Episode 37 - George Henderson takes us on a tour of public health research

by Break Nutrition | Podcast

Show Notes


George Henderson is a research assistant in the Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

George’s blog is https://hopefulgeranium.blogspot.fr/ and his Twitter handle is @puddleg

Raphael asks George what he studies in the public health department led by Professor Grant Schofield. He mentions obesity rates, dietary surveys, theories of disease…

Raphael asks George how he became interested in nutrition and what was he doing before becoming a science researcher. George is an autodidact; he was a musician with fatty liver disease who learned how to treat his condition by improving his nutrition and overcoming his drug addictions.

Raphael asks George about the relationship between the hepatitis C virus and one’s lipid profile.

Raphael asks George if having a higher proportion of saturated fats in ones diet along with more rather than less cholesterol, can help protect one’s liver from hepatitis C.

Raphael mentions that fresh olive oil has therapeutic levels of the the Cox-2 enzyme inhibitor called oleocanthal (around 130 mg/kg-1), an anti-inflammatory working on the same pathway as ibuprofen but without the nasty side effects.

Raphael talks about how one of his first experiences with pot as a 19 year old led him to find out about orthostatic hypotension; he discovered the satisfaction of finding out answers to questions by digging through scientific literature.

Raphael asks George what it means for figures of authorities, like doctors and researchers, that the internet democratizes medical information and vastly increases the pool of ‘peer reviewers’ (the public)?

Raphael appreciates people who don’t make a fuss about their credentials and rather prefer share data openly.

Raphael talks about the need to steel-man the argument of one’s opponent (when not patently absurd of course!)

Raphael asks George about familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and how LDL and LDL receptors play into the disease.

Raphael mentions being one of those people who’s baseline total cholesterol increased when going from a SAD to a LCHF paleo-ish type diet in his early 20s, so much so that his doctor ran a genetic FH test (but he didn’t have it).

Raphael asks George why certain changes occur in the cholesterol panel of lean-mass hyper responders, people who fast, and when eating high-fat + hypercaloric for a few days (also known as a cholesterol drop).

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George says that LDL cholesterol probably plays more roles than we currently know about.

George says that people who respond to statin therapy are nearly entirely in the lower quartile of HDL cholesterol (and have already had at least 1 heart attack) – study.

George mentions that if a diet improves someone’s diabesity, eventually they should ‘ideally’ become lean-mass hyper responders in terms of the evolution of their cholesterol profile.

George says that despite all the unknowns about lean-mass hyper responder dynamics, he’s not too worried about the cardiovascular risk of those people given other factors improve (e.g. insulin sensitivity, body composition…)

Raphael mentions the Skinnerian model of drug addiction (that pretty much ignores the social/environmental factors) and asks George what he thinks of that and contrary experiments like Rat Park.

George explains how acetyl-carnitine acts as a fat burning stimulant by pushing fat into mitochondria and seems to sometimes cross the blood-brain barrier. More importantly, it can help kick certain addictions .

Raphael recommends that people struggling with mental disorders talk to their doctors about trying out low-risk interventions with good promise such as ketogenic diets and CBD (cannabidiol) oil.

George explains opioid addiction using the following analogy; they ‘depress’ the energy output of cells (like when an opioid overdose leads to respiratory failure), so our cells get used to ‘jabbing’ themselves to stay alert, which they get less and less sensitive to the more they do it – leading to a vicious cycle.

Lastly, Raphael asks George if he can recommend resources for people looking to kick addictions. Although George doesn’t know of a good one-stop resource, he wrote about the last time he took methadone. I urge you to read it!

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