Category Archives: Health

How to Get Bitumen Off Your Skin

So recently I was refelting my shed roof and had the lovely job of using bitumen adhesive to secure the sheets of felt to each other before tacking them on.

If you have ever used bitumen then you will know that it is a stickly, oily, smelly, black substance that does not want to come off anything, including skin and clothes!

Obviously I was trying to avoid getting the bitumen on my skin but somehow I managed to get it all over the back of both of my arms.

Having not had to try and remove it before I had a look online as to how I would get it off (as soap really does nothing) and the main thing I found was that olive oil or cooking oil was the best bet.

Well I tried the olive oil method and it was pretty much useless. As I didn’t have any standard cooking oil I couldn’t actually try that.

But what I did have was baby oil and all I needed to do was to put a few drops of that on the affected area and it pretty much seemed to ‘dissolve’ the bitumen straight away.

All that was required after that was to wipe the resulting black mix off my skin with some tissue and you couldn’t even tell it had been there.

It strikes me that baby oil is a very kind method of treating your skin if you have got bitumen on it so I would certainly recommend using it if you find yourself in this situation.

I seem to remember that baby oil is useful for other things too, in particular those temporary tattoos that you can get. It takes those off pretty easily too. So if you haven’t got any at home I’m sure there are plenty of other things you can use it for (making skin soft for one thing!) so it might be worth getting hold of some.

How to See Better in the Dark

eyeIf you were watching a recent episode of ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ then you will have seen an experiment where the broadcaster Michael Mosley took a supplement for 90 days to see how it would affect his eyesight.

The results were very interesting and one particular thing that he noticed (and that was tested scientifically) was that his night time vision improved significantly as he could see much finer detail.

The supplement that he took contained the chemicals lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin and these are the important ingredients that affect the eyes.

Although you can get these substances in everyday food, with these it is really difficult to actually eat enough of the relevant vegetables that contain them so this could be one case where a supplement could be better.

The theory behind the research is that the macula is protected by certain pigments that are found in leafy green vegetables. If we eat a lot of those vegetables then the 3 chemicals above make their way to the macula and give it more protection.

There is a particular supplement that has these three chemicals in and it is freely available online. It is called Macushield and you can buy it on Amazon among other places. It is sold by opticians which gives it validity in terms of genuineness and being able to trust its claims.

So if you want to see better in the dark then it might be better to drop the carrots (or continue to eat them anyway!) and pick up this increasingly popular supplement which could help to not only help you see in the dark but also give you improved vision in other areas such as increased contrast.

You can get more information about the test results and the experiment about being able to see better by watching Series 5 Episode 2 of Trust me I’m a Doctor on iPlayer (starts at about 9 minutes in), or on the BBC website.

Where to Buy a Hand Grip Strength Measure

If you were watching ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ on the BBC recently then you will have seen an experiment designed to measure how certain exercise affects the body.

In this episode there were some surprising results using a hand grip exerciser and you may be wondering where you can get one similar to what was used.

The prime reason for the experiment was to test whether hard and quick exercise could get you fit or change any aspect of the body rather than having to exercise regularly at the gym doing moderate exercise.

There were 4 groups in this test and one of these groups was exercising purely using a hand grip exerciser.

The interesting thing about the results was that the group using this hand grip exerciser were the only people to measure a significant lowering of their blood pressure after using the exerciser for 4 weeks.

There were benefits also shown by the groups who used high impact exercise whether in a gym or at home, in terms of improving fitness levels. Those who did the moderate exercise, although they showed minor improvements, did not do as well as those doing high impact exercises at home or at the gym.

From the results that were measured it might be best to do both high impact exercise and the hand grip exercises to get the most benefit.

The hand grip exerciser that was used in the experiments was one that you could actually measure the strength of your grip quantitatively. You can therefore see how well you are doing and whether or not you are improving.

You can buy this kind of hand exerciser online and below is shown a very similar exerciser to the one that was used.

Obviously any kind of exercise regime should be thought about seriously and your doctor consulted if you have any health problems.

Where Can I Get Alginate?

Recent studies have found that a substance that is found in seaweed, called alginate, can have inhibiting effects on the absorption of fat into the body. Here we look into where you can get alginate.

In 2014 research at Newcastle University found that alginate can stop the body absorbing fat. Alginate is found naturally in seaweed and this has also been used in Japan as a weight loss supplement for a few years now.

If the body does not absorb the fat, then the person does not put on the extra weight that would be caused by the fat. Instead the fat is passed straight through the body.

Research is still going on to see if this can be made into a bonafide weight loss supplement but in the meantime people like Jamie Oliver have put down their weight loss to eating seaweed.

So the best way to get hold of alginate is by eating seaweed itself. But obviously this may not be an option for many people so they may be looking for an alginate supplement that can be taken with food.

There are a couple of options at present that contain alginate but are not sold as specifically weight loss supplements. Care should be taken with any kind of supplement and you may wish to consult your doctor before taking them.

In particular seaweed supplements are used to support thyroid function so if you have any issues with your thyroid you should certainly seek advice.

So you can get hold of seaweed (or kelp) supplements online and below are a couple of options (in either tablet or powder form)  which purport to contain alginate so could be options to consider:

Another possibility is food grade sodium alginate powder. This is actually used in molecular gastronomy to form things like pseudo caviar.

Obviously this kind of product has not been tested in terms of its possible weight loss properties so there is no guarantee that this will have any kind of effect and it would be interesting to test how you could use it in an every day context!

So as discussed there is a long way to go with more testing and research required to see if alginate can be used as a weight loss supplement. In any case a balanced and varied diet, together with regular exercise is generally the best way to lose weight.

Why is Everyone Dying?

In 2016 there have been a spate of celebrity deaths that actually kicked off just after Christmas of 2015 with Lemmy of Motorhead.

Obviously the big death that shocked everyone initially was David Bowie on 4th January 2016 but then it seems like a lot of high profile people have followed over the past few months.

So why are so many people dying you may ask? Well one theory is that popular culture really started kicking off in the 1950s and 60s and that is when television became much more widespread. By the beginning of the 1960s around 3/4 of the population had a television in their homes and so you could say that celebrity became much more common and accessible at that stage.

This enabled not only TV celebrities but also musicians to gain much more notoriety and in much larger numbers.

So those people who were becoming well known in the 50s and 60s were likely to be born in the 30s and 40s, which would make a lot of them in their 70s right now.

With life expectancy for men being in the 70s it becomes logical for many of the popular figures in the 60s to now be hitting that kind of milestone.

Obviously there are other factors involved too and in particular it seems that a lot of the deaths in 2016 have been from cancer including Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Johan Cruyff,  Victoria Wood and Billy Paul, but cancer is a big killer. Currently 44% of the population are expected to get cancer in their lifetime (in the UK) and of those 50% will survive for 10 or more years.

So really we have to think that maybe it is not a case of lots of well known people dying in 2016, but maybe more of the case that there are more well known people around so we are likely to hear about more celebrity deaths in the coming years as the generation that became celebrities in the 60s and beyond become part of the older generation.

It does seem that 2016 has started pretty badly, but overall life expectancy is getting higher each year and women in particular can expect to live until they are around 83 years old in the UK and 81 in the US. Men are a little behind with an average life expectancy of 79 in the UK, 76 in the US.

Life expectancy is rising continually so anyone born now could have a life expectancy in their 90s and by 2050-60, anyone born around that time may be expected to live until 100!