Chlorine and It’s Relationship to Human Health

The chemical element chlorine, named from the greek ‘chloros’ meaning greenish yellow, is a highly reactive halogen that was first discovered in the early 1600s when it was first synthesised. Although it is the second most abundant substance in the earth’s crust, it wasn’t recognised as a pure element until much later in 1810. Chlorine is an essential reaction compound making it one of the most versatile elements discovered. Its uses are of great importance for the production of pharmaceuticals, disinfectant, bleach, insecticides, chemical weaponry in WW1 and WW11, and the balancing of ions in cells of the body.

“Due to its highly reactive state, chlorine is usually found in nature as a compound with other elements such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. When chlorine is isolated as a free element, it is two and a half times heavier than air. It turns into a liquid state at -34degrees and becomes a yellowish solid crystalline at -103degrees.” ( Chlorine Story, American Chemistry Council, n.d)

The most common derivative of chlorine comes in the compound form of sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt, and archaeologists have found evidence that rock salts have been used as early as 300BC. Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele is credited to have discovered chlorine as he was the first to prepare and study chlorine in 1774. Scheele recorded this dense, greenish-yellow gas as having a strong choking smell that dissolved in water to give an acid solution; noting that it bleached litmus paper and de colourised leaves and flowers. At the time he believed it was a gas in the form of hydrochloric acid, then known as muriatic acid, but he failed to recognise chlorine as a pure element. It wasn’t until several decades later in 1810 that another chemist named Sir Humphry Davy concluded that chlorine was an element rather than a compound, giving it its name chlorine.

Chlorine is the second most abundant substance in the earth’s crust and the eleventh most abundant element in the lithosphere. “In nature, volcanic eruptions are the sources of great masses of hydrogen chloride, they also contain free chlorine gas. Breaking waves and winds over the oceans produce large amounts of sea salt aerosols in the atmosphere, corresponding to ten billion tons of chloride per year.” (Schmittinger, 2008, pg 15).
Chlorine gas it also produced commercially by the electrolysis of sodium chloride, NaCl, from seawater or brine from salt mines.

Chlorine is used in many everyday consumer products from medicines, antiseptic, disinfectants, foods, solvents, plastics, paints, dyes and paper products. It can come in forms such as powder, granulated and gaseous. In the past chlorine was commonly used to make the anaesthetic chloroform and a dry-cleaning solvent carbon tetrachloride. Both of these chemicals are now strictly controlled as they have been reported to have caused liver damage.

Chlorine gas was used as a WW1 chemical weapon in the trenches and by front line soldiers to take out enemy arsenals but proved unsuccessful as the chlorine has was easily detectable by its suffocating, rotten odour and greenish-yellow colour. As chlorine is polar the soldiers soon discovered they could protect themselves by holding wet cloths over their face to dissolve the gas and reduce toxicity on the body.

“The use of poisonous gases during WW2 was a very real fear as many new gases made an appearance including mustard gas, cyanide, carbon monoxide and cyanogen chlorides. Many of these new gases were far more deadly than chlorine gas, sure and relatively painless. As a result people were issued with gas masks and gas mask drills became a routine.” (historylearningsite, 2015)

Chlorine in its biological role is essential in the regulation of acid-base homeostasis, maintaining electrical neutrality and osmotic pressure of extracellular fluids. Chlorine is present in the cell as a negative ion that reacts with a positive ion, usually potassium to balance the cell, and transports oxygen and carbon dioxide through the blood plasma. Combining it with sodium makes it the most important electrolyte in the body which are needed for conduction of nerve impulses and muscle function. With the loss of electrolytes the muscles can become tensed and contracted, losing their efficiency to perform their function. Chlorine is a component of all body secretions and excretions which results in providing the maintenance of digestive juice ph by both the anabolism (building) and the catabolism (breaking down) of body tissues.
As chlorine is typically found in compound form, a person can easily get their daily intake from salts found in foods products like meat, green leafy vegetables, melons, canned foods, eggs, salt and milk.

“Although chlorine can be stored in the body to an extent in the skin, subcutaneous tissues and skeleton, its supplies are rapidly depleted during hot weather and excessive perspiration. In diseases that produce severe alkalosis, and extended bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea, stored chlorides in the body may become dangerously low. Symptoms of a deficiency in chlorine can result in dry tongue, lost elasticity in skin, muscular cramps, imbalance of fluid levels and a loss of teeth and hair.” (Tandurust, 2008)

Chlorine can cause allergy symptoms such as red, sore eyes, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, running nose and dry skin. Although it is not common if a person experiences headaches, nausea and vomiting and suspects its an allergy to chlorine, it’s important to stay away from chlorinated articles.

Since its discovery several centuries ago, man-kind has been able to further research and discover the important benefits and uses of chlorine in the human body and use in industrial operation. Chlorine in the human body has many important roles in maintaining health and wellness of cell production and homeostasis. Levels of chlorine in the diet usually coincide with sodium intake and can be easily adapted into a healthy diet including plenty of wholegrain, fruits and vegetables; and chlorine deficiency is extremely rare. With its usage in the industrial practice, chlorine will continue to benefit consumers and researchers will find new innovative ways to utilise the chlorine element.

American Chemistry Council (2005-2016). The chlorine story: How Chlorine Chemistry is woven into our lives. Retrieved from http//

Royal Society of Chemistry (2016) Periodic Table: Chlorine. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Schmittinger, D. (November 21, 2008). Chlorine: Principles & Industrial Practice. Wiley-vch

Tandurust (February 5, 2008). Function of Chlorine:Deficiency Symptoms and Uses in Daily life. Retrieved from http// HYPERLINK “”

Trueman, C.N. (March 6, 2015) Poison gas and World War Two. Retrieved from http//

Healthiest regards



Cardiovascular Diseases: A Look into Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome is characterised by attacks of rapid heart rate (tachycardia), which is shown in an electrocardiogram (ECG). In some people the ECG abnormality may be present without any symptoms. The heartbeat is regulated by electrical impulses that travel through the atria to a knot of tissue known as the atrioventricular node and then to the lower chambers of the heart. The electrical impulses pause at the atrioventricular node before prompting the ventricles to contract. In Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, an extra pathway conducts the electrical impulses to the ventricles without a normal delay. This extra pathway does not usually have any serious complications, however, sometimes the extra pathway may ‘bounce’ the electrical impulses back to the atria after each beat. This creates a circuit in which in which each atrial beat is followed by a ventricular beat (lower chamber), which is then followed by another atrial beat and so on. The heart rate can reach over 200 beats per minutes. The normal resting heart rate is around 70-80 beats per minute.
Between one and two per 1000 are thought to have this condition which can be managed with medications or a simple procedure to remove the extra pathway.

As one of the leading causes of a fast heart rate disorder in newborns and young children the causes are currently unknown. It remains unclear what causes the additional pathway to develop inside the heart. The condition is present at birth, but genetic factors have been ruled out, however some families may have more than one affected individual and there does appear to be a weak hereditary tendency with an increased incidence in the children of affected individuals. Since the cause is not known, prevention is not possible.

Brief History of Discoverers:
In 1915, Frank Norman Wilson (1890 – 1952) became the first to describe the condition later called Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome. Alfred M. Wedd (1887 – 1967) was the next to describe the condition in 1921. Cardiologists Louis Wolff (1898 – 1972), John Parkinson (1885 – 1976) and Paul Dudley White (1886 – 1973) are credited with the definitive description of the disorder in 1930.

The various symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome include:
Drops in blood pressure
Heart Palpitations
tightness in the chest
fainting spells
episodes of markedly accelerated heart rate
shortness of breath

In most cases the episodes of tachycardia are short-lived and the person can recover easily. However, as with any illness, some complication can arise including low blood pressure, loss of conciousness, heart failure, heart attack and even death.

Diagnosis methods:
If a person experiences any of the following symptoms Wolff-Pakinson-White syndrome is investigated using a number of different tests including:
Physical examination
Electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the heart’s electrical activity
Medical History
Echocardiogram to rule out associated structural heart defects
Exercise stress test to assess whether the ECG abnormality persists with vigorous exercise
Holter ECG (24hrs) to monitor the ECG and heart rate over a longer period of time
Electrophysiology Study. This measures the heart’s electrical activity by threading a number of catheters through the blood vessels, from the groin to the heart, to map the heart’s electrical activity.

Treatment Options:
Treatment options for Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome depend on the severity of the disease but can include anti-arrhythmic drugs an artificial pacemaker, electric cardioversion (shock) and an electrophysiology study. These treatment options aim to either slow the heart rate or prevent future attacks. One way to eliminate the extra pathway is open-heart surgery, which would be an option for chronic disease with other options already been utilised.

What’s the long-term outlook?
In some children the problem may resolve on its own as the heart matures and develops over the first few years of life. If it does persist treatment may be required.
Medications to control the heart rate don’t always work and there are unwanted side-effects to be aware of. Even the when medications are most effective, it is not desirable for patients to continue such treatment over many years.
Removing the extra pathway usually ‘cures’ the disorder; this can be done effectively in most patients after the age of around seven years old. In many cases, the extra pathway can be easily found, but if it is difficult to locate or cannot be eliminated safely than long-term medication may be necessary or surgery may be recommended.
A patient with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome will need ongoing monitoring, such as regular ECG’s to make sure their heart is functioning normally.

For more informations please click on the links below:

Healthiest regards


Staying Healthy During The Winter Months

Winter has well and truly arrived and with it brings a familiar roll-call of respiratory infections including coughs, colds, sore throats, sinusitis and the sneezes. While most of these are minor infections they can be bothersome and leave you feeling fatigues, run-down and sore. Providing your body with the necessary nutrients, hydration and rest can be key to staying healthy during the colder months, or at least limit your chances of infectious diseases.

A Raw, stinging throat is often the first sign of a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, flu or laryngitis. Good hygiene practices and nutrition can help stop a sore throat from becoming something more serious in the way of a bacterial infection. Cold and flus are highly contagious and people become most susceptible when their immune system becomes weakened. The key is to keep your immune system ready for action by minimising alcohol use, reduce stress, and eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Good hygiene is important for yourself and others, wash your hands often, avoid touching your nose and eyes and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

While most of this may seem like common-sense there are particular foods that may help protect you in the first place from becoming sick. Eating is important; it provides the body with essential nutrients that will helps your body’s defence system in battle against infections and help aid a speedy recovery. Some good eating tips include:

Vitamin C: it’s an immune booster! Include foods in your diet such as citrus foods, capsicums, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, kiwi fruit and rock melon.

Drink lots of fluids: Aim for around 2-2.5 litres of fluid a day. This doesn’t have to just be water, but broth, hot tea and chicken soups too!

Stay away from alcohol and other drugs: It will compromise your immune system when you need it most as the body tries to eliminate the toxic substances.

Spice up meals: Chilli, garlic and turmeric can help unclog a stuffy nose, and are delicious in chicken soup too!

Eat foods rich in zinc: You’ll find this mineral in seafood, lean meats, low-fat dairy, green vegetables, wheat germ and whole-grains.

Double up on fresh fruits and Vegetables: Aim to have at least two serves at every meal and a serve with each snack to protect lung function and boost immunity. It’s impossible to eat too much and they provide anti-oxidants, vitamins E and C, and selenium which are a particularly useful in reducing inflammation of the airways and help boost lung functions.

Rest: It may be the most underrated component for recovery. Everyone knows rest helps but most people find it hard to actually relax. Sit, or lay down, perhaps read a book or watch your favourite tv show and sip hot tea and fresh water. Remember your body is able to speed recovery when the body is at rest.

Should I get the Flu Vaccine?
A new flu vaccine is produced every year to protect against prevailing strains of that year’s most common flu viruses. Doctors often recommend that you have an annual flu shot especially if you’re over the age of 65, or if you have a circulatory, respiratory, kidney, metabolic of immune disorder. While some people may get minor symptoms of the flu after the vaccine, just remember this is common and expected. Vaccines work by giving you a small dose of the virus, bacteria and antigens to stimulate an immune response in your immune system. This provides your adaptive immunity with the memory T cells it can use when it later encounters that same illness. This way it is able to quickly recognise the antigen as a threat and produce quick fighting killer cells, phagocytes and macrophages to take out the antigen and eliminate toxic substances from the body, usually before you are able to feel any symptoms.

Now for that sore throat…
There is nothing quite like a nice hot cuppa when your throat is burning. The best tea remedy for a sore throat is lemon and honey hot tea to sip on throughout the day. Honey provides beneficial bacteria and microbes. Try a teaspoon of honey before bed to calm coughing through the night. A couple of other home remedies can include ginger,onion and carrot juice for congestion and a hot tomato tonic with lemon, chilli, garlic and tomatoes to unblock the nose.

If you would like further information on keeping your immune system healthy or flu vaccinations please click the links below. And stay healthy this winter!!

20 Natural Tips to Help You Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

Healthiest regards


Inside Macronutrients: Carbohydrates Part 2

In part 2 of inside macronutrients: Carbohydrates, we’re discussing the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Next week we’ll be taking a look into the world of lipids, also known as fats, which is also considered to be ‘Bad’, but perhaps when you have a better understanding of their role in the body you may just see how essential they are for good health.

The glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods based on how they affect a body’s blood-glucose levels. High GI foods cause a rapid increase to the blood glucose levels, while low-GI foods are more slowly absorbed by the body, providing a more satisfying source of sustained energy and can help control blood-glucose and energy levels. As a general rule of thumb, a GI rating below 55 is low, 56 t\o 69 is moderate and 70 or more is high.
Low GI diets can be an effective tool in aiding weight loss, keeping cholesterol levels healthy, assisting in diabetes maintainence and providing cancer patients with a healthy diet to aid in recovery.

The downside of the GI rating is that its values are based on a standard universal measurement for all foods. In some instances people don’t tend to eat the same weight of sugar as they do for pasta or breads. So scientists have translated the GI into a more practical means in the form of Glycemic Load (GL). The Glycemic Load is the most practical way to apply the Glycemic Index to dieting, and is easily calculated by multiplying a food’s Glycemic Index (as a percentage) by the number of net carbohydrates in a given serving. Meaning, GL measures the effects of carbohydrates in a standard serve of foods to reflect which foods are most likely to make blood-glucose levels spike.

Utilising both tools can be extremely useful as GI helps you choose better carbohydrates, while GL helps predict the Carb’s effect on your blood-glucose levels. But if all these numbers seem too confusing, as science is unambiguous,try choosing better carbohydrate foods that provide nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the form of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, fibres and resistant starches.

What’s so special about Oat bran?
Oat bran is a soluble fibre with resistant starches. It takes cholesterol with it as it travels through the body, this way the cholesterol doesn’t get a chance to enter the bloodstream and possibly clog the arteries. Oats slow digestion, which helps keep blood- glucose levels slow-rising and steady, helping you to feel fuller for longer and more satisfied. Some other examples of soluble fibre include carrots, apples, legumes and barley.

Countering Chronic Inflammation
When cholesterol assaults artery walls, the immune system’s response is inflammation. A US study involving more than 500 people found that high fibre diets, over 20grams per day, helps more than 63% of the participants had lower CRP* levels than those who ate low-fibre diets. *CRP is one of the body’s inflammation markers.

Weight Loss and Metabolic Syndrome
It has been well research that low-GI foods help a person feel fuller for longer, curbing appetite and aiding weight loss. In an Australian research, people who ate low-GI diets were twice as likely to lose 5% of their body weight and keep it off, as people who ate the conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when people who have insulin resistance, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and are obese. A recipes for Heart disease. One study found overweight people on a low-GI diet had lower insulin levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and less inflammation than people who ate a low-fat diet.

Carbohydrates are our body’s first choice for energy, and our brain’s major energy source, so it’s important to be smart about the choices of Carbs in your diet. Making sure to include plenty of whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, fibre, eat for health australia reccomends 30grams per day, and resistant starches. By making the right choice you can provide your body with the best nutrients and energy foods for top quality performance.

If you would like more information on GI and GL, I have added links below. Remember it can be as easy as swapping just one baked potato a week for a serving of brown rice to help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%!!


healthiest regards


5 Steps to a healthy recipe makeover

While tackling a new diet can be tough, there are some easy changes you can make to create a healthier, lighter recipe to your favourite dishes while keeping taste and textures intact. For example, using a low-fat milk and cheese instead of full-fat versions in homemade lasagne will trim at least 50% of the fat and kilojoules from that recipe!

Step #1
Focus on reducing the amount of ‘unhealthy’ saturated fats in your favourite recipes, such as fatty meats, butter, and full-fat dairy products, by replacing these with more beneficial unsaturated fats including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like olive oil and avocado.
Try swapping full-fat dairy products for low-fat varieties like low-fat cheese, low-fat yoghurt and skim milk. For stir-frying and sauteing, use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter; for spreading on bread try avocado, low-fat spreads or a smear of mustard.
Choose lean cuts of meat and trim all visible fats off before cooking. By brushing meats with a marinade before barbecuing or roasting, you can retain moisture in the meat and create a tasty, healthier option.
When baking butter can be replaced by a variety of options to suit taste preference including mashed banana, low-fat cream cheese, evaporated milk and low-fat yoghurt. Be creative!
Remember all fats are high in kilojoules but by replacing ‘bad’ fats with ‘good’ fats you can ensure your body is benefitting by the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are synonymous in unsaturated fats.

Step #2
The sugar in of recipes can be cut by 25-30% with no other changes to the recipe. Try adding other flavours to the mixture in the form of vanilla, citrus zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or cardamom. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar to save about 60grams of carbohydrates per serve!

Step #3
Keep added salt to a minimum when cooking. Your salt preference for a certain level of saltiness is determined by how much salt you usually have, as your body becomes accustomed. If you reduce your salt intake you will begin to enjoy the new taste within a few weeks.
Rinse canned legumes and pickled vegetables, olives and capers. Look for reduced salt canned legumes, tomatoes stock, soy sauce and packaged foods. Instead of table salt, add powdered sea vegetables like dulse and kombu, which have much less sodium and beneficial minerals like potassium and magnesium; also try salt-free herb and spice blends.

Step #4
Instead of deep-frying, try oven-baking, grilling, barbecuing, steaming or poaching. Use flavoursome liquids like homemade broth, wine or organic fruit juices for poaching and add aromatic citrus, spices and herbs for even more flavour without the added kilojoules.

Step #5
In casseroles and other homemade recipes, add plenty of vegetables, you can even sneak in finely chopped or pureed vegetables wherever you can. Add nuts, legumes and fresh or dried fruits to green salads.
For extra fibre in baked goods, use wholemeal flour and/or rolled oats in place of half the white flours.
To boost the taste of a recipes add high-flavoured herbs like garlic, chilli and fresh herbs, or intensify the flavour with spices, nuts and seeds.

Trimming kilojoules, fat and sodium from homemade recipes is often a matter of a simple switch in your cooking ingredients. So keep these tips in mind for shopping wisely to help improve your health and wellbeing without compromising on flavour!

Healthiest regards


Inside Macronutrients: Carbohydrates

They’ve had some bad press over the years, with celebrities and celebrity chefs promoting low carbohydrates diets, but recent research is making it clear that carbohydrates are important for good health. They are one of three of the macronutrients which are needed in a healthy diet, alongside with proteins and fats. Carbohydrates are the body’s first choice nutrient to be broken down to be used for energy, cell activity and brain energy fuel. Be careful to choose the right kinds of carbohydrates including fruits, vegetables and whole-grains rather than starchy, white, processed foods to reap major benefits.
So what are Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ or you may have heard these described as ‘sugars’ and ‘starches’. All digestible carbohydrates are broken down into Monosaccharide (single sugar, single unit) in the body so they can be absorbed through the intestinal wall for fuel. The three forms of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and galatose. Glucose, also known as dextrose and blood sugar, is the major monosaccharide found in the body. Fructose, known as fruit sugar, is another common monosaccharide that is absorbed by the small intestinal and transported to the liver where it is quickly metabolised. The last monosaccharide is galatose which has nearly the same compound structure as glucose. Galatose doesn’t exist in nature, instead it is bonded with glucose to make lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products.
Disaccharides ( di meaning two) are when two monosaccharides are combined. All disaccharides contain the sugar molecule glucose to convert into either sucrose, lactose or maltose. The sugar sucrose forms when glucose and fructose bond together. Sucrose is naturally found in cane sugar, maple sugar, beets and honey. Lactose is formed with the sugar units glucose and Galatose during the synthesis of milk. Maltose forms the breakdown of starch and contains glucose and glucose molecules.
Polysaccharides (poly meaning many) form when more than 10 single sugar units are bonded together to form a chain, also known as ‘complex carbohydrates’. The three polysaccharides are starch, glycogen and fibre and are often found in whole wheat breads, grains, high-fibre breakfast cereals, wholegrain rice and whole grains.
There are also Oligosaccharides, another form of complex carbohydrate, contain 3-10 monosaccharides.

Good Grain- Whole and unrefined.

White breads, white potatoes, sugary breakfast cereals and other highly processed foods are popular carbohydrate choices, and probably what most people think of when carbohydrates are mentioned. Overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that whole grains, unrefined or minimally processed are where the nutrients, minerals and vitamins really are. Much of the nutritional value is lost during the processing of foods that manufacturers are now putting some of these vitamins and minerals back in, but they do not compensate for the natural B-vitamins and fibres.

Disease Fighting Fibre.

Refining grains has another major downside, it removes a lot of health promoting fibre. Even though fibre isn’t a nutrient, meaning the body does not absorb it, it is indispensable to a healthy diet. Soluble and Insoluble fibre speeds up waste passing through your body, cutting the time that potential cancer causing substances are in contact with your intestines. It also serves as ‘food’ for your own healthy micro flora in your gut!
Insoluble fibre acts as a sponge, mopping up waste in the intestines to help create a bulky, soft stool.
Soluble fibre turns into a sticky gel in your intestines. This gel helps pull cholesterol, toxins and wastes to reduce the risk of them causing any harm. Fibre also passes slowly from the stomach making you feel fuller for longer which is beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight. Most people don’t eat enough fibre, which experts recommend 25-30 grams per day.

Next week I’ll be posting Part 2 on Carbohydrates including information on Glycaemic Index (GI), Glycaemic Load (GL) and how whole grains can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and inflammation. So be sure to keep a look out!!

For further information on Carbohydrates please click on the links below.


Healthiest Regards