CLA paleo diet Conjugated Linoleic Acid-min

CLA & The Paleo Diet

Concluding my focus on common deficiencies, this week turns to CLA.

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is the good trans-fat that occurs naturally in dairy and meat products – especially when animals have been grass-fed, another plus for the Paleo diet. In the stomach of animals such as the goat, sheep or cows millions and millions of tiny pieces of bacteria help the animal to digest its food. They also help to covert dietary linoleic fatty acids into saturated fatty acids. While this conversion takes time and several steps, one of those steps is to create CLA, some of this never actually gets fully saturated and will show up instead in the animals milk fat and body.

CLA paleo diet Conjugated Linoleic Acid-min

28 different CLA isomers – or structural arrangements of the molecules show in CLA rich animal fat.  This is very complex and different from the trans-fats created by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. It is those lab created trans-fats that have a negative metabolic and health effect, while the CLA isomers you get from grass fed dairy and meat is more beneficial.

CLA has been touted as the “belly busting” trans fat with research in 2007 showing that in rats, supplementing their diets with CLA did not cause them to lose whole body fat, but it was found they became more insulin sensitive. When it came to supplementing CLA in mice diets it did cause rapid weight loss, but the increase in hepatic fat accumulation left the mice insulin resistant.

Many people have taken CLA as a supplement and it did seem to work for weight loss, but while the weight loss was good, at the moment we are not really sure what else it does to the body. Research into this further on different animals may help us better understand if there are any additional effects on humans. Are we more like mice or rats?
Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency
The one thing that these studies did show was that hepatic fat accumulation or loss and body fat accumulation or loss is not always in the same direction. We are seeing hepatic fat loss but no weight loss and hepatic fat gain with rapid weight loss. Those who follow low carb diets insisting that this metabolic advantage allows them to eat thousands of calories and lose weight will love the little mouse’s result! While the study on the mouse is quite well known amongst those in the carb circle with the mouse eating as much as it wants without losing or gaining weight, this metabolism does come at a price – profound liver damage.

Tests were carried out to see what effect dietary supplements of CLA would have on the body mass index, and body fat distribution. 40 volunteers participated in a 12 week double blind study some received a CLA while other received olive oil. Body fat and abdominal and hepatic fat content was assessed with an overall finding that showed CLA supplements did not show any significant change in the volunteers BMI index or in their total body fat.

Have you considered supplementing with CLA? If you have, did it have good results for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, below.

CoQ10 & The Paleo Diet-min

CoQ10 & The Paleo Diet

Yet another possible deficiency is Co Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), even on a strict Paleo diet.

What is CoQ10?

It actually assists with mitochondrial electron transfer and stress reactions that happen biochemically within the body. You cannot have too much Co Enzyme Q10, as it is great for providing better nutrient density to the mitochondria to help us make and burn more energy. It also helps increase our exercise ability and stamina.

Exercising helps increase the oxidation that occurs from our stress hormones with most exercise hermetic when things are in balance and running smoothly. If we are suffering from a co Enzyme Q10 deficiency caused by statins, Neolithic diseases or from just generally being unfit and out of shape there is a need to increase the dietary intake of Co Enzyme Q10 to optimise health.

CoQ10 comes in two forms, Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol, with one being an oxidised form and the other a reduced form – you can tell which is which by the price! Ubiquinol is three times more expensive because it is much harder to make the reduced optimal form. Ubiquinol contains two hydroxyl groups rather than just one; this allows it to bond much better with water molecules making it more readily absorbable by the mitochondria in our cells to help with energy production.

Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency

Ubiquinol is also the biologically superior form of Co Enzyme Q10 because it is an electron donor; this makes it a very effective neutraliser of free radicals. It is the only form of Co Enzyme Q10 that looks for lipid peroxyl radicals that can cause damage to the polyunsaturated fatty acids present in your cell membranes.  When you are eating a Paleo diet this is a wonderful benefit as depletion of cellular Co Enzyme Q10 can’t support basic cellular functions. A Paleo diet together with a higher activity level requires optimal cellular and mitochondrial functions.

At the 5th Annual International CoQ10 symposium that was held in Kobe, Japan findings were released that showed the superiority of ubiquinal when given to a group of seriously ill patients with advanced stage cardiac disorders. If this can help those who are close to death with severe heart failure it is a critical component for any person looking to change their life by adopting a new healthy living plan or diet.

The study revealed that those clinically ill patients who had already suffered from heart failure easily absorbed ubiquinol CoE10 into their blood stream showing excellent improvements in all heath parameters. Another key factor that was announced was those with Hasimoto’s or other autoimmune diseases really need to only use the ubiquinol as they are unable to covert ubiquinone into ubiquinol due to their low B12 and B6 levels. They also need higher doses of ubiquinol more often.

Do you supplement with CoQ10? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

CoQ10 & The Paleo Diet-min

Manganese Paleo Diet Primal Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies-min

Manganese & The Paleo Diet

How are your Manganese levels? Does following a Paleo diet guarantee optimal micro nutrient levels? This week I'm focusing on manganese – and most importantly, how to make sure your levels are sufficient.

What actually is Manganese?

Did you see the word and thought I had spelt magnesium incorrectly? It is actually a trace mineral that regulates dozens of enzymatic reactions within the body. It is a crucial mineral.

If you are lacking in manganese some of the symptoms of deficiency include low thyroxine – or Thyroid Hormone T4 – as manganese is important for the production of T4.

Asthma is another area with links to deficiency of this trace mineral. There are links between low manganese levels in children and childhood asthma. Similarly there is a link between low dietary manganese intake and the incidents of asthma in adults.

Low HDL also has links to deficiency of manganese. Women who eat a low manganese diet will find their HDL drops dramatically.

Primal Diet Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies

Joint pain and osteoporosis can also be impacted. Bone density doesn't come down to just magnesium and calcium alone, with manganese also playing a significant part in overall bone health.

What causes low manganese levels?

Having too much iron in your system can result in low levels. While this isn't the cause of a deficiency for those who suffer from iron retention, or who absorb too much iron, manganese can reduce the absorption of dietary iron. Those who are on a Paleo diet (or following the Primal Blueprint) eating iron rich meat on a regular basis may be getting less manganese in their system than they need – especially if they are not eating most of the richest source of the minerals. Obviously if you do not eat enough manganese rich foods you’re not going to have enough manganese. If your diet consists mostly of beef and you don’t eat many nuts, shell-fish or berries, you may find you are not getting enough manganese in your diet.

As with all minerals, if they aren't in the soil, they don't get into the food chain. This means it is crucial to ensure your meat comes from animals who have been reared with a proper diet – and fed on grass, from soil with good mineral levels. Grain fed animals won't have had access to the same levels of minerals as their grass-fed equivalents. It's really important to know and understand where your food comes from.

Where can you get more manganese into your body?

Nuts are a great source of manganese with hazelnuts being the richest source and almonds having the lowest manganese source. Other nuts including macadamia’s pine nuts, walnuts and pecans are also good sources of manganese. Shell-fish such as mussels, clams and oysters are good sources, with mussels having the highest content of manganese. As always, it comes down to having a very varied diet, sourcing food from the highest quality sources wherever possible.

Ever thought about your manganese levels? Do you eat enough natural food sources? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Manganese Paleo Diet Primal Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies-min

Choline Paleo Diet-min

Choline & The Paleo Diet

Continuing looking into deficiencies, this week falls to choline. What actually is choline and what is the effect of being deficient? Even on a strict Paleo diet, is it still possible to be deficient?

The precursor for acetylcholine is choline, which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for memory and it is a very important part of two important phospholipids. The liver uses this to process fats within the body and to package lipids.

What symptoms should you look for that indicates you might be low in choline?

  • Elevated ATL levels – it’s the elevated alamine transaminase levels which could indicate you have a liver complaint that can be often caused by a choline deficiency. Research has shown that a fatty liver can be caused by low levels. As Choline is the precursor for acetylcholine which is involved in memory – impaired memory can often be a symptom of deficiency. Research carried out showed that patients given a supplement had improved memory.
  • Lower VLDL – while reducing VLDL might improve your lipid panel it can also see you end up with a fatty liver due to the fat not being packed away properly into lipoprotiens for dispersal.

Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency

How can a choline deficiency occur?

Offal is such a good source of choline that avoiding it could inadvertently result in a choline deficiency.

How can you add choline to your diet?

When it comes to choline, it’s all about eggs and offal! Beef liver contains by far the highest levels, as measured per 100 grams of food. In  descending order the food with the highest levels are: veal liver, chicken liver, raw egg, turkey liver, turkey heart, wheat germ, bacon, pork loin and mutton.

You can also gain choline from the following foods, but in much smaller amounts: artichokes, cauliflower, pecans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, macadamia nuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews, chicken, pistachios, canned prawns, cod, ground beef and turkey gizzard.

Most nuts and seafood seem to be good sources, but when it comes to vegetables the levels vary – for example while Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of choline, boiled kale hardly has any.  Fruits and milk contain even less choline than vegetables, but some spices are good sources of choline, but as they are often used in such small amounts, they tend not to be reliable sources.

Unfortunately none of these foods come anywhere close to the amount of choline found in eggs and organs – liver and eggs alone have ten more times the amount present than most vegetables. It is the egg yolk that contains the most choline – not the egg whites. A 100 gram serving of just the egg yolks has 683 mg of choline while the same size serving of egg white only has 1.1 mg. To be able to eat an equal amount of both you would get 3 times more choline from your eggs if you threw the whites away.

Do you have much offal in your diet? I’d love to hear if choline levels are a concern to you – and also how you get offal into your Paleo diet?

Choline Paleo Diet-min

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Vitamin B12 & The Paleo Diet

What are your Vitamin B12 levels like? You might follow a Paleo diet, but are your levels optimal? And if not, what can you do about it?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is still quite common – with this deficiency occurring even amongst  those of us Paleo diet followers who eat the richest source of Vitamin B12 – animals! Some of the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include depression and anxiety, lethargy, Autism spectrum disorder in children and (unwanted) weight loss. It can also show up with Alzheimer or dementia like symptoms.

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How can Vitamin B12 deficiencies occur?

Sometimes it can be as simple as us setting the bar for “normal” a little too low. While, on paper everything could check out and look normal, Vitamin B12 levels might still be too low and we could still be suffering from B12 deficiency symptoms. In countries like Japan they actually have higher “normal” B12 markers and in having a higher bar set they have less cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In many cases, as meat eaters, we don’t look for low Vitamin B12 levels – as we assume we eat meat we are getting plenty and Doctors don’t actually check for it.

Another issue is consuming sufficient Vitamin B12, but the body failing to absorb adequate quantities. For some who have stomach disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or have or suffer from diarrhoea it can affect your ability to absorb minerals, vitamins, nutrients from our food – this include Vitamin B12.

How can we reduce our risks of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

If you eat animal products regularly along with some offal, such as liver occasionally, you should be getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet. There may also be no need to supplement your diet, if you don’t suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you do have some of the symptoms mentioned or you do suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder that might be limiting your ability to absorb Vitamin B12, then it is worth asking your doctor next time you visit if you can have your vitamin B12 levels tested. Of course, to be able to extract reasonable levels of Vitamin B12 from your diet, you need to be consuming good quality (grass fed and finished) meat. If the animal didn't have access to good nutrition, their meat won’t provide it to you either.
Primal Diet Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies







If you're Vitamin B deficient, you might find that you may be more susceptible to heavy metal toxicity, if your diet or body contains them – such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Vitamin B deficiency can also be linked to depression, with the B vitamins crucial for the direct synthesis of the brain neurotransmitters. Apart from the fact they are needed (along with folate) for the homocysteine pathways to provide methylation, which is essential for the making of neurotransmitters. It is these neurotransmitters that are involved with the production of homocysteine as well. Tests have shown that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of homocysteine in their body. When the homocysteine pathway is functioning correctly it produces the depression relieving neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

Have you had your Vitamin B12 levels checked? Do you supplement, or ensure your diet provides optimal levels?