Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the new and brave drugs for autism - really?

so researchers have come up with a new drug that is being marketed (or premarketed i guess) as targeting the "underlying mechanism" for autism. when i read about it that really piqued my interest as sofar i`ve thought that autism is still considered an idiopathic condition (ie. no known cause). thats why drugs sofar have concentrated on alleviating the symptoms of the condition like anxiety, aggression and repetitive behaviour. so i was exited and i admit, sceptical, at the same time. i mean - something that would cure the underlying cause would indicate that a cause has been found - right? wrong

this whole thing is based on a few rat studies that show that about 15% of autism cases can be manufactured by a single-gene glitch. and in these cases it looks like the connections between neurons in the brain contain too much of the neurotransmitter glutamate. still this is way better than nothing - right? means that maybe they have figured out what actually cuases that imbalance? what causes that specific faulty gene being turned on. right? wrong

the drug in question works by balancing the amount of glutamate (a neurotransmitter). it really pisses me off how this can be called "adressing the underlying cause" of autism. in this area of epigenetics. really. i`m speechless. because you know what? the one thing that HAS been confirmed in studies is that the gene that in these 15% of cases where autism can be considered a genetic disease (in mostly male children from mathematically intelligent background), confers intelligence in most cases and can only PREDISPOSE you to the disorder. you have to do something to swich it on. you can all make intelligent guesses at what that might be, because i dont see any studies on that coming up in the nearest future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

book review - THE PALEO MIRACLE

my first ever (extremely brief but completely to the point) book-review - woohoo. nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that i`m in it, or that my impossibly hot and brilliant boyfriend is the co-author - right. but i`ll stay very professional about it and just say - this is the most inspirational, eye-opening, emotional and powerful book i`ve read this year - and if you know me, you know i go through books like i go through grassfed butter.

as christmas is coming, this would be the ideal gift "read conversion material" to give your friends/relatives who still doubt what we preach. there is nothing more powerful than real people and real stories, especially stories of unbelievable and phenomenal change of health.

disclaimer: these stories will provoke teary-eyedness and awe as well as provide the kind of inspiration that no number of scientific double-blind peer-reviewed studies can give.

so go and get yours at BUY-THE-BOOK and dont hesitate to write a review of your own.

paleo it forward - save a life

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The role of the brain (predominantly the hypothalamus) in obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

copy/paste from my FB post directed at paleopeeps (because its sunday and im lazy)

We all know about insulin, leptin and ghrelin – the appetite regulating hormones. Insulin is secreted in response to glucose, leptin is secreted by fatcells so its presence depends on fatmass and ghrelin is secreted in your stomach in response to CCK and also in response to the mechanical fullness/emptiness of the stomach… easy and simple right. Well actually everything that gos on inside the body is controlled by the brain – that goes for EVERYTHING. Appetite is regulated by the hypothalamus. NPY/AgRP neurons in the hypothalamus stimulate appetite by producing two neuropeptides — neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related protein (AgRP), that inhibit the  activating of satiety neurons and stimulate melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) in the lateral hypothalamus. This enhances appetite and decreases metabolism and energy expenditure. Insulin and leptin inhibit the NPY/AgRP neurons. Ghrelin stimulates them. The action of these hormones inside the brain is totally different than in the rest of the body. Insulin`s role in the brain is to decrease energy intake. That is called negative feedback. When energy stores are full, circulating insulin is high >> high insulin in the central nervous system increases glucose (contrary to the effect that high insulin has in the rest of the body = decreasing glucose and increasing hunger) and thus decreases feeding behaviors. So in the brain, insulin is its own counterregulatory hormone, and therefore insulin`s function in the brain produces features of insulin resistance.
We all know about the causes of obesity: leptin resistance and/or  insulin resistance = there is plenty of leptin or insulin circulating in the bloodstream but the receptors in the hypothalamus are “death”. Leptin is produced in subcutaneous adipose tissue so the more of it you have, the higher leptin levels you have. This would provide a negative feedback loop releasing fatty acids from adipose cells. Leptin resistance not only happens when receptors have gone death but also when only a low level of this leptin is reaching the hypothalamus. Insulin and leptin use many of the same neurons, receptors and the same messengers to control metabolism so I guess that hypothalamic insulin resistance could be the cause of leptin resistance, but it is not the sole cause because many of overweight  individuals remain insulin-sensitive, and not all insulin-resistant persons are overweight. Enter the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is semipermeable along the arcuate nucleus to allow the passage of certain proteins but prevent the entrance of others. Leptin and insulin can cross the barrier. Problems in the transport of leptin have a role to play in peripheral leptin resistance. We know that leptin injections straight to the brain work, but it doesn’t work peripherally. Leptin transport is also inhibited in starvation and by hypertriglyceridemia. There have been mice studies that show that triglycerides induce leptin resistance- no human studies ofcourse….   Elevated triglycerides also stimulate ghrelin transport – explains ghrelin entrainment patterns. Ok, so what causes triglyceride levels to increase? Au contraire to Dr. Peat, fructose seems to have something to do with it. BUT only if consumed in excess – what that excess is is personal as well as not very well studied. We know that also sucrose in excess can elevate triglycerides causing leptin resistance and subcutaneous obesity.. So leptin resistance is connected to subcutaneous adiposity – that doesn’t really have much to do with diabetes 2 right? How about insulin? We all know that insulin is produced by the pancreas and it’s main function is to regulate the availability and storage of glucose and fatty acids. Insulin resistance happens when insulin receptors in tissues become less responsive to insulin resulting in hyperinsulinemia >>> type 2 diabetes.
Here comes the part where Peat seems to be on to things: triglycerides do  not impair insulin transport over the blood-brain barrier  - certain free fatty acids do.  Trans fats and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids are responsible for an inflammatory response in the  insulinreceptors. BUT certain sugars like fructose also appear to be pro-inflammatory for the insulin receptors..  what is news is that these inflammatory processes occur not just in the liver and muscles, but also within the hypothalamus. The issue that I have with Peat`s theory is that the research I`ve read does not make omega 6 fatty acids the PRIME culprit but point to one single longchain saturated fatty acid.
Thaler et al. , Schwartz et al and Benoit et al. showed that  one particular long chain saturated fatty acid — palmitic acid — causes inflammation and reduces insulin sensitivity in the hypothalamus, leading to overeating and obesity.
This is why I propose that fructose be acknowledged as a PARTIAL or “coculprit” to hypothalamic insulinresistance: In  lean and healthy individuals, fructose at reasonable levels is converted to glucose in the liver, and brief excess is then stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. But in excess, fructose is converted to fat of two types — triglycerides and one particular fatty acid.  Can you guess which fatty acid? Yep, palmitic acid, the fatty acid associated with brain insulin resistance. The excess fat is accumulated in the liver (fatty liver disease) which results in hepatic insulin resistance.
So here gos, hate me if you will: high fructose consumption >>>>  elevated triglycerides >>>> leptin resistance +  high fructose consumption >>>> palmitic acid >>>> hypothalamic insulin resistance.
A diet full of sugar AND PUFAs AND palmitic acid causes cytokines to be expressed in the hypothalamus, activating the intracellular inflammatory signal transduction.
Research by Ono et al shows that hypothalamic insulin resistance precedes and probably causes insulin resistance in other organs and tissues (at least in rats). In a study by Obici et al central administration of insulin suppressed glucose production by the liver and blocked insulin signaling in the brain. That in turn impaired the ability of insulin to inhibit glucose production in the liver. So the majority of insulin’s ability to cause muscle to take up glucose is mediated by its effect on the brain.  The hypothalamus is in charge of whether or not the body has an adequate energy intake by regulating energy stores and energy balancing hormones. In the case of leptin resistance the brain acts to restore homeostasis by signaling the peripheral metabolism to make more subcutaneous fat . When insulin signaling in the brain is impaired, the upkeep of  homeostasis requires that more insulin be brought into the brain. To do this, the body must become hyperinsulinemic, so that enough insulin gets into the hypothalamus.  The best way to accomplish this is to induce whole body insulin resistance, primarily in the liver and muscles. How does the insulin resistant brain manage to induce insulin resistance in the rest of the body?  By growing intra-abdominal fat. Hypothalamic insulin resistance disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary -adrenal axis, leading to increased secretion of ACTH and cortisol. These in turn stimulate the growth of intra-abdominal fat.  That type of adipose tissue produces copious amounts of macrophages and releases pro-inflammatory  cytokines and adipokines into the bloodstream. In the liver where they cause fatty liver, insulin resistance, and liver inflammation. Blood circulation carries these proinflammatory molecules to the muscles again causing insulin resistance and inflammation. So this is the way that  the fat around your intestines ties in with whole body insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in the body causes the pancreas to go into overdrive to supply more insulin causing in hyperinsulimia >>> TYPE 2 DIABETES.  So now the hypothalamus gets enough  insulin.  Once the inflammation in the arcuate nucleus in the brain is removed, and the NPY/AgRP neurons become more sensitive to insulin this response should stop and the situation return to normal.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

an article delving into the depths of the pride of one soldier

by Hendrik Arro

On the 8th of August of this year an official ceremony took place at Ämari airbase in commemoration of an Estonian-born American pilot, major Aado Kommendant, and his colleague, aircraft Captain lieutenant colonel Charles M. Walling. Both of these men fell 46 years ago in the Vietnam War when their aircraft, a F-47 Phantom, was shot down in action. Their remains were recovered only recently, and on the 8th of August the remains of Aado Kommendant were formally reburied in the ground of the national military cemetery at Arlington airbase, USA. As agreed with the United States embassy in Estonia, a commemorative ceremony was conducted at the Ämari airforcebase in Estonia on the same day.

Due to the fact that both of these men had lost their lives fighting the communist regime, the leadership of the Estonian Air Force proposed that the Estonian airforce veterans would take part in the commemorative ceremony. The reason being, that they had fought communism in their own time. In addition to that, the monument called “The Last Flight,” erected at the Ämari Air Base in 2004 in the memory of Estonian airforce soldiers lost or killed in battle, was sculpted by a pilot of the former 11th Night Harassment Group (Nachtsclachtgruppe 11), Kalju Reitel. In addition to all that, the Estonian Parliament had recently approved a legislative act recognizing these men who had fought in the Second World War as freedom fighters. Accordingly it was a shock when a message was received from the U.S. Embassy stating that they did not wish to have the Estonian veterans, who had served in the fight against communism in the Second World War among the ranks of the German Army, take part in the ceremony.

Well, a no is a no.  Because the Estonian Air Force veterans have always had a relationship of mutual respect and well meaning with the leadership of the Estonian Air Force, the veterans decided not to cause problems between the Estonian Air Force and the US Embassy by attending the foreign ceremony. The only issue remaining was – what was the matter in the first place?

All this inevitably raises a question among the ranks of Estonian freedom fighters - does the recognition of the Estonian Civil War and the Estonian freedom fighters by the Estonian Parliament only mean something in certain limited circles even in Estonia, and as far as foreigners are concerned, we are still “damned fascists”?  Or was this a case of an independent act of some U.S. Embassy employee?  The Association of Estonian Freedom fighters has gotten no formal answer or explanation to these questions from the powers to be.

At this point we would like to remind the Americans, who consider themselves the pinnacle of the anti-communist movement in the world today, that in the history of the fight against communism there are events that even the Americans would like to forget about. But let us remind ourselves – at the same time that the Estonian and Latvian soldiers fought for the independence of their countries in face of the communist menace, the US President, along with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, were pleading for Stalin`s friendship in Jalta, handing him half of Europe on a silver plate. There really is no point in even mentioning the failed Atlantic Charter. I guess you could call it an “occupational accident” of the western leadership of the time. W. Churchill figured it out quite soon after the event, as was evident from his famous speech at Fulton, but F.D. Roosevelt probably went to his grave as a friend of the great father Stalin.

In the light of everything presented above I would like to ask – should all of the American soldiers who fought in alliance with Stalin be held responsible for all the crimes committed by that regime both during and after the Second World War, even though they did not take part in committing these crimes? After all, those crimes were made possible by the fact that the USA gave direct assistance to the criminal Soviet Union. So in order to achieve an equal burden of responsibility with the Estonian soldiers, at least part of the responsibility for the Katõn murders, the genocide of the Baltic peoples (and the list could go on and on) should be borne by Americans. If we follow the example of how Americans are handling the matter of the Estonian and Latvian soldiers, who once fought for the independence of their homelands, it would not be an exaggeration at all to say that Americans have been at least indirectly involved in the aforementioned events. Let us think about who we are assisting before sending our troops on the next mission. What would that look like to the other countries and nations? An inevitable question arises – are Americans nowadays the friends and allies we think they are, whose association with us can do us no harm, or is there present the same danger as there was in our relations with the Germans back then - assisting them might be pragmatically necessary, but the consequences could be that Estonian soldiers could someday be (in the courts of some Islamic country perhaps) prosecuted and sentenced of being guilty by association with the US.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

the winter that never came part 2: my CT experiment n=1 + some autoimmune disease musings

i have been lifting weights since 2001 undulating between powerlifting and bodybuilding. in the beginning of 2011 i decided to be serious about powerlifting again after some years of pure bodybuilding. that decision meant a royally sore but. and legs, and back, and chest... basically everything hurt. training was intense and i loved it, but i started to need a bit more as a recovery aid than the usual glutamine. cold water came to mind. so since early autumn (august) of 2011 i started taking cold showers after workouts- i started out with short (minute or 2) usually targeting my legs. as i started to feel the results and getting more adapted to cold i added to the time and graduated to fullbody showers. then around the end of 2011 - bang, Dr. Kruse comes out with the CT series and puts a big smile on my face. around that time i got around to taking labs to track my MS - hsCRP, cortisol, leptin, vit D, thyroid hormones, DHEA... the whole shebang. and i liked what i saw, but there was room for improvement. now i have been doing 2 x 20-30 minute showers 4-5 times a week for 3 months. a few weeks ago i decided i should test the functional benefits and went for a walk - in around 0 degrees celsius in my underarmour heatgear (designed to cool you off in hot places) t-shirt and shorts. i was pink and peachy and walked at a leasurely pace enjoying the looks i was getting on the streets. just last week i got the opportunity to try immersion for the first time : 8 deg celsius water for 30 minutes. i would have gone much longer but i decided not to give my mom a heartattack - we were having a spaday - she in the saunas me in the coldtubby. id say this is an experiment that has graduated to a lifefstyle for me.

before embarking on this journey i had been mostly ketogenic paleo for years, so i think that the sucess and easyness of CT for me must be partly attributed to that fact. to tell you the truth im not crazy enough to revert back to SAD, trigger my MS and then implement keto and CT just to prove the point, but my extremely subjective feeling is that the MS issue has improved even more. sometimes you dont notice anything is wrong before it is gone and you feel perfectly normal and go "hmmm i guess that occasional nagging numbness in my upper thigh must have been lingering symptoms after all."

you know, im quite a shallow person - i like to work on my body just for esthetics sake - im the first to admit that the hours i spend deadlifting have nothing to do with the health of the posterior chain (a weak link in human physique) and everything to do with how my skinny jeans fit. but in the next addition to this series i`d really like to talk a bit about health for a change. neolithic diseases of civilisation, autoimmune disorders and ageing in relation to circardian biology and cold. in addition id like to bring up a theory of mine about the connection between the brain and autoimmune disease: what if it all starts (or at least is connected) in the brain afterall - lets talk about LTP (longterm potentiation). yes i know this is something that has benn researched in neuropsychology and memoryresearch, but my theory gos something like this: if LTP works with psychology (one neuron that encodes an experience triggers another neuron that ellicits the response), then could it work more generally also... might there be a neurological trigger to autoimmune responses? if so which enzymes cause which proteins to be triggered and do they have antagonists? i mean could there exist a socalled biochemical "memory" that initiates the same kind of neurological consolidation process when a autoimmune recession takes place? and how is it all connected to biological mismatches, circardian biology and coldadaptation. stay tuned.......

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the winter that never came. part 1

i want to write about cold, hunger, darkness and physical exhertion. sounds bad doesn`t it. in my ears it sounds perfect - evolutionarily perfect that is. this is a recount of going back to the basics - of the hows and whys. lots of theory and some selfexperimenting. there will be several installations. lets begin with the background, the logic.

being paleo means a lot more than eating lowcarb. in the paleosphere lowcarb even isnt a must anymore. for me paleo is a lifestyle that encompasses everything necessary to achieve optimal health - the thrive not survive way of life. what we need to do in order to comprehend what that really means is very simple: yes, we live in a modern world but our bodies and our biochemistry is far from "modern". even though i do not even want to envision what my life would be like without modern comfort (im too old and lazy), i have been given a brain and some imagination and a strong desire to make myself into the best, healthiest - OPTIMAL - version of myself. my biochem and evolutionary biology background brought me to paleo as my logical thinking found a soundingboard in a filosophy that states that in order to thrive we need to feed our bodies the fuel that we were designed for. but the simple fact is this is not enough - yes the paleo "diet" is important. very much so, but there is so much more to it. to why modern man is such a physical wreck despite of all our modern comforts and possibilities. in a time when we have so much more possibilities, science and knowledge open to us - why is mankind in such a sorry state healthwise?????

lets hope that the theory of "gluttony and sloth" has died a deserved slow and painful death at least for the majority of paleosphere. lets say we all agree that there is a lot of underlying complex interplay (hormonal, biochemical) that makes calories in = calories out moot in the same way as telling a poor man that he is poor because his moneyflow into the bankaccount is smaller than the flow out of it. the info might be true. maybe. maybe not. maybe he got robbed. lost his job... we dont know. but you get my point though. hopefully. the info will not do him any good because it isn`t answering the question why.

i want to go deeper than the surface with this post. i want to make it clear that even though the outside may be perfect- you might be a fitness model - the inside (what really matters - the biochemistry, the longevity, the health of a person) might not match. i want to talk about why is that possible and even probable and what can we do to make certain we dont fall into that trap. the trap of complacency.

modern life has created a hoard of lifestyle factors, especially in the last 100 years, that have brought the human animal farther and farther from our "natural habitat" - the niche, the environment that we developed over millions of years to successfully inhabit. since the times of Lucy the aurtralopithecus afarensis 4,2 million years ago to this day, the last 100 years have changed our lives more than all the previous millenia put together. im sure every sane person can understand that that must create some kind of stress on our bodies and minds. we eat things our granny would not have recognised as food. we have streched the day into the night with electrical light. we use our tvs and computers to the wee hours of the night flooding our retina with the blue spectrum - corresponding to broad daylight. and we suffer from insomnia and wonder why. our houses are well insulated, our clothes are technological, our cars have heated seats - we live in eternal day and summer. whats wrong with that you may ask?

the thing that is wrong with all those nice things is: our biochemistry is GOVERNED by 2 things: the circardian and seasonal rythm (the light and temperature of our environment) and our diet corresponding to that rythm.

So you can see - we have created an eternal summer and daylight environment that is very far from the environment that we have developed in and evolved to thrive in. so what should we do? give up these modern comforts? or maybe use this large brain that evolution has given us and come up with ways to tap into the latent genetic and biochemical potential within us that corresponds to a certain kind of environmental niche. the lion will not thrive in alaska. the human animal can not thrive in an eternal summers day.


even those of us who come from tropical ancestry can understand that there is a difference between hot and wet seasons, day and night, drought and plenty, that has been successfully eliminated from our modern lives. for those of us that live in temperate regions the change has been, simply put, huge. our biochemistry was molded over millenia to fit those cycles. to prepare our bodies to cope with the changing seasonal temperatures using that which was available to us - seasonally available fuel sources. for example - the abundance of carb-rich food during summer and early fall prepares our bodies for winter - and im not talking about simple fatstorage here - the biochemistry gos much deeper than that. after such a season our bodies would have been primed to take on the winter - ready for it in every way and benefitting from it! those of us who were fit enough, emerged lean and mean in the springtime. now we eat a "summertimediet" all round the year preparing our bodies for a winter that never comes.
so lets list a few biological mismatches between our lagging archaic biochemistry and our current modern world:

- food availability vs. scarcity

lets just say that 6-8 meals a day was not an option for 99,99% of hominid history. so why would it be optimal now? im sure you probably know i have been practicing intermittant fasting for years. thats why. going just a little deeper this is what IFing will accomplish for you: increased autopghagy (clearance of dead cellmatter and thus reducing inflammation), increased HGH response in fasted training, increased insulin and leptinsensitivity.

- carbohydrate content of our food

logical thinking will supply that carb-rich food (veggies, tubers, fruit and berries) were not available year-round for the majority of our history. it would be also logical to assume (and correct) that carb-loading in late summer/early fall would bring about some biologic conditioning and correspond with biochemical adaptations in accordance with seasonality - eg. abundance of carbs in the diet would signal approaching winter and our body would make use of the carb-load preparing us for the season of cold and scarcity.
this carbload essentially triggers seasonal insulinresistance which is very beneficial when one needs to store energy for a cold and dark period of scarce foodsupplies. except the winter never comes any more.

- omega 6 content of our food

the interesting thing is that the maximum omega 6 content/load of seasonal foodsupply coincides with that of carbohydrates. we used to get more omega 6 when plantmatter was available to us in addition to the higher omega 6 content of game meat in the summertime.
it is an essential fatty acid, yes. with an essential job to do in our bodies. one of those jobs is increasing the plasticity of our cellmembranes in order to cope with the onset of winter. this change would be reversed during the winter in the favour of omega 3-s in accordance with carbs reappearing in the diet and the lengthening of light cycles. that never happens now. be continued... digging deeper in part 2

Friday, February 17, 2012

not wanting it enough

I know this is going to be a confrontational post, one that will get many dislikes for sure, but i have been thinking about this a lot, discussing this with everybody i have come to contact with lately.
Fitness, nutrition, antiaging and actively studying anything and everything to do with that is a very big part of my daily life. It has nothing whatsoever to do with my actual dayjob - it is all a "hobby" you could say. So is helping other people out. I put lots of effort into it, lots of time and passion. I literally spend at least 2 hours daily reading up on the newest goingons in biochemistry, molecular biology, evolutionary medicine and exercise physiology. I want to be able to say with honesty that when i give out info to people i have done my best and i don`t just sprout broscience around. Real science works. I`m living proof. The thing is, i have come into contact with some people that really need to make a change, not just for looks, but for serious health issues. I have given them the results of this 12 years n=1 journey of experiment and study... and what happens? They listen, nod and at the same time i feel like i`m reading their minds... there is no way they will ever even give this a chance, give themselves a chance. When people just quit on me when they dont get a sixpack in a week then i get frustrated because for the life of me i cant make myself understand - why don`t they want it enough??!!  I hear the same things all over again - i cant really commit to it now, there are lots of birthdays coming up, vacations, weddings. They are so busy at work, with children.. etc etc.
The same person is back after a year or so swearing that they are ready to commit now. They have had a terrible year healthwise, they have again tried every fad in a mag for a week with no results and they just can not understand how i manage to either stay in shape, make progress at the gym, stay healthy etc etc considering my many medical issues.... I MANAGE BECAUSE I WANT IT ENOUGH!
I  want to be able to work out like an elite athlete despite my MS and heartcondition. I want to be able to enjoy my body as a result of nurturing it with the right kind of nutrition. I want to be able to enjoy freedom of movement that results from doing all that - believe me once you have been paralysed you begin to appreciate that. I want to be able to live life to my fullest potential and i want to learn every single day, i want to feel fast and sharp of mind and body. 
When i sit across the table, for the umpteenth time, from the same man in his 40s, still 100 lbs overweight, still type 2 diabetic, bloated and red from systematic inflammation raging inside him. Still in pain, almost impotent, suffering physically and mentally. I want to first cry for him and then give him a good spanking. WAKE THE HELL UP!!!!!! Your life is passing you by. And the small step you need to take to realise your potential could have been taken a year ago. Why didn`t you want it enough?????? More than your own and your loved ones physical, mental and sexual wellbeing, happiness and longevity you wanted that beer on a vacation and that doughnut every day at the office. You made a choice. You have to live with it. I have to grieve for you.

Excuses are for those who dont want it bad enough. yes i saw that on facebook. And this one too:
"Nutrition, exercise, and stress management can no longer be considered alternative medicine. They are essential medicine.........Get Some." Jack Kruse, neurosurgeon

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2 supreme and primal cakes


200gr dark chocolate
100 gr butter
6 eggs
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon potato starch

melt the chocolate with butter in a steel bowl over some boiling water. whip the eggyolks and whites separately. use a pinch of salt in the whites and stevia as a sweetener. let the molten chocolate mix cool down for a couple of minutes and add it to the yolkmixture while constantly mixing. add the flours to that mixture and stir untill smooth. add the eggwhites as the last ingredient and fold into the mixture. pour the cakemix into a buttered cakemold and pop into the oven at 175deg celsius for about 6-8 minutes. depending on how moist you like it. top with whipped cream and devour.


800gr creamcheese
200gr quark or fullfat turkish yoghurt
2 dl whipping cream
5 eggs
1,5 tablespoons potato starch
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
stevia to sweeten

crust: about 200 gr macadamianutflour + 2-3 tablespoons of coconutflour + about 50 gr molten butter. mixed and pressed to the base of a cakemold.

mix the creamcheese, quark, whipped cream, lemon and orange zest and sweeten. whip the eggyolks and add to the mixture. add the potatostarch and mix well. whip the eggwhites with a pinch of salt untill hard and fold into the mixture. pour everything on top of the crust and pop into the oven at 150 deg celsius for about 50 min to an hour. let it cool overnight. enjoy with some strawberries on top

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fructoserant brought on by rampant stupidity amongst the GPs (excuse all the intelligent docs in the world, but im pissed)

A friend of mine got diagnosed with kidneystones today. She is extremely fit, lean, active and healthy. She does love her sweets though - she is the kind of girl that the normal girls (like me) envy - she can eat anything and not gain a gram.
Her doctor told her that the kidneystones are caused by excessive vitamin D - she takes her 5000IUD some times a week - and we do live above 60 deg latitude here. Ok, i have deep contempt for most doctors, so why should i be surprised? Im not. Im pissed. Because no blood was taken, no tests made, nobody knows her D(25)OH. And nobody cared to mention the number 1 cause of kidney stones - uric acid created by excess fructose in the diet.

This article is a good example of solid research in this field

"We documented 4902 incident kidney stones during a combined 48 years of follow-up. The multivariate relative risks of kidney stones significantly increased for participants in the highest compared to the lowest quintile of total-fructose intake for all three study groups. Free-fructose intake was also associated with increased risk. Non-fructose carbohydrates were not associated with increased risk in any cohort. Our study suggests that fructose intake is independently associated with an increased risk of incident kidney stones."
This study was the first one performed on humans and they reported that the incidence of kidney stones in both men and women was related to fructose consumption.

And kidney stones are the least of what may result from exess fructose consumption - heartdisease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes have been associated with elevated fructose consumption aswell.


Vitamin D, Calcium and Kidney stones

I think i should also make it clear that a connection between vitamin D and kidney stones has been studied and dismissed in a Harvard study. They studied 45,616 men over 14 years for a total of 477,000 person-years of follow up. They found no increased risk of kidney stones with vitamin D intake. They did find that the incidense of kidney stones can be related to low potassium, low magnesium, high refined carbohydrates, high sodas, and a high acid residue. Everything that can result from following a standard western diet. Today, humans live in a state of low-grade metabolic acidosis that  leaches calcium from our bones, increases the amount of calcium in our urine, and causes kidney stones. However, at least two studies have linked kidney stones to latitude, with an increasing incidence of stones at lower latitudes. One also directly linked stones to sunlight. A Saudi Arabian study found kidney stones were more common in the summer. We do know that kidney stone formation can be connected to dehydration - so wouldnt the logical connection be found there? Summer >>> dehydration?????
There is a very interesting connection between calcium and kidney stones as was found when scientists at Harvard decided to follow 92 731 women taking part in the Nurses Health Study in order to find out what affects the formation of kidney stones and what protects against it.
They found that calcium from dairy products protected from them, but calcium from supplements increased the risk of developing the kidney stones. The nurses who consumed the most dietary calcium, primarily from dairy foods such as milk, cheese and ice cream, were only 65 percent as likely to develop kidney stones as the women who consumed the least dietary calcium.
At the same time, though, the nurses who took calcium supplements had a 20 percent greater risk of developing stones than women who didn't. The amount of the supplements didn't seem to make any difference.

The other primary findings of the Nurses Health Study of kidney stones:
  • Women who consumed the most sugar had higher rates of forming kidney stones than other women.
  • Those who consumed the most potassium and fluid were less likely to develop kidney stones than others.
  • Meat consumption didn't seem to have any effect on risk of stones
What my logic makes of that:
The calcium in dairy comes with fat and some vitamin D - therefore it is taken up into boneformation. The supplemented calcium doesnt - so it will gather in soft tissues and also in your bloodvesses forming kidney stones and plaque. Also vitamins C has been investigated as possible causes for kidney stones, but such proposals have been refuted.

What is fructose, why is it so dangerous?

From a biochemical perspective, fructose is a monosaccharide that is unique among other sugars. The difference is in the chemical build of the molecule. glucose, another monosacharide, for example is an "aldose" whereas fructose is a "ketose". A small but a significant difference where your liver is concerned.
where does one get that fructose from?
Heres a list of fructose content%:
  •  apple juice 65%
  • HFCS in sodas 55%
  • table sugar 50%
  • honey 38%

What does fructose do once in your body?

The way our body treats fructose is very different from the way it treats other sugars. the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver. 
Dr Robert Lustig,professor of endocrinology at the University of California has been the leading forse behind making the ills of fructose public with his documentary "Sugar, the bitter truth", here are some main points i picked out from his work.
  • Every cell in your body, including your brain, is able to make use of glucose but that is not so with fructose. fructose is turned into triglycerides in the liver (by combining a glycerol backbone with 3 free fatty acids) which are then packed into VLDL (the truly harmful form of cholesteroltransporting proteins). The more glycerol you have, the more fat you store. 
  • The triglycerides created during fructose metabolism accumulate as fat in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes. Fructose is the most lipophilic carbohydrate, as already explained, fructose converts to activated glycerol (g-3-p),and the more glycerol you have, the more fat you store.
  • When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. 
  • The metabolism of fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure,causes gout and kidneydiseases.
  • Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which suppresses your appetite. Fructose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain's communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

Lets pick that apart, shall we

Fructose and fat storage 

My readers all know that highcarb/lowfat diets tend to increase triglyceride levels and promote weightgain, but the process of lipogenesis (production of fat cells) doubles after consuming fructose than after consuming glucose.

From the November 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

"...ingestion of large quantities of fructose has profound metabolic consequences because it bypasses the regulatory step catalyzed by phosphofructokinase.  This allows fructose to flood the pathways in the liver, leading to enhanced fatty acid synthesis, increased esterification of fatty acids, and increased VLDL secretion, which may raise serum triacylglycerols and ultimately raise LDL cholesterol concentrations."

Why does this all happen?

This is what happens when carbohydrate (glucose) enters the body:  blood glucose goes up and the glut-4-pathway is activated: >> NPY neurons of your hypothalamus signal the pancreas to release insulin>> insulin stimulates the release of leptin>> leptin suppresses ghrelin. (all of that happens if your metabolism is not damaged and you are not insulinresistant - we are talking about healthy human metabolism here). As a result of this chain reaction your hunger is suppressed.
A study done in 2008  shows that in comparison with glucose, fructose did not stimulate insulin output like this. Fructose completely bypasses this system and uses the glut-5 pathway - achieving a greatly downregulated insulin response. A blessing for the insuline resistan? Not so. It is only logical to think that the output of this chain reaction will be very different in case insulin-production is muted: ghrelin is not surpressed and you will continue feeling hungry.
The fact is that  fructose also leads to insulin resistance and as many of you know, insulin resistance has been found to lead to weight gain. Fructose has been used in laboratory studies to create insulin resistance in rats.

"Although fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion in the short term (41), the insulin resistance and obesity induced by long-term fructose feeding in experimental animals induces compensatory hyperinsulinemia. Blakely et al (93) showed significant increases in fasting serum insulin and fasting serum glucose concentrations in rats that consumed 15% of energy as fructose"

Fructose and kidney disease

During the past decade, scientists have stared to associate fructoseconsumption with uric acid exess. It is a wellknown and longknown fact that elevations in uric acid can lead to kidney stones. but these scientists found that high uric acid levels reduced nitric oxide levels, and this, in turn, contributes to inflammation, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and "metabolic syndrome." after that more research has come out about the connection between fructose and kidney disease and

Nakagawa T. et al 2006:

"Uric acid is strongly associated with cardiovascular and renal disease, but is usually not considered to have a causal role. However, recent experimental, epidemiological, and clinical studies provocatively suggest that uric acid may contribute to the development of hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and kidney disease in some patients. Clinical studies are urgently needed to examine this important possibility."

A University of Illinois study Nakamura et al 2008 explains further the toll fructose metabolism takes on our bodies, on our livers specifically
"In order for fructose to be metabolized, the body has to create both fasted and fed conditions. The liver is really busy when you eat a lot of fructose."
In this study, 24 rats were fed either a 63 percent glucose or fructose diet four hours a day for two weeks; at the end of this period, half the animals fasted for 24 hours before the scientists performed a gene expression analysis; the other half were examined at the end of a four-hour feeding.
Fructose feeding not only induced a broader range of genes than had previously been identified, there were simultaneous increases in glycogen (stored glucose) and triglycerides in the liver.
"To our surprise, a key regulatory enzyme involved in the breakdown of glucose was about two times higher in the fructose-fed group than in the glucose-fed group.
The study also suggests that a protein called carbohydrate response element binding protein is responsible for the fructose effect on certain genes that trigger the production of fat"
Fructose and gout

We have all heard the doctors say that gout is a lifestyle disease induces by overconsumption of meatproducts more abundant inthe diets of the well-off. If only it were so, your normal nutritionists with the lowfat/no red meat dogma should have cured the world of gout by now if that were so easy. It is true that uric acid is a breakdown product of the purines, adenine and guanine. These compounds are found in relatively high amounts in meat, but the causes of gout are a bit more complex than that:

Gout is triggered by the presence of crystals of uric acid in your joints. Many people with gout have high levels of uric acid in their blood stream. But not all! Some people with gout do not have high levels of uric acid in their blood.
Enter fructose: homo sapiens have no enzyme-system to break down fructose polymers. The only sources of fructose we can use up to a limit are the simple sugar in fruit or honey and as the molecule combined with glucose as sucrose in table sugar. Drenching your body with fructose is a recent novelty we havent simply had time to adapt to. What happens when you drench you metabolism with fructose? The first step in the fructose metabolism patway is conversion to fructose-1-phosphate. Drink a 1,5 litre of cola and you will get 100gm of fructose in your liver. This will require a large input of phosphate to for the fructose-1-phosphate, leaving very little for the generation of adenosine tri phosphate (ATP, the primary energy currency of our cells) to be made. A lack of ATP triggers activity of the degradation system for adenine and the production of, guess what, uric acid! Wellcome gout, and no steakeating fest was necessary.
Gout has been previously connected to fructose in older men but now also in younger women.

Fructose, inflammation and autoimmune disease

Fructose is the most potent reducing sugar in the human diet and if fructose makes its way into the body intact it is capable of interacting with the amino acid chains of tissue proteins. That reaction is known as glycation. Glycation of proteins can alter their function and change the structure of proteins, which can cause them to be recognized by the immune system as "foreign" thus inucing an autoimmune attack. Glycated proteins have been shown to be one of causes for atherosclerosis and in the end-organ damage seen in diabetics. Fortunately, most of the fructose we eat is converted to glucose in the intestinal wall or in the liver before it reaches the blood-circulation. Consumption of very large amounts of fructose (large sodas, overindulging in fructosecontaining sweets, dried fruit etc) overwhelms the fructose-metabolizing capacity of the liver, resulting in the spillage of fructose into the bloodstream.
In recent studies  it has been confirmed that fructose consumption in the range of the SAD (standard american diet) induces inflammatory state in the vascular and endothelila cells and decreases intracellular ATP production. 

Fructose and cardiovascular disease

Kimber Stanhope of the University of California says in this study that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggest an upper limit of 25 percent or less of daily calories consumed as added sugar. In this study, researchers examined 48 adults ages 18-40 and compared the effects of consuming 25 percent of one's daily calorie requirement as glucose or fructose on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that within two weeks, study participants consuming fructose or high-fructose corn syrup, but not glucose, exhibited increased concentrations of low-density lipoprotein, "bad" cholesterol, as well as triglycerides and apolipoprotein-B -- a protein that can lead to plaques that cause vascular disease.
"Our findings demonstrate that several factors associated with an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease were increased in individuals consuming 25 percent of their calories as fructose or high fructose corn syrup, but consumption of glucose did not have this effect," Stanhope says.
Uric acid promotes gout, but also hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Fructose consumption raises uric acid levels in the body and there are many studies which show uric acid is linked to heart disease:    
This Baylor College of Medicine study says:
The association between uric acid and cardiovascular disease was largely ignored until the mid-1950s and early 1960s, when it was rediscovered.2,3 Since then, a number of epidemiologic studies have reported a relation between serum uric acid levels and a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions, including hypertension,2 metabolic syndrome,4 coronary artery disease,5 cerebrovascular disease,6 vascular dementia,7 preeclampsia,8 and kidney disease.9,10 The relation between uric acid and cardiovascular disease is observed not only with frank hyperuricemia (defined as more than 6 mg per deciliter [360 μmol per liter] in women and more than 7 mg per deciliter [420 μmol per liter] in men) but also with uric acid levels considered to be in the normal to high range (>5.2 to 5.5 mg per deciliter [310 to 330 μmol per liter]).11-13

Fructose and erectile dysfunction

One of the many side-effects of fructose consumption is a massive decrease in nitric oxide production (as discussed above). Erectile problems stem from diminished nitric oxide (NO) production, poor blood pressure, hormones, low testosterone, or stress. Successful penile erection requires the relaxation of blood vessels within the penis' tissue. This relaxation and resulting engorgement of blood is triggered by a gaseous chemical our bodies produce, called nitric oxide (NO). Overconsumption of fructose raises uric acid which significantly lowers the body`s ability to produce NO.

Fructose and ageing

Just in case you haven`t been convinced to stay away from the fruit juice by now, then here is another reason. Fructose may be causing your body to age faster through a process known as glycation.As mentioned earlier, fructose is the most reactive of all monosaccharides. 
Glycation is a process where a sugar molecule binds itself to a protein molecule or a lipid molecule. The resulting molecules are called Advance Glycation Endproducts or AGEs for short. These AGEs are implicated in diabetes, muscular degeneration, cataracts, and both weakening and stiffening of collagen. Collagen is the stuff that keeps the skin supple and your blood vessels elastic. When your collagen hardens and weakens, you start accumulating wrinkles and your blood pressure starts to rise.
Your body is able to get rid of AGEs, through your kidneys and autophagy processes, but never as fast as they are formed. The kidneys can be overloaded by the AGE accumulation resulting in kidneys failure. This is a common problem with diabetics who often have excessive AGEs due to excessive glucose in their blood.
This study, published in the Journal of Nutrition already in 1998 concludes:
This study demonstrates that long-term fructose feeding accelerates aging as expressed by changes in various age-related markers measured in collagen from skin and bones. The focus on collagen is warranted because collagen is present ubiquitously, accounts for as much as 30% of body proteins, mainly in the extracellular matrix, and provides the basic functional properties of most vulnerable tissues such as renal basement membrane, the cardiovascular system and retinal capillaries. In addition, collagen has a long half-life that allows the accumulation of nutritional and age-related lesions. Glycation can affect both biochemical, mechanical and physiologic functioning of collagen. The deleterious effects of glycation on collagen play a significant role in the pathogenesis of the aging process and the late complications of diabetes (Paul and Bailey 1996).
Ok, i give up, if you werent convinced by now, go and continue with your fruitjuices, honey and agave nectar. Im tired now. Over and out.

Ok, ok just one more

Fructose and cancer

We in the paleocommunity are aware that glucose is used in the cancercells for energy as they have disfunctioning mitochondria and cant produce ATP as normal cells do. 
At the University of California they made a study looking into cancercell proliferation and they published their findings in the Journal of Cancer Research:

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

"They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."

Im going home, enjoy the weekend everybody

Thursday, January 26, 2012

an update on the workout front

 4 weeks done on the program and i have added weight on several lifts:

deadlifts: manage 2 sets of four with 90 kg
goblet squats: 2 16kg kettlebells and normal squat: 70 kg below parallel 5 x 5
db benchpress: 4 x 8/6 21 kg dbs
incline benchpress: same set and weights
narrow bench: 4 x 8/6 45kg

pullups: 3 x 5 with 8 kg added
bb rows: 4 x 8/6 75kg
single hand rows: 4 x 8 31 kg dbs
pullovers: 3 x 8 26 kg
military press: 3 x 8 35 kg
delt rows: same sets and weight
EZbar curls: 4 x 8/6 30 kg

I still adding weights/reps every time so i think ill stay another 4 weeks with this program. getting bored with a program is never my problem, and definately not the issue with this one either - im having a really good time with it actually.
Ive added windowwipers for abs and some cable rotations for the obliques. also i do a normal bb squat on massdays and gobletsquats on volumetraining days.

tell me about your workoutprograms guys, how often do you mix it up,  or do you just go by your gutfeeling?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WHY DID ESTONIANS FIGHT TOGETHER WITH THE GERMANS? why will the estonian government not acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of its young men who fought and gave their lives for only one cause - our freedom.

This post steps outside of the nutrition/excercise/biochem theme of this blog, but this is a matter so extremely important to me and close to my heart, that i have to share this with you guys. And i do hope, that even though you came here to read up on some nutrition question, you will not skip this post. This article was written by my stepdad, an ex nightbomber in the second WW. It breaks my heart that our government leads our newly freed country in a very cowardly way when it comes to giving honour where honour is due. These men will be all gone soon. This is all i can do for them - a little bit of publicity. Unbiased publicity is a rare commodity in this republic of ours.







Hendrik Arro

Every now and then, the question about Estonian soldiers in the German armed forces during World War II arises. Were they Nazi bandits or Estonian freedom fighters? In order to give an unbiased reply to that question, one should know the events of the time as well as the historical background. The following has been written as a brief overview of the reasons why Estonians fought with the Germans.

The great tragedy, World War II, was especially tragic for the many small nations who were drawn into that clash of major nations against their will. Often, free will to decide on which side they wanted to be on was not possible and whose side they ended up on depended on the political and geographical situation. It was not rare to find people from the same nation fighting in opposing armies. This is exactly the case of the Estonians. The men who had been serving in the Estonian army and had been transferred to the Red Army after the Soviet annexation, as well as the men who were mobilised by the Soviet Union in Summer 1941, of which many perished in the forced labour camps1, had to fight with the Soviets. The majority, (70 to 80 per cent) of the (approximately) 100,000 Estonians fighting in World War II fought with the Germans or the Finns2. Many times Estonians were accusingly asked, “Why did you fight with the Germans while all the democratic nations were against Nazi Germany?” In order to understand this and the general situation of the Estonians, we first must be acquainted with the historic background.

Friends and enemies

Before the war and even during the beginning of World War II, pro-British sentiment prevailed in Estonia. The reason for this was the fact that the British had helped the Estonians in the Independence War and that relations between Estonia and Great Britain from then on had been quite good. The author of this article, a schoolboy before the war, remembers very well how most Estonians felt about the German campaign against Poland and other small European nations in the beginning of World War II. Estonians had considered for centuries that Germans, especially the Baltic German landlords were their main enemies and oppressors. Then there was the German occupation in 1918 and the so-called Landeswehr War – where German professional soldiers, financed by the Baltic German nobility, fought against the Estonians in the Independence War in summer 1919 – these conflicts did not engender any warm feelings towards the Germans either.

So, why did public opinion change so rapidly in favour of the Germans? It can be stated with confidence that this profound change in public opinion was caused directly by the Soviet Union and its actions. By the late 1930s, events in the Soviet Union had created in many people, a negative view of the Communist regime. This view was strengthened by a rapid sequence of events in 1939 – the violent establishment of Soviet military bases in the Baltic countries, threatening these nations with raw force (the so-called Bases Pact); a blow against Poland from behind while they were fighting with the Germans; arrogant aggression against Finland; and a few months later, the annexation of the hitherto independent Estonia and other Baltic nations in the summer of 1940. Such actions clearly demonstrated the violent and treacherous character of the Soviet Union, and affected the opinion of most Estonians of it.

But, unfortunately, this was just the beginning. The reality turned out even worse than people had feared. In 1940–1941, after Estonia had been annexed to the Soviet Union, events – violence and terror on citizens, arrests, and especially the mass deportations and the hundreds of executed people found in mass graves discovered shortly after the Soviets had been driven out – quickly made it clear to most Estonians that the gravest threat to the existence of the Estonian people was Russian communism3.

The hope that British and French help in maintaining the independence of the Estonian nation and republic would be forthcoming, had collapsed. Moreover, both these nations as well as the US, became friends of the Soviet Union during World War II. So most Estonians could not do anything other than see Germany as the only ally worth considering against the threat of death coming from the east. The severity of the situation forced the age-old hatred into the background.

The summer of 1941 saw the beginning of the massive partisan movement, called the Forest Brethren (metsavennad) against the Russians (for the average Estonian, the Soviet Union still meant more or less the same as the Communist Russia4). The majority of Estonians realised that one must fight against the Communist regime of Russia by any and all means. This was a forced war, which was fought, not for conquering new land or subduing other nations, but for defending one’s own homeland. Those Estonians who fought in the so-called “destroyer battalions” which were putting into effect the Stalinist policy of scorched earth, were considered as traitors by most Estonians, as they were fighting not against the Germans, but against their own people.

Brothers in arms – yes, but not friends

After the arrival of the Germans, who were first accepted as friends and liberators, thousands of Estonian volunteers joined the German armed forces. Estonian units were formed in order to start defending their homeland against the Stalinist Russia and to avenge the sufferings and injustice done to the Estonian people. They hoped, naively, that the Germans would agree to restore the Republic of Estonia, after which – very probably – the Estonians would have then joined Germans as willing allies in the fight against the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, the German authorities did not use this enthusiasm well, though restoring the national independence of Estonia would have made Estonians allies to be trusted. On the contrary – their actions, though better than the Soviet terror against the Estonians, were still the actions of occupiers and very soon Germans lost most of the trust and friendship of Estonians. In the beginning, the Germans attempted to hinder the formation of Estonian units, in order to prevent the emergence of Estonian armed forces. Even when the German authorities finally discovered the necessity of such units, the Estonian units were kept as small as possible, diffused and under the command of German staff. The Germans did not want to hear anything about independent Estonian armed forces, even when dire necessity made them mobilise tens of thousands of Estonians.

In spite of all this – though cursing the German arrogance and irrational politics – the Estonians continued fighting with the Germans against the Russians, led by the principle that in crisis one can use the help of Beelzebub to exorcise the Devil. Many hoped that the historical situation of 1918 would repeat itself – both great nations which had been occupying Estonia, Russia and Germany, would exhaust one another in the war, perhaps giving rise to the restoration of Estonian independence. It was very important that no Russian troops remained on Estonian soil when action ceased. Estonian independence was the aim for which one could fight, attempting to keeping the Soviets from the Estonian border and preventing them from re-occupying Estonia.

The intensity of people's hatred and the indignation of most Estonians, which was induced by the action of the Communists, and how important the fight against the Soviet Union was considered to be can be estimated, for instance, by the fact that even though the Germans turned out to be occupiers of Estonia, there was practically no anti-German partisan movement during the German occupation in Estonia (1941–1944). Though the Soviets left Communist functionaries behind to organise partisan action on their retreat, they were quickly exposed by the locals; also the partisan groups sent from the Soviet Union into Estonia, not gaining support from the people, were liquidated rather quickly. There were some people who hid from the mobilisation but their aim was purely personal safety. Active, Forest Brethren partisan activity occurred in Estonia only in the Soviet rear during the summer of 1941 and re-started in September 1944 after the Soviets re-occupied Estonia. It should be also noted that a number of Estonians serving in the Soviet Army defected to the Germans at the first chance. This happened mostly in the summer of 1941 and the winter of 1942/43 (the latter under Velikiye Luki). This was the time when the Germans had not completely run out of luck, and there appeared to be some reason in such defections. All this shows that there was not only a small Nazi-minded group of people who were fighting against Communist Russia, but most Estonians supported the fighting.

Of course, most Estonians serving in the German armed forces were mobilised in Estonia and therefore cannot be described as volunteers. On the contrary, people’s attitude towards the Germans was quite critical for the most part (the action of the German authorities changed even the minds of those people who had volunteered to join their troops). But it should be noted that evading the German mobilisations was significantly less widespread than it had been in the Summer of 1941 when thousands of men were evading the Soviet mobilisation. On the contrary, even when the situation on the front was rather bad and evading the mobilisation – for personal safety – would have been understandable, most of the men who received the notice for mobilisation came to protect their homeland and fought as well as it was possible in that situation. The attitude of people was also in favour of the men serving in the German army. It was because people simply understood the necessity of fighting.

The legal basis of Estonians fighting

When talking about the fight against the Soviet Union, it is appropriate to discuss its legal basis also. During both the Soviet and German occupations, the Estonian legal authorities continued to operate, more or less underground5. Their orders and attitude formed the political and moral instructions for Estonian citizens. Even though the Germans denied the plea for restoration of independence by several leading Estonian politicians, led by the prime minister J. Uluots, the politicians still decided that the main enemy in the ongoing war for Estonia and Estonians was the Soviet Union and they summoned the Estonian people to mobilise all their internal efforts in fight against communism. In February 1944, when the Soviet troops had reached the Estonian borders, the Prime Minister J. Uluots read a speech over the radio6. During this speech he noted that the main presumption for the restoration of Estonian freedom was to keep the Soviets out of Estonia and in order to achieve this, he summoned Estonians to fight with the Germans. The speech was published in all Estonian newspapers. The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, which consisted of representatives of Estonian political parties and was oriented mainly towards the Western Allies, understood the graveness of the situation and supported the idea of Estonian soldiers fighting with the Germans7. Thus it can be said with certainty that the representatives of Estonian legal authority saw Estonians fighting against the Soviet Union with the Germans as the only possibility in the given conditions.

No doubt that the standpoint of and the petitions by the Estonian legal authorities had considerable effect on people and many of those who had originally not wanted to fight with the Germans, became protectors of the homeland. For instance, during the mobilisation at the beginning of the February 1944, about 15,000 men were expected to appear but actually, nearly 40,000 men joined in to protect their homeland. (The number of people who turned up was even greater, but not all of the men were accepted.) The situation at the Front had become very serious and it was obvious that everything possible had to be done to prevent the return of the Russians. For Estonians, the fight had turned into nationwide fight for freedom8. But the Germans were still afraid of forming Estonian armed forces and so they are responsible for the fact that the units formed out of the mobilised men (border guard units) were not formed into a uniform Estonian unit (a Division), but were dispersed and subordinated to German units. Further – these men were not issued with suitable armament and equipment for the conditions in which they were to fight.

If we try to assess the action of the Estonian legal authorities and Estonians in World War II objectively, we must consider the fact that Estonians were in a situation – against their will – with no possibility of choosing between Western democracy and Germany. The choice was between two major totalitarian states, Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Estonians liked neither. As a friend and ally of the Western democracies in World War II, Russia, had occupied Estonia for a year before the hostilities began. This introduction had been enough to prove to the Estonians that the mortal enemy of the Estonian people was Communist Russia, against whom you had to protect yourself by whatever means available. It was this, that decided the course of history.

Soviet Union and the Western nations

Many of the Western nations understood what Communist Russia was and learned of Stalin’s crimes only many years later (some have not understood it yet). Due to wartime propaganda, the peoples of the West considered anybody who had fought with the Germans as protectors of that criminal regime, not asking what the purpose of that fighting had been. There were no exceptions for this rule. But back then, Russians were considered to be good allies. It is a tragedy of history that the situation caused those Estonian men who had wanted to protect their homeland against Communist Russia to do it wearing German uniforms. Tens of thousands of men participated in this fight and for them it was a fight for their country and people, caused by historic inevitability. The legal authorities of Estonia sanctioned this fight. It was clear to Estonian soldiers that the prerequisite for defending Estonia and restoring its national independence was to crush Communist Russia and in order to achieve this aim, one had to fight, if necessary, outside of Estonia as well. But whenever an Estonian soldier fought, he carried the national colours, blue-black-white on his sleeve and the aim of free Estonia in his heart.

The tragedy of a small nation is that the victors of the World War II did not want to recognise this in the euphoria following the victory. It was especially bitter for the Estonians that even the US became an unconditional ally of the Soviet Union. Many Estonians serving in the German army had hoped that the US would understand the situation of the Estonians. The Estonian prisoners-of-war were often treated as ordinary, Nazi-minded volunteers fighting with the Germans. (It took a long time before the Americans started to understand that even though it was obvious why the SS men did not want to return home, why were the ordinary civilian refugees from the Soviet-held territories so unwilling to return home? Something had to be wrong there.) The events that happened immediately after the war can be understood – ordinary Americans tend not to have much empathy for other peoples. But later, even now, here and there, all over the world, people have tried to accuse Estonians who fought with the Germans, especially in the Waffen-SS, of all imaginable sins. Especially active in this sense have been the Communist authorities of post-war Estonia and their followers and the global Jewish organisations. The latter, especially, tend to think that the fact that a lot of Estonians served in the 20th (Estonian) Division of the Waffen-SS is enough to accuse all Estonians, not asking what this unit actually was.

Estonians and the Waffen-SS

Firstly, it must be said that Estonians, for the most part, joined the Waffen-SS – so much criticised by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union – forcibly. Most of the youngsters who had been mobilised in 1943 were transferred there, as well as entire units in 1944. This happened, for instance, with the Eastern Battalions, the Estonians who had fought in Finland and had returned, and a number of others. Men were not asked for their opinion, although they vocally criticised these transfers. (As contemporaries remember, even the legendary commander of a Eastern Battalion, Major Alfons Rebane, carrier of the Ritterkreutz, later commander of a regiment of the Estonian Division, had not wanted his battalion to be transferred to the Waffen-SS and had even threatened to leave to Finland. But he understood the seriousness of the situation and with his sense of responsibility for his homeland and men he continued his service.) The Estonian Legion and the 20th (Estonian) Division of the Waffen-SS, which had been formed from it, were purely combat units which members the International Court of Nuremberg did not condemn as war criminals. For Estonians, the Waffen-SS meant better armament and training in the first place, essential for fighting against the Eastern enemy9.

Quite often, the Estonian soldiers who had escaped to Germany in autumn 1944 and continued to fight there in spite of the hopeless situation have been criticised too. It was obvious that they had already lost their homeland and the defeat of Germany was only a matter of time. These criticisers accuse Estonian soldiers that their effort helped the Germans to resist and commit additional war crimes and crimes against humanity until the end of the war. But one must remember that military service was the only alternative the Germans offered to the Estonian soldiers arriving in Germany10. Unfortunately, these criticisers cannot suggest any other alternative for what those men had to do other than suggestions of surrender or even committing suicide (yes, this extreme suggestion has been made). Indeed, small groups of men would have tried to desert and to escape to the West, but to develop the idea that this would have been possible for entire units, especially on the Eastern Front, is sheer naivety. Russians certainly were not people whom an Estonian soldier would have wanted to trust, considering the bitter experiences of 1940–41. (The suggestion that the entire 20th Division of the Waffen-SS should have shot themselves cannot be taken seriously.)

A brief discussion about crimes against humanity

As it has been not possible to accuse any Estonian units, not even the 20th (Estonian) Division of the Waffen-SS of crimes against humanity, the most active criticisers of the Estonian soldiers in German service have, every now and then, launched an accusatory campaign, as noted above, stating that even though Estonian combat units were not directly involved in war crimes, their fighting helped the Germans to amongst other things commit crimes against humanity. Briefly, they are accused of supporting Germans committing such crimes. But such a simplified approach allows us to accuse soldiers of all forces in World War II. Following the same logic, one can say that the soldiers of the Red Army, including Estonians, can be accused in the murders of Katyn, arresting and deporting tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Caucasus etc. And the list goes on. It would have been impossible for the Stalinist regime to commit and hide those atrocities from the world without the support of its armed forces. It could be said that the Allied soldiers who were liberating some peoples from the Germans were, with the Soviet Union, pushing others deeper and deeper under the Communist yoke and helped to preserve the Gulag Archipelago and aided in the death of millions of people in the Soviet prison camps many years after the war’s end. But the Nuremburg court only discussed the atrocities of Germany and her allies. The victorious peoples were not judged, in spite what they had done. The Soviet Union demanded a number of issues sensitive to the major nations to be dropped from the agenda of the Nuremberg court; the other victorious nations agreed with pleasure. But it is totally obvious that it is sheer nonsense to accuse men who had fought on this or other side, only by what atrocities the entire respective fighting nations had committed, for it does not lead anywhere.

Even if we drop the issue of helping to commit war crimes and consider certain crimes against humanity, it can be said with certainty that those were committed by the armed forces of all fighting nations. But a discussion on these must be based on their committers. And even here the situation is not clear, as one must know the background of one or other act that is now considered a crime. Speaking about the atrocities of Estonians on the side of the Germans, one should know that before the anti-tank trench at Tartu11 there were the Tartu Prison and a number of other places where the remains of cruelly tortured and executed people were found in the Summer and Autumn of 1941, after the retreat of the Soviet armed forces. One should also recall the deportation of women and children, the actions of the “destroyer battalions” etc. But these accusers have been silent on these points. We can be completely sure that all this had a strong emotional impact, which took men to war against the Russians as volunteers, but also set the character of that war. The enemy really was an enemy, in every sense of the word.

It should be noted that crimes against humanity in Estonia continued even after the war, as the hostilities in fact continued. The actions of the post-war Forest Brethren who had been fighting with the Germans for the most part and whom the Communists were referring to as Fascist throat-cutters and accusing of many crimes, (though their action did not differ much from that of the Soviet partisans against the Germans, which were not considered as crimes) compare were closely to the post-war crimes of the men who had fought in the Red Army (arresting and torturing innocent people, deportations etc). Often such actions were carried out with the willing or unwilling help of security agents, party activists etc. who had been in the Soviet Army, being the main supporters of the Soviet power in Estonia. (For the sake of truth, it must be said that most of the men who had served in the Estonian Corps, did not besmirch their honour with such atrocities.)

Speaking of the Forest Brethren, one needs to remember that many men were forced into the forests by the actions of the Soviet authorities, i.e. the actions of the same supporters who, after the war, often persecuted people who did not like Soviet power and the developments in Estonia, even if the men were not fighting directly against it. These people often could only choose between the option of to being sent to Siberia or to go into the forest. This resulted in thousands of abandoned households, broken families and tragic fates, making many people who had perhaps already accepted the defeat and started to live a normal life again, but now were forced to start an active fight against the Soviets. Several Soviet activists found their death at the hands of such men. Additionally, one should not forget that by the end of the Forest Brethren movement, they were fighting a hopeless and desperate fight of betrayed and doomed people. They had put all their hope on the US that this democratic and powerful nation would understand what an empire of evil the Soviet Union was and would do something against it. This hope was based on the American claim that they did not recognise the Soviet annexation of the Baltic nations in 1940. But, unfortunately, all this remained only words. The Baltic nations were sold at Yalta, just as they had been sold by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. It must be understood that an embittered man, his vain hopes betrayed, is a bitter fighter, whose only purpose is to sell his life as dearly as possible.

But all this is a different topic. The discussion above shows that as it is impossible to point at the Red Army or any other armed force of any fighting nation as whole, it is also impossible to call single units of the German armed forces, such as the Estonian Legion or the 20th (Estonian) Division of the Waffen-SS, criminals, especially when there is no evidence of atrocities being committed by these units.

So, what did an Estonian soldier fight for?

In summary, it must be said that Estonian soldiers in World War II were generally considered as good and brave soldiers. But the aim of this soldier, which he carried in his heart during the fighting, was not a new Europe or Greater Germany, it was only to free his little homeland12. It is a historical tragedy that Estonia could not fight against Communist Russia on the side of democratic Western nations but with Nazi Germany and thus inadvertently became one of the “bad boys”. The Western nations have generally accepted the Finnish fight for their freedom against the Soviet Union, especially because the Finns had to fight against the Germans by the end of the war. The Estonian fight was exactly the same, a fight for freedom, where the Estonian soldier tried to give his best, using the resources he had at the time. It was not the fault of the Estonian soldier that he had no other choice of ally than Nazi Germany and that he could not reach his aim nor defend his homeland in the battle between the major nations. Even though history has been rather biased so far, the former combatants still believe that the younger generations, both in Estonia and abroad, will see history with open minds one day, in spite of more than fifty years of propaganda accusing the men who had served in the German armed forces, and eventually understand by objectively assessing the events that for an Estonian soldier the World War II was just a continuation of the Independence War and nothing else.

1 Estonians were not trusted. The Estonians who were mobilised and taken to Russia were taken to the so-called labour battalions where many perished from hunger and cold in the winter of 1941/42. Estonians in these labour battalions were, in reality, prisoners. It was only in late 1942, when it was evident that the Germans are running out of luck, that Estonians were concentrated into the new Estonian Rifle Corps which later saw action.
2 Over 3000 Estonian volunteers (so-called “Finnish boys”, soomepoisid) fought in the Finnish armed forces. They had not wanted to fight for the Germans and escaped from Estonia to Finland. The largest Estonian unit in the Finnish armed forces was the 200th Infantry Regiment (JR 200). As Finland was an Axis country and fought against the Soviets with Germany, the people fighting with the Finns can be counted as fighting on the German side as well.
3 In 1940–1941 over 4000 peaceful citizens were arrested by the Soviets in Estonia, violating all internationally accepted legal norms. Most of them were murdered, or they died in prison camps. The terror culminated in the deportation of more than 10,000 people, including women and children, in June 1941. The question that faced Estonians was no longer about the survival of democracy or the Republic, but the survival of the Estonian nation itself.
4 Historicaly, Russians have been the only conquerors from the east who have attempted to harass the Estonians. None of the other nations making up the Soviet Union have attempted this.
5 When the Soviet occupation troops arrived in June 1940, Jüri Uluots, the Prime Minister of Estonia, succeeded in going underground. After the Estonian president Konstantin Päts was arrested in July 1940, the powers of the president were transferred to the Prime Minister, as set out in the constitution. The Western nations recognised the continuity and legal succession of the underground Estonian state authorities,.
6 Radio speech of the Prime Minister J. Uluots on February 7, 1944.
7 Order of the National Committee of the Republic of Estonia, No. 1 of August 1, 1944 and No. 2 of August 24, 1944.
8 About 1800 of the Estonians fighting with the Finns returned to Estonia in August 1944 when the Russians had reached Tartu, in order to do anything possible during this critical moment to protect Estonia.
9 All soldiers and officers who fought in the 20th Division of the Waffen-SS were released from imprisonment in the West after the Nuremberg court acquitted those former fighters of the Waffen-SS who had been assigned there by authorities and had not committed atrocities. In addition, the letter from the Displaced Persons Commission to the Acting Consul General of Estonia in New York, dated September 13, 1950 states that the Baltic Waffen-SS units, including the Estonian Legion, were to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose, ideology, activities and qualifications for membership from the German SS, and therefore the Commission held them not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States. Therefore, the cases of applicants for admission into the United States who have been members of the Baltic Waffen-SS, including the Estonian Legion, would be considered on their individual merit.
10 Before the end of the war nearly all Estonian soldiers in Germany were transferred to the 20th (Estonian) Division of the Waffen-SS, in spite of their original arm of service.

11 After the war, it became well known as the execution site for people shot by the German occupation authorities.
12 The number of Estonians who had been mobilised in the Soviet armed forces from Estonia and who idealised the Communist empire lead by Russia, was very small. Mostly they ended up on the Soviet side because it had been impossible to evade the mobilisation (see also Note 1).