Club NoMed

“Hello, long time no see!” I said.

I had not seen Eddie for a long time, not since the 25th reunion. He had changed, but had not all of them? He still had his hair, but he was a lot bigger than I remember him. There was a paunch, and he seemed laboured in his movements.

“How are things with you?” I asked.

“Well, I can’t complain. All the normal problems that you can expect when you get beyond 60. But it is all under control. I’m taking medication for it. But you’re looking good!”

“Well, I do my best to keep healthy.” I said.

“You know, it was easy to recognise you because you don’t look much different than when we started at work,” he said, catching his breath a little.

“Yes”, I replied, “I’m about the same weight as a was those days. So what medication are you taking?”

Statins for Cholesterol

Eddie replied, “Well, I take statins for my cholesterol.”

“What’s wrong with your cholesterol?”

“It’s too high, so the Doc recommended that I took them to prevent me getting a heart attack”.

“What do you mean it’s too high?” I asked.

“The doctor just says that it’s too high and I have to do something about it. He told me that having high cholesterol was a cause of heart attacks, and if I took these, I would reduce the risk.”

“I am not too sure about that.” I replied, “Cholesterol is produced naturally in the body, and you need it to function normally.”

Doctor’s Advice

Eddie continued, “The Doc says that if I take the statins, and stop eating fat, especially saturated fat, like in meat, then it would further reduce the risk.”.

“Have you noticed anything since you been taking these?”

“Funny you should say that. I have begun to wonder whether I’m getting Alzheimer’s, because of my brain feels a bit foggy. I also get some muscle pains,”

I thought to myself that it was shocking how people blindly follow authority. Patients believe every word the doctors say, and doctors believe everything they read in research papers and information from the drug companies, it seems.

“So, what do you eat these days?” I asked Eddie.

Keep taking the tablets

“While cutting down on fats was a problem, because I stopped having butter and cream and eating the fat off of the meat years ago when I switched to low-fat stuff like margarine. I like eating bread although I have to be careful it doesn’t give me acid indigestion. But that’s no problem either because taken some tablets to stop the reflux.”

“I’ve also started to put on weight in the last few years, but I guess that’s natural. I mean, it’s normal to put on about a pound a year, isn’t it?” Eddie asked.

“Well, you have to watch that weight gain, in my opinion. You may be heading for type II diabetes”.

“Funny you should say that. After a year or so taking statins, I went to the doctors and he told me that I have type II diabetes. So I am taking some tablets for that as well.”

“Aren’t you fed up with taking all these pills?”

When you age, you take pills

“Well, it’s a fact of life. When you get older, you to take a lot of pills to stay alive. Everyone around here takes lots pills. If we didn’t have the pills, will be dying earlier. So it stands to reason that we should keep taking the pills”.

“I’m a member of Club No Med.”

“Club no Med.? Is that a club for older swingers?”

“No!” I laughed. “It means that I am not on any medication.”

“So you live with your illnesses?”

“As far as I know, I don’t have any illnesses.”

“What you mean you have no illnesses? You are the same age as I am, so you must have some of these things. Is it all that healthy natural living in Scandinavia that keeps you away from the doctor’s?”

“I’m not sure about Scandinavia bit. There are quite a few people on medication there, too. There are obese people as well. But I do think people are better informed about their health choices.”

You pay your taxes, you take your medicine

Eddie said, “But I mean if you have a national health service which you’ve paid the tax for, and get pills or something to sort you out, isn’t it best just to go there and get the prescription?”

“Yes, that would be the easy way out. Not having to think about it, or do something actively about your health.” Just a touch of sarcasm in my voice.

“You can’t do anything about your health, can you? I mean, it’s all in your genes, isn’t it? If sickness and death come, you can’t do much about it. Your number is up.”

” I beg to differ on that point,” said I

I had not eaten breakfast that morning, but now it was approaching lunchtime, I felt like having something to eat. So I took out a bag of coconut pieces. I offered one to Eddie.

It’s full of fat!

“No thanks,! I’m not eating that. It’s full of fat!”.

Eddie reached for his backpack and took out some food.

He said, “I get very hungry if I don’t have a snack. But I’ve got some healthy stuff here.” He produced a banana, some orange juice, and one of those muesli bars. I must admit, I raised my eyebrows.

I could not help myself from commenting, “Full of sugar, that lot.”.

“No, it’s not. It’s full of fruit and fibre. Good stuff!”.

Whatever, I thought to myself. What a disaster it was for my fellow countrymen. Such a contrast to visiting a country like Sweden. Not that everybody is super thin and healthy in Sweden, but they do seem to be able to look after themselves better. Perhaps it’s because they have inverted the food pyramid a couple of years back. Or perhaps it’s because they have low carb sections in the supermarkets.

7 million on statins in the UK

In the UK, a nation where 7 million people are prescribed statins, out of a population of 60 million, looking around me, all I saw were obese, and unhealthy-looking people. It is appalling. Have statins reduced the risk of heart attacks in the UK? There is no doubt that there are fewer deaths from heart attacks.

Survival rates are better. There are fewer transfats in the diet, and people are smoking less.

I believe that better education to encourage people to change your lifestyle would be a far more effective way of preventing heart attacks. Along with the acceptance by health professionals that cholesterol is not the cause, but an indicator, and that they accept the latest research, which shows the real reason.

Are illness and sickness really an act of God? Philosophically, I suppose the answer is yes. But I would like to believe that by taking responsibility for my health and trying to understand the physiology according to the latest research, that I could do something about it.

Join Club NoMed today – it’s free!

I am very proud not to be taking medications. I’m sure that if I went to my doctor, she would find something or another for which I should be taking medications. But my blood pressure is normal; my pulse is low, my BMI is 22.5, I am physically active, I sleep well, I think clearly, Beyond the age of 45, the best benchmark one can have is to feel as if you are 45. But my benchmark is also to be a member of Club No Med after the age of 45.

Can you cure cancer by holding your breath?

No! Well, not as far as I  know.

So what is all this with breathing and cancer and other lifestyle diseases?

It is about reverting to the way humans in the past used to breathe. How is that different from the way we breathe today? Many of us breathe using the top of our lungs only, we have our mouths open, we hyperventilate and we have a notion that taking in lots of air in a deep breath is good for us.

What is the connection? In a nutshell, we do not get enough oxygen into our cells, which leaves them vulnerable to common lifestyle diseases.

I will attempt to explain simply: Our cells need oxygen to function. Oxygen is carried in the bloodstream, and the catalyst that allows it to be taken up by cells is carbon dioxide. That’s right – CO2, the same stuff that is giving us global warming concerns. Only  in the atmosphere, the concentration is 0.04%, up from 0.o3% this last century. In the bloodstream, it should be 6.1%. You heard right. 6.1%. Even higher in the brain (7%) If you have less than 3% you are dead! Probably due to bad breathing, stress, bad diet and lack of exercise, many people are down closer to that level than the ideal.

Have a look at this diagram showing the effects of hypocapnia. This is where hyperventilation leads to a shortage of carbon dioxide in the body and results in hypoxia, which is a condition that sick people suffer. You can see this in the way sick people breathe – very mechanically – in,out,in,out – many times a minute.

Simple man’s conclusion? sick people breathe badly? Bad breathers are sick? Yeah, something like that.

The point is that their seems to be a correlation (to me) between cancer,diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breathing and the consequence of this: namely lack of oxygen to the cells.  There are many references to research that bear this out, but here are some interesting facts:

  1. People who are sick take more breaths per minute than healthy people. (between 18 and 30 breaths as opposed to 6-12 for healthy people.
  2. Even this healthy level is not ideal
  3. People had far better breathing performance 100 years ago.

The way to test for this is the CP (control pause). Breathe out and see how it takes before you need to take  a breath. If you are somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds, you are “normal”. However, “normal” was over 40 seconds 100 years ago. Under 10 seconds and you have very likely got a problem.

That is interesting: Why has the CP fallen over 100 years? I put forward these reasons:

  • Sugar. We consume a lot more sugar than 100 years ago. Also as corn syrup.
  • Wheat products. We eat a lot more of these. Bread, pasta, etc.
  • Crap fats. We don’t have the right types in the right balance.
  • Stress. Our wonderful modern lifestyle means we are pressed and it affects our breathing.
  • Lack of exercise.  Our forefathers (and mothers!) generally did a lot more manual work and walked a lot.
  • Obesity. The result of the above.

I am not going to document the above here, but in a later post, I will attempt to take each one and point to the research.

So, what else does good breathing do? It causes the blood vessels to dilate, thus allowing more blood flow. In my own case, my resting pulse rate is between 43 and 50 beats per minute and my blood pressure is 120/70. (I am male, aged 61). It also adjusts how alkaline your blood is (slightly) but more importantly, reduces the acidity of cells.

The link between cancer and breathing.

I have seen Micha Sakharoff’s data, and he thinks that cancer cannot exist in cells where there is a good supply of oxygen. This equates to a CP of 40 seconds. And no, there has not been any clinical research on this (to the best of my knowledge)*.  Along with the no-carb ketogenic diet, the acidity of the tissues is reduced, Again, cancer will not thrive in an alkaline environment.

Bring on Buteyko Breathing

What is it? It is a series of breathing exercises, originally designed by a Russian, Konstantin Buteyko, to help asthma patients. If you have asthma and you do the Buteyko training, you will most likely stop suffering asthma attacks. What are we training? We are reprogramming the brain (the medula oblongata, to be precise), to accept more carbon dioxide in the body (as bicarbonate and carbon dioxide gas). I have been doing this for 3 months now. I have improved from 17 seconds to an average of 35 seconds. Sometimes, in the evenings, especially after yoga, I can get to 60 seconds. Do I do this because I have cancer? I trust not – but I believe that prevention is better that cure. Given the latest research in the UK (“One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime“), I owe it to myself  to do something to protect myself.

Apparently, there are some great benefits to be had if you get to a CP of 90 seconds.

Unfortunately, Buteyko is a business franchise, so I cannot explain more. However, there are some excellent videos by an Irishman, Patrick McKeown  on Youtube and there is a lot more information by Artour Rakhimov on normalbreathing.com. Having said that, I really believe that Misha Sakharoff’s holistic approach is well worth giving attention to.

*Of course there are no clinical trials. There is no serious money for drug companies in teaching people to breathe!