Thursday, April 30, 2009


Well, we're moving to Glasgow, the coolest, cloudiest and probably most UVB deprived city in the UK. But it does have some advantages. Despite there being no surf within easy access, there are rivers which are quite impressive.

This is the Orchy, the picture is of me in a miss spent youth (circa 1977ish) and it had been raining for a solid month, so a normal August in the hills north of Glasgow... I still remember vividly the feeling of paddling round the first bend below Bridge of Orchy, in the middle of a river as big as the Trent in full flood, and realising that it went down hill in front of me, rather steeply, and there was nowhere to go except down... Thank goodness for brown underwear.

So life is a mix of building work, chasing nurseries, chasing rental accommodation, organising a trip to start house hunting, chasing a plumber, builder, plasterer, finding the shower unit won't fit the bathroom, starting to ebay the shower and my motorcycle, rehoming the chickens (tragic this aspect, what will Squiggs do with no Penelope chicken to cuddle, the cats are worried). You know the stuff... There seems to be an inordinate amount of cutting and stitching to do at work too.

By hook or by crook my wife's pathology residency starts 3rd of August in Bearsden and I've handed notice my notice in for 17th July. It's a little tight! But very exciting.



Chris said...

I hope you like scotland.

Let me know if you need anything to ease the emigration!

Bryan - oz4caster said...

Sounds like you're a bit busy with this new adventure. Good luck and hope it works out!

Anna said...

Best wishes with the move. I've only been to Glasgow once, just for a few days, but what a great place. Surrounding country is very nice, too.

Keep us posted on your adventures.

Sue said...

Best wishes with everything.

pooti said...

Wow, what an incredible, exciting, event! "Oh, the places you will go! Oh, the things you will see!"

Have a blast and good to see you! I second what Chris said, "Hope you love Scotland!" :D

Nick said...

Yes, good luck with all the changes and don't forget to leave the cats inside in the new place for a few weeks!

Just loving going through all your posts from the beginning!

homertobias said...

Welcome back,
Missed you! I am beginning to think mispent youths maybe weren't that mispent. I'll bet you had alot of fun.

Ken said...

"The discovery of late rickets and osteomalacia in the Glasgow Muslim community in 1961 (Dunnigan et al. 1962) was followed by a study of 7 d weighed dietary intakes in rachitic and normal Muslim schoolchildren and in a control group of white schoolchildren (Dunnigan & Smith, 1965). Surprisingly, the dietary vitamin D intakes of rachitic Asian children, normal Asian children and Glasgow white children were similar. The higher fibre
and phytate intakes of the Asian children were not considered aetiologically significant.
Studies of daylight outdoor exposure showed no significant differences between the summer and non-summer exposures of rachitic and normal Muslim schoolchildren or between Muslim and white schoolchildren (Dunnigan, 1977). These patterns of daylight outdoor exposure did not conform to the Muslim ‘purdah’ stereotype, although sunbathing was unknown in the Asian community. It was also evident that many Glasgow white schoolchildren went out relatively little, even in fine weather, in a form of ‘cultural purdah’. Similar patterns of apparently adequate daylight outdoor exposure were noted in Asian women with privational osteomalacia wearing Western dress in London (Compston, 1979). These observations did not support the hypothesis that Asian rickets and osteomalacia resulted from deficient exposure to UVR or from deficient dietary vitamin D intake relative to white women and children in whom privational rickets and
osteomalacia were unknown outside infancy and old age.
The suggestion that Asian rickets in the UK might be related to the consumption of unleavened bread was supported by Mellanby’s (1949) earlier identification of an anticalcifying factor in oatmeal, subsequently shown to be phytic acid, and by evidence of ‘sunshine’ rickets in Iranian village children consuming large quantities of unleavened bread (tanok) with abundant exposure to UVR (Rheinhold, 1972)."

Someone once told me that the statins trials were done in Glasgow. Not in Bearsden. I suspect the worst area was chosen. Other drug trials have been run there too. A 'good' way to make the drug look better than it is. Glasgow makes the UVB theory look better than it is too.

Cheeseslave said...

Mmm haggis -- my favorite! Not to mention clotted cream and those fabulous full Scottish breakfasts.

I would have no problem living in Scotland.


Peter said...

Thanks all for the good thoughts! Just need gluten free Haggis now...

Hi Ken,

The paragraph below summed it up for me, UVB does matter but animal fat/protein reduces your need for UVB exposure. This fits with northern HGs or herders... But here they are talking only about the absolute skeletal extremes of hypovitmainosis D. Does vitamin D provide more benefits apart from skeleton health?

"The UVR-diet model derived from the Glasgow Asian population indicates that the prevalence, seventy and age distribution of privational rickets and osteomalacia are precisely delineated by the practice of varying degrees of vegetarianism or near-vegetarianism. High-fibre and -phytate diets are potentially rachitogenic in children, particularly at the pubertal growth spurt, but appear relatively innocuous in adults. Exposure to sufficient UVR neutralizes the rachitogenic or osteomalacic potential of the vegetarian diet in the presence of an adequate intake of dietary Ca (Fig. 1). The rarity of privational osteomalacia in white vegetarians in the UK appears related to their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle with high levels of outdoor exposure. Nevertheless, vegetarian diets may lead to privational rickets and osteomalacia, regardless of race, if exposure to WR is sufficiently restricted (Chick et al. 1923; Dent & Smith, 1969; Fogelman ef al. 1979)."

Worth a post about vegetarianism in its own right!


Gyan said...

Most interesting.
My daughter 4 is vegetarian but consumes ghee and plenty of milk. No meat and very few eggs though.
ALso consumes unleavened bread and sun exposure is also less.
Should I be more concerned or is saturated fat/milk protein sufficient.

Anna said...


You might consider testing your daughter's Vit D status. You can do this with a mail-in simple blood drop test (using a lancet and test blotter paper) through the Vit D study. Not expensive and *much* easier on a kid than making a doc appt (not to mention convincing the doctor), plus a visit to the lab to draw a vial of blood. And by measuring Vit D, you'll have some indication of her fat soluble vitamin status (understanding that at least some of her Vit D is not ingested, but from the sun). The grassroots health test quantifies both D2 (synthetic D that is added to some foods) as well as D3 (natural D that could be added to food, already present in food naturally, or synthesized in the skin from sunlight exposure). My doc's test only indicated the total D, not D2/D3 subtotals.

But if her D is low, it's worth considering she's either not ingesting enough or absorbing enough fat soluble vitamins supplementation of D and maybe other vat soluble vitamins. Perhaps finding a way to bump up the other fat soluble vitamin-rich foods or reducing the foods that can cause absorption problems (wheat/gluten, other high-phytic acid foods). And it's possible to enrich with eggs, esp the yolks, in a kids diet without it being obviously *egg*, via blended coconut milk or cultured cream smoothies/shakes with some fruit, etc. I put egg yolks in my son's smoothies as a matter of course when he's balking at "eggs, again" for breakfast. And he loves Crema di Mascarpone, which is just mascarpone cream cheese blended with eggs (we add a very slight touch of honey and serve it with seasonal fresh fruit).

Baked custard is another to get eggs into kids. Cow milk, cream, or coconut milk, whatever you prefer to use is great, along with vanilla. We use a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup, or make it savory with herbs and spices, sometimes some cooked vegetables (or minced meat).

Ken said...

The amount of D from meat and fish would only be significant in someone who never went out in the sun. I think rickets is due to deleterious diet, all the sun that the Iranian children got didn't protect them. Of course if one actively avoids the sun ( There are cultural reasons ),then the diet need not be very extreme to produce rickets.
Some mammals do okay with very little 'D' Vitamin D metabolism in a frugivorous nocturnal mammal, the Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus)
One naturally vitamin D-deficient subterranean mammal, the naked mole rat, does better than OK The Naked Mole-Rat: A New Long-Living Model for Human Aging ResearchNot sure what this means
"In contrast to humans and primates, cathelicidin expression is not vitamin-D-regulated in rodents [27]. This is explained by their nocturnal life, which precluded evolution from taking benefit from the biological effects of sunlight [11]. Interestingly, in cats (other nocturnal animals), cutaneous 7-dehydrocholesterol 7-reductase activity (converting 7-dehydrocholesterol into cholesterol) was shown to be so high that the 7-dehydrocholesterol levels in the skin were insufficient to allow vitamin D3 photosynthesis [28]. Therefore, cats depend on their diet for their vitamin D supply (making vitamin D a true vitamin in these animals). That the ability for cutaneous photoproduction of vitamin D seemingly paralleled the evolution of cathelicidin to vitamin D regulation might suggest a link between these 2 events".

Siegfried S., Simonary, T. 2008. The Epidermal Vitamin D System and Innate Immunity: Some More Light Shed on This Unique Photoendocrine System? Dermatology. Vol. 217. 7-11

Peter said...


My feeling is that there will be a blend of diet, sun exposure and the actual need for vitamin D. The paper did mention adequate calcium too. I need to go back and read it again in detail and I'm not sure that I hit save before running a restart on my laptop. This has all dropped on to the start of an on call stint, which does not make for much brain function time. The general impression I have is that the worse your diet the more D3 you need and if you wear whole body clothing this could be bad news in Iraq. But I have no idea about the cultural sunlight exposure of children in either Iraq or India. When we see the associations between 25(OH)D and health it is usually in a population eating a large amount of cereals/sugar. No one is looking at the need for D3 in animal based LC populations because there don't seem to be many of those left who are not sugar (and the rest) contaminated.

But for a child, to decide about now, I suspect that having an upper end of normal lab ref range for 25(OH)D might mitigate the effects of being a vegetarian. I think the free D3 supplements used in Glasgow may have been around the RDA and I didn't see that anyone was actually measuring the blood D3 levels. This had little impact, increasing animal based food consumption seems to be what mattered. But I'd need to re trawl through the paper and there's unexpected stuff turned up today...


elizabeth said...

Hi Peter,

Congratulations on going to Scotland. Love the place - we used to live on the shore of Loch Fyne-so beautiful. Also know Loch Striven very well too!

I had some interesting information to give:

For those who do wish to loose weight eating a low carb, high fat diet then the following has been revealed! here goes:

As someone trying to put on weight it is nice for your blog people to see these things from a different angle perhaps:

Weight goes on with: chocolate and cream and fats. There is a notable difference in weight on hips with these two foods as opposed to anything else.
90-100% choco is addictive in the extreme, is full of fibre and makes you very hungry after eating. It blows up my stomach big time - Lindt 90% has 14g fibre per 100g - that is alot.

Cream is addictive certainly. I was not sure but after months of testing it I am convinced it is. If I have high fat% cream such as 35 and above, then it does not cause the itchy eyes and runny nose. Anything less does, mainly because they add milk protein extras and other things to any lower fat versions
Maybe it is the 3grams carbs per 100ml or the opiate effect but whatever it is- cream is addictive and puts on weight.

I have been tracking the different 80% fat experiments and levels of proteins - particulary Lex's at the raw Paleo forum and the result is: yes, high fat and low protein( 40g a day) lowers blood glucose hugely but increases weight. You would have to reduce calories to account for the extra fat. As Lex did in fact. This is fat taken in many guises - pork fat, beef tallow, lamb fat, cocount oil and some olive oil. A whole mix added to the meal and the meal cooked in it to. Hunger pangs etc are of course much less than when having carbs but are still there- like Its the Woo said in one of the mails - I COULD eat and eat fat and meat. I do not always feel full after eating. Hours later I do but it takes a long break for the satiatey to kick in. On a final note: the BG readings are as bizarre as Lex reports with his own test. On a high fat diet the glucose goes up a little and stays elevated for hours and hours. Is back down by 7am in the morning after eating at 8pm at night.
So, out of 1200 calories a day I was eating about 900 in pure fat. The rest pure protein. No carbs whatsoever added in by me. The cream is occasionaly , once every 2weeks at most. Did this for a few weeks. Weight does go on and skin gets much softer and oilier which at my age- 40- is nice. Was getting very hot in the night, especially after coconut oil, but that passed after a couple of weeks.

Problems with this is that as I am sure you all know for zero carbs- it is a nightmare if you have any carbs agin or increase the protein to a higher level. So, is not really a good thing as life is really too short to not be able to even enjoy the odd few grams of carbs without nasty repercussions.

Final added point: Stephan and others have noted that fat eaten like this does indeed increase adipose fat deposits in mice without fail although overall weight does not go up on the scales. I have found this to be exact. As a woman it goes on in the usual places - thighs and hips. But the scales do not show weight increase to match.

Just thought I would share these insights with you all!

Cheers, Elizabeth

Gyan said...

Thanks a lot for suggestions. Vitamin-D3 testing is rather expensive in India though (about 50 USD)though she is getting some sun now. Indians tend to avoid sun during summers and soak it up in winters.

do you have any ideas regarding Lane's mitochrodial hypothesis in Power,sex suicde that tropical people have evolved to eat more carbs and would get sick with heart disease, diabetes if they eat large fats.
Correspondingly Inuits have evolved to eat more fats.
It has to do with maintaining constant body temp in varying external temps.

Peter said...

Hi Gyan,

I found the geographical aspects of PSS the least convincing, but there must be some selection pressure. Certainly HLA B27 is rare in the tropics at 5% of the population but is present at >60% in the Inuit. HLA B27 makes carbs, or rather starches, very damaging. This is straight genes vs environment. The fertility vs geography aspects I was less convinced by, too many other variables.

Fat burning is something which should be highly conserved. Running your mitochondria on fat during famine is essential and failure to burn fat effectively should be a lethal gene during the first famine. Chronic exposure to glucose might well shut down the system for fat burning and this is a well orchestrated but poorly understood phenomenon. But it’s acquired, not genetic, though one could argue there is a continued selection pressure for mitochondria to burn pyruvate in preference to long chain fats if the cell is being chronically glucose loaded. Whether these adapted mitochondria loose fat burning genes and are then inherited as a problem, is an interesting idea. But they still burn ketones OK and probably have the genes for fat burning present but switched off. A switch to LC eating should then re select those mitochondria which can still do LC fatty acid transport/oxidation… Pretty speculative, but I wrote a post along these lines on vacation but haven’t had time to tidy it up.

Need to read PSS again too.


Anna said...


If you decide to give D3 supplements to your daughter, we've have good results with adding 1000iU D3 per each 25 pounds of body weight for every member of the family, including our son (our location is coastal So California, so my son gets a fair amount of sunshine compared to many US kids). He's 10 years, slim but not too skinny at about 75+ pounds (so probably more than double your daughter's weight), and takes 3000iU (soft oil capsule he can bite open or oil drops) most days during the school year (late August-mid June) in addition to whatever D3 is in his diet that is rich in outdoor eggs, grassfed dairy, and mostly grassfed meat and wild caught fish (but since January and testing positive for anti-gluten IgA and mild fat malabsorption, he has NO wheat/gluten and only has some rice 2-3 times per week); the rest is fruit and veggies. His 25(OH)D tested at 72 ng/mL in the late fall and 61 ng/mL in late January. I'll probably reduce his D3 dose to 1000iU in the summer (being So California and he's outdoors a lot when not in school) and then test again late summer/early fall. After that I probably won't keep testing his D3 status (just wanted to make sure he wasn't supplemented too much), though we are participating in the study (US$40 - for internationals, too).

Gyan said...

I thought that PSS was being a bit glib discussing diet and illness. A temption scientist have to explain everything by their pet theory by handwaving arguments.
BTW i read somwehere that people of Kerla which has best record in India for various medical outcomes eg maternal deaths. They consume 21% saturated fat by total calories. Mostly coconut.
Economists like Amartya Sen (a trendy again) explain it by the long rule of Communists in Kerala.

Ken said...

Arrested adaptation and "diseases of civilization" "If humans had hardly evolved in the post-agricultural environment, we would expect all populations to be equally susceptible to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Instead, we find that different populations have different characteristic rates of these diseases after adoption of a Western diet.

Another insight is that some undesirable phenotypes may themselves be the consequences (or side effects) of recently selected alleles. Overdominant alleles like sickle cell naturally stand out in this regard. But the flushing reaction to alcohol, common in Asians with the selected ALDH2 allele, is a less fatal example"

Stephan said...

You also have to factor in genetic drift and bottleneck effects, which could account for the differences in susceptibility without invoking genetic adaptation to the Western diet.

That said, I do believe there has been some adaptation to things that have been around a long time, such as grains. But it seems to me that every population and most if not all individuals are sickened by the modern Western diet to some degree.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that even though grains were first domesticated on a large scale roughly 11,000 years ago, most people genetically have been exposed to grains for a shorter period than that. Even Europeans have only been eating them for 7,000 years or less.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Gyan wrote: "They consume 21% saturated fat by total calories. Mostly coconut. Economists like Amartya Sen (a trendy again) explain it by the long rule of Communists in Kerala."I vote for saturated fat! 8-:)

Ken said...

Stephan said
(and it is a good point)

"You also have to factor in genetic drift and bottleneck effects, which could account for the differences in susceptibility without invoking genetic adaptation to the Western diet"

Another important factor driving differences must be whether the population ever got big: Polynesians farm, but their populations have been always been small and isolated from each other -- that would make it harder for new favorable mutations to show up and to spreadA Week With Gregory Cochran: Day Two2B: One implication would seem to be that there are striking differences between populations that developed agriculture long ago and ones that encountered it only recently. Fair?

GC: Yes. Peoples with short histories of agriculture have trouble with alcoholism, diabetes, and generally have a lot of trouble fitting into complex hierarchical societies
2B: I notice, by the way, that one of your sources is Loren Cordain, known to health-eating-and-exercise buffs as one of the guys behind the "Paleo" diet. Cordain and others in his camp urge people to eat like a caveman; we're better adapted to a pre-agricultural diet than we are to an agricultural one. What's your own hunch about this? Might there be something to "Paleo eating"?

GC: The answer is probably different depending on your ancestry. But there ought to be something to it -- with the caveat that it's impossible to implement on a worldwide scale, because of economics.

Peter said...

Hi Ken,

I'm still working through Hawks' weblog with white emulsion under my fingernails. Interesting. This one will be too I guess...


Dave Lull said...

FYI: Nature Lipidomics Gateway:

"Welcome to the Lipidomics Gateway: a free, comprehensive website for researchers interested in lipid biology. Use the site to stay abreast of developments each month from across the field, and explore the rich information collections, tools and resources from the LIPID MAPS consortium."

Ken said...

Genetic Differences between the Determinants of Lipid Profile Phenotypes in African and European Americans: The Jackson Heart Study"The chromosomes in which DNA is packaged cross over and recombine with each other in each generation, so that in historically separate populations, such as Africans and Europeans, the patterns of genetic linkage between variants differ. In the current study, we analyzed a large group of African Americans, testing genetic variants that had been associated with cholesterol and lipid levels in European-derived populations to assess their predictive value on two different genetic backgrounds within the same cohort. The ability of some variants to predict cholesterol or lipid traits was strongly dependent on genetic background, indicating that they may be tightly linked to other causal variant(s) in European populations and may not, themselves, be directly responsible for trait variability. We conclude that the predictive value of specific variants for risk assessment can differ critically across populations."