heat and light oxidation of these oils.   Try to buy any fish/fish liver oil in dark glass containers that you cannot see through and keep all in the fridge.  As with all oils that are good for you, fish/fish liver oils do more harm than good if over heated or oxidised.  When your COSCO bottle with 1000 gels in it that you only take now and then has been sitting on your kitchen counter for 6 months or so and is smelling ‘high’… throw it out!  Oxidation of oils is really bad for you and it’s one of the reasons old fish smells bad even before it’s inedible.  Worse yet, the ageing oils absorb the toxins of the ageing plastic (if that’s what your container is made of) and create harmful substances in the form of too many oestrogen-like (female hormone) compounds.  Oestrogen overload is one of today’s poison plagues due to all the plastic containers in which we sell oils.

The benefits?  Fish oils are powerful cancer preventers (unless rotten and then they positively are a CAUSE of cancer).  In addition, these oils ensure better circulation, better brain power, less joint pain, less menstrual pain, less dizziness, less wobbly walking, less migraine and ease depression.  Not bad for a food source that we love to catch and eat but about which we remain environmentally negligent and too often wrongly say that it ‘kyaan dun’.

Condition Yourself for an Active Life!

Coach Justin's new book

Long overdue, Jamaica is taking preventive medicine most seriously via sports medicine because we’ve suddenly found ourselves to be world class in this arena!  Here, finally, is a book by a Jamaican, sadly, up to now, always abroad as our best educated often are, but it’s a start.  The thing is, we need to get our 3 Rs up to par with out medal winning on track so that people like Mills and Bolt can write or help write and not be written for…that’s the thing!  Bolt himself says he’s ‘not a reader’ so there has to be two sides to every story…we still need Caribbean readers and writers!

So here it is! We’re at the start!   Jamaican Justin Cresser, a  football coach and strength and conditioning trainer,  has written ” Total Soccer Conditioning: A  Ball-Oriented Approach”

SCUBA, Your Brain, Breath & Alternative Mental & Respiratory Rehabilitation

Ever thought of SCUBA as mental and respiratory rehabilitation? And what’s the reason that brain, breath and lungs are linked in healing and recovery?  Well one organ is obvious, but I’ll just remind you that as an ‘end user’, the brain is the most voracious consumer of oxygen, 4 minutes without it and the brain dies, unless under hypothermic conditions.  Enter SCUBA, singing, yoga, tai chi and meditation…  All these activities have major physiological influence if indulged as forms of relaxation and breath work is at their core.

Do you have chronic sinusitis, allergies or ENT problems?  Do you have CONTROLLED asthma? Do you have BEGINNING COPD?  Are you depressed?  Are you a recovering substance abuser (yep! alcohol, drugs, nicotinic smoke)?  In all cases you must get medical and dive instructor clearance if you want to try SCUBA but if you’re eligible to participate and the idea of SCUBA appeals to you, you’re in for a long term treat.

I’m talking to you from sunny Jamaica so I’ll tell you that when I dived, I used to wonder why the world looked so wonderful when I came up after a half an hour floating around.  It had to do with improved gas exchange, the rhythm of the air and other movement, release of endorphins, soothing sound and three things common to SCUBA alone on a regular basis, the illusion of no gravity, the sea and often wonderful visual stimulation.  SCUBA, yoga, meditation, tai-chi and singing all involve a combination of at least 4 of the elements listed so let’s look at each of these elements and the ‘SCUBA specials’ as related to healing and recovery.

Comparing the 5 relaxation options, SCUBA and meditation are like going for a gentle walk and the other three are more structured so that they can feel like a gentle walk or a sprint. Now reach way back and think of yourself in the womb – you were floating around, completely relaxed and listening to and feeling the steady rhythms of your mother’s breath and your own and her heartbeat. This is the primal link to the effect on us of these 5 forms of relaxation.

Some integrative practitioners do prescribe singing, tai chi, yoga and meditation to clients but I haven’t met any who include SCUBA. I’m going to walk you through what SCUBA is good for, because apart from what it’s done for me, I know two recovering addicts whom I would call ‘recovered’ due to SCUBA – their lives have been completely turned around.   So if other forms of breathing exercise seem boring to you – again, after medical and instructor clearance – try SCUBA.

Air – it’s filtered pure air under high pressure, no allergens or pollutants.  When else do your brains and lungs get such a treat? The more you oxygenate a brain (I did not say hyperoxygenate!) that is depressed or addicted the better its chances of ‘rewiring’ itself. This is deep breathing for fun – they tell you breathe normally but both the environment and the air are pressurised so the effect is like deep breathing and you know they tell you to deep breathe for mental and respiratory rehab.

Sound – SCUBA produces what artists and sound people and scientists call ‘pink noise’, a rhythmic background sound – your own breathing – and it’s quite marked under water.  Other examples are the heartbeat and waves on the shore.  Hearing the sound of rhythmic breathing relaxes depressed or addicted brains when they are in an environment in which they feel comfortable and safe.  The pitch of the sound is all encompassing and seems to move in and out of your body with your breath.

Deep breathing exercise of the breathing apparatus – all the lung tissue, auxiliary apparatus and muscles get exercised in a non-stressful way that strengthens them and improves gas exchange over time, very important in early/controlled chronic lung conditions. Improvement of the condition can be marked. And remember your cilia…the little wisps in your respiratory mucosa that help move out the mucus…they really get a work out with deep breathing.

Floating – if you’re not an astronaut or skydiver, you will not find another way to experience 0 gravity and it is magical – on a regular basis an emotionally battered mind responds to this totally new experience and sensation – the mind’s usual thought tendencies about negative things and fixations get highjacked by complete change of environmental sensations.  The physical pains of depression in the limbs and joints can vanish.

Sight – the vast majority of your information comes in through your eyes and underwater this sense falls into the pattern of helping to highjack jaded thought, you never know just what you’ll see – some really lovely and exciting things never seen on land or finding things other people have dropped or lost.

The antibiotic sea and changing pressures – flush your entire ear, nose and throat and deep respiratory areas and kill bacteria with the salt and minerals – this can lead to decreased congestion, sinusitis and allergies.

Endorphins – the end result of all this stuff is the release of endorphins – our own natural pleasure chemicals, they attach themselves to our opioid receptors in the brain and help to encourage us into happier moods, healthier habits and decreased pain.


Neck & Back

Say ‘neck & back” to a Jamaican and they will automatically think ‘chicken’; these are parts popularly eaten, but let’s get serious…

The Hindu saying is that you’re as young or old as your back.  It’s true.

Did you know that leaping into the McKenzie Exercises in the full swing of a flare (acute on chronic) or the inflammation of a new injury may do more harm than good?  McKenzie is brilliant and definitely has it’s place BUT you may need to start with the Knight or Egoscue Systems first. They are passive and almost static.


Let me guide you…feel free to ask me more.