Author: Matt

Best Inexpensive Vitamin C Serum

Best Inexpensive Vitamin C Serum For Glowing and Youthful Skin

When we are young we don’t pay too much attention to our skin because it’s generally quite flawless, plump and blemish free. As we enter our teen years, damage starts to accumulate, we start getting acne; and if that wasn’t bad enough, signs of sun damage starts to show with the development of fine lines, hyperpigmentation and other skin abnormalities.

vitamin c serum citrus fruitFortunately good skincare on the cheap is possible as there are many really good products to choose from that can be almost as effective as the high end products. The best inexpensive vitamin C serum I’ve come across is a Korean skincare product that is almost a copy of the more expensive and award winning Skinceuticals CE + Ferulic Acid which costs an arm and a leg! And possibly a Kidney. A 30 ml bottle does last about 6 months when stored in the refrigerator, so that’s good.

My friends ask me which skincare products I use, and I tell them I use products by Skinceuticals. The question I get asked a lot is: are there any cheaper alternatives?

For people on a budget, or perhaps want to use Vitamin C serum on other parts of the body and not just the face, using a more inexpensive serum could be a good choice. I personally use my Skinceuticals CE+Ferulic or Skinceuticals CF+Phloretin on my face (both contain L-Ascorbic acid at 15 and 10%), and use the Korean Vitamin C serum on my neck, hands and other areas. I’ve used vitamin C Serums for over 8 years, and I could never do without them because they make a big difference in how my skin looks and feels.

The difference with the Korean Skincare product is that it uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is a stabalised form of Vitamin C.

Skinceuticals products such as CE+Ferulic and CE+Phloretin use L-Ascorbic Acid and are clinically proven in studies showing that they are safe and effective.

Let me be clear: you get what you pay for. And when it comes to using products on my face, I’d rather not go cheap. I believe Skinceuticals sell the best Vitamin C serums and have the studies to back them up. But they are expensive and not everyone is willing to pay that much.

Skinceuticals also have other cheaper options like: AOX 10%, 15%, and 20% serums, but don’t have the other ingredients that are synergistic with the vitamin C which makes it more powerful.

Rather than recommending copies of CE+Ferulic with L-Ascorbic Acid (AA) as the active ingredient, and possibly causing irritation, inflammation and damage from poorly formulated serums, I thought I’d recommend a cheaper alternatively but with a stabalised form of Vitamin C.

So now I know you were looking for a cheap Vitamin C serum, and here I am telling you why you should go with the other option, but if you’re not convinced and still want to give the cheaper version a try – which has great reviews by the way – let’s move on to why you should include a vitamin C serum as part of your regular skincare routine.

Why Use A Vitamin C Serum?

Collagen is what keeps everything together! It is the foundation or matrix that keep holds the structure of the skin keeping it youthful. It provides firmness to the skin, which is gradually lost over decades of sun exposure, stress, and other insults from the environment. Vitamin C has been clinically proven to boost collagen synthesis for more younger looking skin even at just 5% concentration.

Vitamin C serums can be used as both a corrective and preventative treatment. Not only does it improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also help lighten hyperpigmentation and red marks, as well as improve skin tone overall. Vitamin C, unlike Retinoids is not harsh and there are little to no side effects.

Benefits of using Vitamin C serum include:

  • Increased protection from sun damage
  • Increased collagen synthesis
  • Reduces redness, inflammation and common skin complaints such as acne
  • Improves the healing capacity of the skin

Main ingredients of Seoul Ceuticals Korean Skin Care

Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and Ferulic acid.

Commonly Asked Questions About Vitamin C Serums

Below are some of the questions that I get when asked about the effects of using Vitamin C serums.

Can Vitamin c serum burn skin?

When applying Vitamin c serum in the form of L-ascorbic acid, you might notice a slight stinging sensation. This is completely normal and after a few applications the effect usually goes away. This product contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate and so it is more gentle on the skin.

Does Vitamin C serum lighten skin?

vitamin C is known to inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase, therefore it has the potential to lighten skin tone and lighten freckles and other marks on the skin.

Best time to use Vitamin C serum?

Once you apply vitamin C it is absorbed and is effective for as many as three days. It acts as an antioxidant in the skin and mops up free radical damage, inhibits inflammation and increases collagen synthesis. It also acts as a mild sunscreen by itself, but is usually more effective when combined with other ingredients such as: vitamin E and Ferulic Acid which the Seoul Ceuticals Korean Skin Care product contains.

Most people prefer to use Vitamin C serum in the morning after washing.

Does Vitamin C serum help acne?

Vitamin C serum can improve the healing time of acne marks as well as prevent acne from forming.

How long does it take for vitamin C serum to show good results?

You should give it at least 12 weeks to see significant improvements. Some people notice a glow the first time they use a Vitamin C serum, and this can appear just days after using it.

How To Use Vitamin C Serum On Face

To make vitamin C serum more effective you want to make sure that you wash your face and exfoliate occasionally to remove dead skin. You want to go from using the lightest product first, to the heaviest and thickest.

So after you clean your face with your cleanser, you should then use the dropper and use just one small drop for each part of the face and rub in gently.  Wait until the product dries and then use a sunscreen for added photoprotection. The best results will be seen when you are also using sunscreen.

See the current price and reviews on Amazon for Seoul Ceuticals Korean Vitamin C Serum

Aside from making your own Vitamin C serum, this is the best inexpensive Vitamin C serums that I’ve found. Give it a go and share your feedback!

See also:


1 The role of vitamin C in pushing back the boundaries of skin aging: an ultrasonographic approach

2 Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage.

3. Vitamin C in dermatology

4. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris.

5. Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin.

6. Protective effects of a topical antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin against ultraviolet-induced photodamage in human skin.

7. A topical antioxidant solution containing vitamins C and E stabilized by ferulic acid provides protection for human skin against damage caused by ultraviolet irradiation.

Supplements Every Vegetarian Should Take

Supplements Every Vegetarian Should Consider Taking

When becoming a vegetarian or vegan, people can sometimes run into problems from lacking different vitamins and minerals that are usually present in animal products. There are certain supplements every vegetarian should take or consider taking if they are planning to do this diet for the long term.

I’ve been involved in various online health communities and forums in the last 14 years and I’ve noticed a lot of misinformation around nutrition and the need for supplements. People try so hard to become 100% natural, they neglect the real and dangerous pitfalls of abstaining from certain food groups. Deficiencies can sometimes take a long time to develop because the body can store things like vitamin B12 and so it takes a while before stores are depleted.

What Vitamins Do Vegetarians Need To Take?

Vitamin B12  This vitamin is important for a wide range of functions in the body and becoming deficient in it can have permanent consequences to your health. Low levels of vitamin B12 on a vegetarian or vegan diet might also increase the risk of heart disease by raising levels of homocysteine. The protection again heart disease offered by going vegetarian might be reversed by not getting enough B12.

In one study researchers discovered that 52% of vegans, 7% of vegetarians and 1% of omnivores were deficient (1). However, in another study they found elevated levels of methylmalonic acid (MMA) in 68% of vegetarians and 92%! of vegans; while only 16% of omnivores had elevated levels of MMA. (2).

If you are eating a diet that excludes animal products, you should take a vitamin B12 supplement and choose sublingual methylcobalamin. Vitamin B12 is a supplement every vegetarian and vegan should take as it is one of the most dangerous deficiencies you can develop on this lifestyle, and one of the most reported in these groups.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include: tiredness, shortness of breath, sore tongue, tingling, numbness, neurological dysfunction, poor memory, permanent nerve damage, vision loss and more.

I’ve put vitamin B12 at the top of the list because I believe it is the most important and overlooked vitamin deficiency for vegetarians and vegans. Everyone eating a vegetarian and vegan diet should take vitamin B12. If you’re not already taking a B12 supplement and you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you should start supplementing it.

Vitamin D – Deficiency of Vitamin D is widespread whatever lifestyle people are doing. Avoiding foods that have Vitamin D in them, as well as not getting enough sun (especially people in the northern hemisphere and have dark skin) will cause you to be at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency or having very low levels that it negatively impacts your health.

Vegans are more likely to be affected than vegetarians, but both should consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

How much is enough? Around 1000 – 2000 IU should be sufficient to raise vitamin D levels to a healthy level in adults and is also safe in pregnant women and children. (3, 4).

Adequate levels of 25(OH)D might lower the risk of infections, cancer, autoimmune diseases, fractures, and lower the risk of heart disease. It was also reported that higher levels of vitamin D might lower the rate at which the telomere’s shorten, possibly indicating a slower rate of cell ageing.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include: muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, bone pain, difficulty in thinking clearly, depression, bone fractures, hair loss, poor immunity and more.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore you do not have to take it every day. In fact, you could take one high dose every week or month, but I prefer to take it daily.

What Minerals Should You Take On A Vegetarian Diet?

Iron  Women are more at risk of anemia than men, but this risk is increased further by becoming vegetarian (5). Although vegetarians get a plenty of iron from plant foods, the form of iron is not absorbed as well as from animal food.  Vegetarians also tend to eat a lot of foods that are high in other things such as phytates, which can inhibit the absorption of iron. Good sources of iron include dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. Beans and peas are also good sources of this mineral.

There have been a few reports from both men and women on calorie restricted, vegetarian or vegan diet, who have been deficient in iron and developed anemia as a result. Before taking any iron supplements, I think it is best to get tested by your doctor and then consider taking iron if you need to. This is more relevant to women than men, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Symptoms of Iron deficiency include: intense fatigue and tiredness, rapid breathing, hair loss, pale skin and lips, palpitations, poor immunity and more.

Zinc – One of the things in a standard western diet that people get plenty of is Zinc. Standard western diet might contain enough Zinc, but for raw foodists, vegetarians, vegans and people who practice calorie restriction with optimal nutrition, we tend to have a lot of copper in our diets, but too little zinc. Deficiency of zinc can often be mild, and symptoms will be fairly subtle. These symptoms – to an extent – might be ameliorated by the diet itself which helps the body cope.

Use CRON-O-METER to see much zinc you are getting compared to zinc, and try to aim for a ratio of 8:1 to 10:1. So for example: for every 1 mg of copper in your diet, you want to make sure you are getting 8 mg of zinc.

Symptoms of Zinc deficiency include: acne, poor immunity, dry skin, hair loss, poor appetite, mouth ulcers and sores.

Zinc deficiency is easily correctable by taking a zinc supplement. There are many different zinc supplements you can choose from with some being better than others. I recommend trying Zinc Picolinate as it is one of the most bioavailable zinc supplements you can buy and it’s fairly easy on the stomach if you take it with some food.

I wouldn’t recommend taking this supplement continuously at such a high dose, but within a short period of time you might notice improved immune system and you’re not getting sick as often. You’ll likely feel more energy, especially if you’re low in Zinc. Some people even report having vivid dreams when taking it! I did initially but these effect only lasted a few weeks.

Iodine – Iodine is a mineral that if often forgotten, but it plays an important role in the body, especially the thyroid. Important for metabolic processes in the body and regulation of growth and energy expenditure.

In 2003 there was a study published which showed that 25% of vegetarians suffered and 80% of vegans suffered from iodine deficiency compared to just 9% of people eating a standard mixed diet (6).

Symptoms of Iodine deficiency include: lethargy and tiredness, weight gain, poor memory and difficulty concentrating on tasks. If you’re feeling colder than usual, this might be a sign. However, calorie restriction usually leads to a significant decrease in core body temperature and this will cause you to feel cold and is not a symptom of anything serious. I recommend including a thyroid test (fT3, fT4 and TSH) in your regular blood test panel.

Including sea vegetables in your diet is one solution: these include foods like kelp, kombu. Cranberries are also another food which are rich in iodine. Alternatively you could also take a supplement which contains iodine (it’s often included in many popular multivitamins).


1. Gilsing AM1, Crowe FL, Lloyd-Wright Z, Sanders TA, Appleby PN, Allen NE, Key TJ. Serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in British male omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans: results from a cross-sectional analysis of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study

2. Herrmann W1, Schorr H, Obeid R, Geisel J. Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians

3. Joyce Maalouf, Mona Nabulsi, Reinhold Vieth, Samantha Kimball, Rola El-Rassi, Ziyad Mahfoud, and Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan
Short- and Long-Term Safety of Weekly High-Dose Vitamin D3 Supplementation in School Children

4. Shahnaz Ahmad Mir, Shariq Rashid Masoodi,1 Shafia Shafi,2 Iqra Hameed,3 Maqsood Ahmad Dar,1 Mir Iftikhar Bashir,1 Arshad Iqbal Wani,1 Zaffar Amin Shah,4 Shameema Parveen,5 Abdul Hamid Zargar,1 and Parviz Ahmad Shah
Efficacy and safety of Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: A randomized trial of two different levels of dosing on maternal and neonatal Vitamin D outcome

5. Roman Pawlak, PhD, RD, Julia Berger, BS, Ian Hines, PhD. Iron Status of Vegetarian Adults. Review of Literature.

6. Krajcovicová-Kudlácková M1, Bucková K, Klimes I, Seboková E.. Iodine deficiency in vegetarians and vegans.

Who is Fauja Singh?

The Inspirational Marathon Runner Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh is a remarkable person and someone who is a living example of what a healthy mindset and healthy lifestyle can do. He currently holds many records for his running. So, what makes him remarkable? Well, he is currently 106 years old, and he completed marathons when he was over 100 years old! Just a few weeks before he reached 102, he completed the Hong Kong Marathon.

Fauja Singh

I’ve been following Fauja Singh for quite a few years. I first saw him on a TV Documentary when he took part in the London Marathon. On there, he described his diet, and it’s clear that he’s been practicing calorie restriction for many years. On Wikipedia it says that Mr Singh is 5 ft 8″ tall and weighs just 115 lbs. So he is very lean, but this is probably a result of expending lots of energy running and aging itself, not just CR.

It’s been shown in rodents and rhesus monkeys that a CR diet preserves muscle mass and function with age. Also, in biopsies taken from people practicing long term calorie restriction (age 58 ± 7.4), gene expression profile of their muscles was found to be more similar to 30 year old controls. Big muscles require more calories, which accelerates ageing. CR does decrease muscle mass a little (depends on severity of restriction), but it preserves the muscles you have and its function for decades longer.

Fauja Singh believes that the reason he has lived so long is because he also abstains from both smoking and alcohol, and he follows a vegetarian diet. He mentions that he has been very careful with his diet over the years. He says that he limits his food intake by eating half a normal portion of food.

Here we have a great example to follow. I personally do not drink alcohol, I’ve never smoked, and for most of my life I’ve been active. I’ve also been vegetarian since 2007 and ‘mostly’ vegan since 2012, and will continue continue to eat this way for health and ethical reasons. I hope I can be in as good shape as he is when I reach that age. Actually, I hope to reach the 22nd century! 🙂 By then, I think it’s very possible we’ll have ways to reverse ageing.

Many people today in their 60s and 70s are not able to do what this man has accomplished, but I think that more people could, if they followed this way of life. Some people say: “it’s genes” and then forget about it. I think people underestimate how much of an impact diet and exercise can have. You have to remember that the choices you make today are important for your health decades from now. Make the right choices.

I recommend checking out and joining his Facebook page to keep up to date with what he’s up to.

Here’s a clip from that BBC Documentary I watched years ago, enjoy.



Calorie restriction in humans inhibits the PI3K/AKT pathway and induces a younger transcription profile

A Brief History And Future Plans

Reminiscing About The Past

Thinking about the Present

Exploring Future Plans


When I first began researching health and applying what I had learned in 2003, I had no doubt in my mind that I would succeed. Almost right away I felt the effects of eating healthy. My skin cleared up, my allergies were cured, I slept better, and felt like a new person. It might seem strange that at a young age someone could say that, but I think that most people are not living to their full potential. There are many studies published which show that large numbers of people are deficient in many nutrients, and these impact how the body and mind functions. Lack of physical exercise can also have an impact on health, too. Just eating healthy isn’t enough, especially when it comes to your mind.

I’m not perfect when in sticking to my goals and routines. How many time have I said before that I will start exercising, only to get distracted some weeks later by something and then stop? I can very easily stick to a healthy diet, but keeping an exercise routine for me has been difficult. We all make excuses why we can’t do something, and we give up too early before we see the benefits from our efforts. I suppose this could be applied to many areas in life, wouldn’t you agree?

What I Need to Focus On

Now that I’ve been working from home for over two years, my life has definitely changed. I don’t really enjoy being on the computer all day, but my work requires it. And then after I finish work, sometimes I get caught up in other things and spend even more time on the computer. Trying to get a healthy balance here is difficult at the moment, so I need to work on my own goals and become fully self employed so I can do the things I want. So after a long period of saving, I’ve decided to lower my work hours down to the minimum, and focus on other areas.

I’ll be spending the extra time working on my own projects, including this site, but this one will get a little less attention than the other niche sites for the moment, as I work on monetising them. I definitely be making more of an effort to post more frequently on this site from now on. Writing blog journals like this takes much less time; but writing articles where I feel obligated to provide accurate information takes more time because of the research I have to do.

On the topic of working from home, here’s  funny little comic from the Oatmeal about working for home. It’s not quite that bad for me yet! haha

I Want To Take Classes

I clearly need to become more physically active. I already go for walks and runs some mornings, but it’s not enough. I really would love to do Kung Fu again. It’s the same place I went before (I wonder if any of the same people are there) and classes will be twice a week. The last time I trained there it really helped me focus, stay grounded and it was nice to belong to a club. Martial Arts is not simply about learning to fight, but provides many other benefits which can enhance well-being.

Learning Martial Arts is always something I’ve enjoyed in the past. The first class MA class I ever did was in Taekwondo (Korean martial art) just down the road from me in a small community centre. I was very excited at the time, especially after watching The Karate Kid, but for whatever reason, I stopped after a few months I think. But damn, in that time I developed good kicking technique and learned to do the splits. =)

Later on I experimented with Judo because my best friend at the time and brother went. It wasn’t really my thing, but it was fun for a while. After high school I was invited to take a Karate classes, which I did for over a year. I think I remember how to do some of the Katas still :). And more recently I went to Shaolin Kung Fu class for a short while, but my previous job where I worked evenings got in the way of me saving for California.  It’s only been in the last 2 years that I have the freedom and the time to take the evening classes. I know I should do it, it’d be great for me. Perhaps on Thursday I’ll check it out and perhaps start classes next week.  I’m also going to go to the gym with a friend on the weekend. So that’ll be 3 days of the week training. I may have to reduce the level of calorie restriction that I’m currently doing for the moment as well.

Looking back, I’ve always been very active for most of my life, so these last few years have been unusual. I’ve not mentioned many other things I’ve done in the past, one of them was football (soccer for Americans) which I played for 15 years almost every day. I was very good, but never had a strong desire to try play professionally. As we grew up, playing against adults was a lot more rough, and after already suffering two big injuries myself, I didn’t fancy getting my bones broken as I tried CR and tried living healthily. My friend Joe who was also very good at football, ended up getting tackled and having his bone stick out of his shin, which of course needed an operation. There are many other instances where things got kind of rough playing as adult against local teams. Some players were just very sly and dangerous and got away with stupid stuff because the referees were too lenient. Besides, football is kind of boring to me now anyway. 🙂

“Nam Pai Chuan Competition at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff”

Future Posts

What I’m going to do is write a sort of diary type blog entry more often, with more informational blog entries and reviews coming perhaps weekly or biweekly . This way I can keep people informed of changes I’ve made, and provide some good information about health and well-being whether it be calorie restriction, veganism, supplements, anti aging treatments, skin and hair health. I will be broadening what I write about.

I’ve also wondered if I should create a Facebook page for the blog, so I can share news about nutrition and health that I come across almost every day daily. I don’t what this blog becoming a news site, but Facebook would be great to share that kind of information as I don’t want to fill my own personal Facebook with news articles.

5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

Things You Can Do To Boost Your Immune System 

If you’ve ever made healthy changes to your diet in the past, one thing you would have probably noticed is the fact that you you’ve developed a stronger immune system, and you’re not getting sick as often. It’s not uncommon for adults to develop between two to four colds each year, which can cost people time off work and just make you feel quite miserable for days to weeks. If you talk to people doing long term calorie restriction, you’ll hear many of them say that they’ve not been sick in years, maybe a decade or more.

Over the years I’ve been doing this diet, there’s been times when I seemed completely immune to developing a cold or the flu, and other times I would seem to just catch anything that was going around. Now that I’ve had enough time (14 years) to experiment, I’ve learned ways to either minimise the symptoms or to try and speed up recovery time.

I’ve also learned from mistakes that I’ve made, which seemed to have resulted in poor immunity at times. One major issue I ran into was developing a Zinc deficiency, which was mostly likely caused by the high intakes of copper I get from my plant-based diet. I had to supplement 50 mg Zinc Picolinate to correct it. My main symptoms were frequent infection (one after another), dry / painful skin on my toes and hands. I also developed acne again! Something I hadn’t experienced to this degree since before I stared doing CRON.

Almost immediately upon supplement the Zinc, my symptoms started to disappear and have not come back. I think Zinc deficiencies might be more common among vegetarians and vegans. There’s no great way to test for it, but you can get a liquid solution to taste and that can give an indication of you’re deficient.

If you feed your body all the essential nutrients, and you have good sleeping habits (lack of sleep can significantly increase the chance of getting sick) then you’re already going to do a lot better than would’ve in fending off these bugs. The first priority should always be to make sure that you analyse your diet and you’re getting over 100% of everything, and in the right amounts. And then on top of that, you can work on using other things either as a preventative at certain times of the year or even to nip it in the bud before it develops beyond the early stages of infection.



Garlic is great ingredient that can be added to many different foods and has many health benefits, not just immune system boosting effects. Garlic’s man active component is called allicin, which is created when the cloves are crushed and ailliinase reacts with alliin.

When using garlic, I recommend that you crush the garlic and leave it for a few minutes, and then consume it with something. From my experience, when I felt I was developing a scratchy throat (sign of a cold), I crushed at least 4 gloves of garlic and spread it on some bread with some olive oil. It can be strong, so be careful not to burn your mouth! But it’s very effective.

If you don’t fancy smelling of garlic by eating then all day, you can additionally take one capsules of Allicin per day which is equivalent getting the same amount of allicin as you’d get by eating 25 cloves of garlic, but now without the smell. One study showed that these capsules reduced the incidence of colds and significantly improved recovery time.

Garlic is one of the best natural remedies to boost your immune system and cure early stage infections, buy not effective for colds if the infection has gone too far. There are many studies published on the antimicrobial effects of garlic and allicin on pubmed for the prevention and treatments of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections either alone or in combination with antibiotics.

If there is one food or supplement I’d recommend everyone take, or have close at hand, it’d be garlic.

Other benefits: garlic lowers blood pressure, reduces AGE’s, lowers glucose, improves the gut by altering gut bacteria (which is also part of our immune system).


Ginseng has been touted to have many medicinal properties. It’s a treatment that has been used for many years for colds and flu in countries like Korea and China. North American Ginseng appears to be the most powerful in the treatment of acute respiratory infection.

Studies have found that this common herb can significantly shorten the length of colds by 6.2 days, and the best effect is when it’s taken preventatively for two to for months.  You can find it here if you want to give it a go this autumn / winter. Ginseng reduced the number of colds by around 25% in five trials examining the effects of North American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

Tips: Ginseng can be added to hot water to make ginseng tea, add to smoothies. It’s available in many different forms.

Other benefits: Helps boost metabolism to lose weight, increases stamina, and lower blood sugar.


Green tea is one of my favourite drinks. There’s an old Chinese proverb which says: “Rather three days without food than a day without tea”. I think drinking tea has almost become a ritual for me. First thing I do in the morning is make a cup of green tea.

Green Tea contains many different compounds or polyphenols which promote health. Two of the main components in helping boost the immune system are EGCG and L-Theanine. Studies suggest that the compound EGCG directly inhibits entry and replication of viruses like the common cold, influenza, and others. Tea primes the immune system so it can more quickly fight off infections before they have a chance to take hold.

Tips: Add some ginger and lemon to your tea to make even better. Citrus fruits may boost the benefits of driniking green tea and ginger contains gingerols which help block inflammation, and  also decrease nausea, which some people get from the tannins in green tea. Adding Manuka Honey to the tea is also a great idea if you have a bad throat and want to prevent bacterial throat infections. Gargling the tea might be more effective in preventing infections.

Other benefits: Boosts metabolism for weight loss, protects against diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. In a study from Japan, researchers found that drinking 5 cups of green tea or more reduced all cause mortality for women by 23% for Women and 12% for Men.


There are many different types of mushrooms, but Shiitake mushrooms proven to be one of the most powerful in boosting immune function. Mushrooms contain Beta Glucans which stimulate parts of the immune system as well as decrease the level of inflammation in the body.

They help us to better fight of viral and bacterial infection. Shiitake mushrooms boost natural killer cells which destroy abnormal cells, whether they are cancerous or been infected and viruses.

In a randomised study looking at human immunity with the consumption of mushrooms, researchers noted significant and beneficial changes in the immune system after just consuming 5 to 10 g of mushrooms daily. If you don’t like Mushrooms, you can alternatively take a Beta Glucan Supplement.

Beta Glucans have been studied for years looking at its immune system modulating effects, and to date there’s been over 6000 studies published looking at prophylaxis and treatment of infectious disease (read about some of them here). A trial involving 162 people, researchers gave participants of the study beta glucan and found that people in the treatment group experienced 25% fewer colds.

Tips: Don’t continually take the supplement. I recommend that you take a beta glucan supplement or consume mushrooms intermittently. So consider taking the supplement during times when you’re stressed, lack sleep, or surrounding by sick people. There is some evidence that some of the immune system benefits / changes decrease with continued use.

Other benefits: May lower cholesterol, lower risk of cancer, and well being in general. Mushrooms also provide vitamin D.


Elderberry can be used to help support a healthy immune system and protect you from developing colds. Elderberries contain anthocyanins which are strong antioxidants that help block free radical damage in the body. Studies have shown that elderberries are anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory.

In 2016 a study was published looking at the development of colds and cold duration in Air-Travellers. The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and it confirmed previous findings that this fruit protects against colds and reduces cold symptoms. The placebo group had a much longer duration of symptoms compared to the treatment group (117 vs 57, p = 0.02). Symptom score was also significantly higher in the placebo group vs treatment (583 vs 247, p = 0.05).

Tips: Use Elderberries in jams, sweets, pies and other foods. Do not eat them Raw! You can alternatively get some Gummies, which also contain vitamin A, C, D, E and Zinc for improved immune system.

These are just some of the things you can do to boost your immune system, but of course there are many more. Below I’ve listed a few posts so you can learn more about how to enhance your immune system to protect yourself from becoming sick whether it be from viruses, bacteria, fungal infection. Or even cancer and autoimmune diseases. Without our immune system, we wouldn’t last long at all. If you want to live to a very old age, your immune system is something that you have to keep healthy. You have to slow down the immune system from aging or else you would die of illnesses such as pneumonia and other common infections.

See related posts on The Immune System

  1. Enhancing Your Immune System
  2. Fasting Rejuvenates The Immune System
  3. Intermittent Fasting With Valter Longo, Ph.D Interview 
  4. Probiotics and Immunity

CR Blood Test Results (2016)

Blood Test Results – A few surprises!

It’s been quite a while since I had any blood work done, so I went to the doctors recently and sorted that out! I’ll be getting more blood work done as well as genetic testing (privately) in the near future. I want to start testing more frequently again now, rather than leaving it years without keeping track of my health.

I think it’s vital to get blood tests done if you’re into life extension and trying to get the most optimal results for longevity. Also, as you’ll see below, you can potentially run into trouble if you’re not watching things closely. Fortunately nothing too concerning showed up, but some results do suggest I need to make some changes.

Vitamin D – 25(OH)D Levelslaboratory-313870_960_720

I got a phone call from the doctor last week and he told me my 25(OH)D levels were really high! I’m sure he said they were at 504 nmol/L (200 ng/dl) which is on the verge of toxicity.

I repeated it back to him a few times just to be clear, and he said this was the result. Maybe he glanced over my result or maybe I misheard him, but the paperwork in front of me says 304 nmol/L (121 ng/dl). Still quite high, and  I’m going to stop my vitamin D supplements to bring it down a bit.

The vitamin D results are actually surprising given that I don’t really get a lot of sun, and I only took around 50,000 IU a week for about 3 weeks starting from over 2 months ago. and then I lowered it to about 5000 a day; but sometimes 10,000 a day. During the second month I lowered it to around 1000 IU per day, but I was taking it inconsistently.

It seems that I really don’t need much vitamin D3 to get my levels high. It shows the importance of actually getting blood work done… rather than supplementing blindly.

B12, Folate, Ferritin

Vitamin B12 – This came back lower than I expected, since in the last few months I was taking a B12 supplement from Now Foods. I don’t consistently take it, but I would have expected the dose to give me a higher level. I’ll change supplement and use a sublingual methylcobalamin supplement. The result was 336 ng/L (range 200-900)

Ferritin – My result wasn’t too unexpected because I am pretty much vegan (or chegan); but not sure I am comfortable with it being at 30 ug/L (range 15-300).

Having low levels of iron may decrease disease risk, lower oxidative stress, but 30 is probably too low and I’ll be looking to increase it to about 50.

Folate –  This result was normal at 10 ug/L (normal >3.0)

Full Blood Count

Everything seems fine here apart from a fairly high Neutrophil count, but still well within normal range (Neutophil = 4.9). This caused my white blood count to be higher than usual at 7.3.

I wasn’t aware of the impact eating a meal could have on white blood count; it wasn’t a fasting test so I ate my usual meal. The Neutrophil number can rise significantly in a short period of time from an infection, stress, lack of sleep.  And Lymphocyte count can be increase by a light meal before a blood test. I’m not sure why it was so high, perhaps even subclinical infection I wasn’t really ware of, I have no idea.

The number that I am more interested in is Lymphocyte, which came back at 1.8, which is lower than a few of my previous tests and is more indicative of a CR response.

Red blood cells were all within normal ranges; no signs of anaemia.


Testosterone levels dropped from 17.9 nmol/L (512 ng/dl) to 14.3 nmol/L (412 ng/dl). It’s a significant decrease for just 3 years, but I’m fine with this result. This is also normal with CR.

HbA1c level

This test is to look at blood glucose levels over time (3-4 months). My result was 29 mmol/mol (normal <48). DCCT% would be 4.8%. Life extension foundation believes an optimal HbA1C level for longevity and slow aging is under 5%.


TSH normal 1.67 mU/L (0.30-4.40) and my fT4 levels has dropped from 18 to 13.9. I’ve noticed that I can eat less now and my metabolism seems slower, I guess it really has slowed down.  Lower level of T4 is apparently associated with extended longevity in animals and humans.

My thoughts

Some of the results I expected, but I think I’m going to have to start being a bit more careful again and more strict when it comes to my diet. It’s not that I’ve been slacking off, but my food choices haven’t been as good as they could be in the last 6 months or so. I’ve also been working from home, so not much exercise either.

I’ll do my next test, which will include all my usual blood tests and a repeat of these in about 6 months time. I’ll also be doing a genetic test using 23andMe before Christmas and I’ll share those results with you as well.

You can find my previous and current test results here


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting With Valter Longo, Ph.D

Interview With Valter Longo About The Benefits Of Fasting 

Fasting has been promoted for various reasons for centuries, but it’s only recently that researchers have been able to investigate the health benefits from doing strict fasting for days at a time.

Fasting is thought to induce various changes in the body that help protect the cells from damage that may occur from the environment, and trigger pathways in the body which may increase health and possibly lifespan.

My own experience with fasting

Fasting is something that I’ve done over the years in many forms. I’ve restricted my eating to only a few hours of the day and had long periods where I didn’t eat for up to 16 hours. I’ve fasted for one day of the week for 24 hours for many years. I’ve found that fasting seems to me mentally, to help me focus better.

It was always difficult to objectively tell whether or not fasting was helpful to myself, because I’ve done calorie restriction for such a long time, and this by itself has very good results in terms of improving health markers and improving health.

Fasting has always been pretty easy to to do for me, but I’ve found calorie restriction to be just easier. Not only that, calorie restriction has a lot more data to back up the health and longevity benefits.

There is no doubt that fasting is beneficial to health, but it’s still up for question whether or not it can really extend lifespan significantly without any reduction in calories. That being said, people who fast, may automatically have their caloric intake reduced anyway.


The Interview

Dr. Rhonda Patrick speaks to Valter Longo, who was a student of the calorie restriction researcher and pioneer Roy Walford. During the last few years, he has demonstrated that prolonged fasting is able to rejuvenates the immune system so that it is in a more youthful state, as well as induces anti-cancer effects, and helps prevent side effects from cancer therapies in humans. He also mentions how fasting may improve the health or even cure people with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. I’ve previously shared one recent study showing how fasting rejuvenates the immune system.

Valter Longo has recently written a book which is not yet available in English. I was just made aware that an English version of his book “The Lonevity Diet” will be available in January 2018. I’ll be sure to write a review of it when I receive a copy.

Related articles: Is fasting good for you?