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I tried… Meso-Dosing

Illustration by: Lauren Rebbeck

I tried… Meso-Dosing

Wellness experts say it’s going to be the next big thing. Our columnist Cat Rodie finds out if the health trend of Meso-Dosing is as good as the hype.

I tried… Meso-Dosing

I’m told that ‘meso-dosing’ is set to be one of 2019’s biggest health trends. Not to be confused with ‘microdosing’, where you take a small amounts of psychedelics like LSD, meso-dosing is about maximising the benefits of superfoods.

In a nutshell, meso-dosing is all about the active compounds within superfoods. For example, you’ve probably heard about the anti-inflammatory powers of turmeric, but it’s actually the curcumin in turmeric that provides the benefits.

Similarly, it’s the EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) in green tea and the anthocyanins in blueberries that give these superfoods their ‘oomph’.

Sara Lake, a registered nutritionist and spokesperson for the Nutrition Society of NZ, tells me that the big benefit of meso-dosing is the ingredient concentration.

“Phytosterols are a good example. They can reduce cholesterol absorption in the gut at a dose of 2 grams per day (as per Australia and NZ Food Standards Code),” she says.

“However, this would require consumption of around two cups of rice bran oil or sesame seeds, which is not exactly appealing. A phytosterol supplement gives you the benefit but without the huge intake of fat.” To test meso-dosing for myself, I will be taking curcumin for aching joints.

Lake warns me that I won’t necessarily see a difference straightaway. “Nutrients in general do not act like drugs, even in concentrated form, so a bit of persistence is sometimes necessary.”

Australian accredited practicing dietitian Rachel Hawkins is not a big fan of the trend.

“It is just another fad diet that has been created in response to people’s desire for a quick fix to their health problems,” she says.

Hawkins warns me meso-dosing could have some less desirable effects.

She explains: “Green tea has a high polyphenol content, making it popular for its anti-inflammatory benefit. However, research has shown us that taking green tea extract in capsule form actually inhibits the absorption of plant-based (non-heme) iron, which is problematic as this places people, particularly women and those who exclude meat from their diet, at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency.”

Hawkins also stresses, quite emphatically, that there is no need to overcomplicate your diet with supplements. “If you are consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, then you are more than likely consuming adequate amounts of the micro or ‘meso’ nutrients required to maintain good health,” she says.

After a week of meso-dosing, I am on the fence about the benefits. If I’m brutally honest, my joints don’t feel any different. But maybe it’s too soon to tell.

To get you started 

  • Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric and is a potent anti-inflammatory.
  • EGCG is found in green tea and can help prevent cell damage, assist with cardiovascular health and weight loss.
  • Berberines found in goldenseal and barberries help to balance blood sugar, alleviate symptoms of respiratory tract infections and are anti-inflammatory.
  • Lycopene is found in red foods, such as tomatoes and red capsicum, and helps to strengthen bones.
  • Anthocyanins are found in blueberries and blackberries, cherries and pomegranates, and boost immunity.

Source: Accredited nutritionist Tracie Connor. Consult your GP before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe for you to do so.

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