How drugs work in our body

The site by the ICP (Interactive Clinical Pharmacology) of New Zealand has been designed to increase understanding of important concepts and principles in Clinical Pharmacology. it gives us an insight on how drugs work and effect our body. Examples on the site have been developed using Macromedia Flash to enable user interaction.

Here are the 16 interesting topics covered.

  1. Drug Clearance
  2. You will learn what steady rate concentration means.

  3. Saturable Metabolism
  4. Learn how drug molecules interact with enzymes to form metabolites.

  5. Drug Elimination
  6. Learn how altered liver and kidney functions may affect drug clearance.

  7. Protein Binding
  8. Only important in interpreting measured drug concentrations.

  9. Volume of Distribution
  10. The volume into which a drug appears to be distributed. Determines loading dose.

  11. pH and Pharmacokinetics
  12. Acids are ionized in basic media. Bases are ionized in acidic media.

  13. Half Life
  14. The time for the concentration of the drug to halve.

  15. Dosing and Age
  16. Drug clearance and dose requirements vary between ages.

  17. Dosing-I.V. vs oral vs slow release
  18. The route of drug administration influences pharmacokinetics.

  19. Drugs in Pregnancy
  20. Effect of drugs on the pregnancy and vice versa.

  21. Oral Availability
  22. The fraction of drug that reaches the systemic circulation after oral ingestion.

  23. Drug Interactions
  24. When drug concentrations exceed the capacity of metabolism.

  25. Pharmacodynamics
  26. The action of the drug on the body.

  27. Drug Transport
  28. Active transporters can help prevent some drug toxicities and aid uptake of some drugs. Check out the human model

  29. Pharmacogenetics
  30. How genes determine drug concentrations.

  31. Graph Plotter
  32. Varying dose regimen for different clinical settings.

The Secret To Energy With Little Sleep

afternoon nap

During my one year working for Renesas, I had trouble keeping awake during the afternoons. It was embedded into our minds that sleeping in the office is considered bad. It’s not encouraged at all. But from what I noticed, almost everyone in the office was drowsy and looked lethargic, trying hard to keep awake. Little did everyone know that if done correctly, taking regular day-time naps will give you a huge boost of energy throughout the day.

Now that I’m out, I can reveal my secrets. During my first few weeks, I realized that the toilet cleaner cleans twice, once at 7am and another at 2pm. Once I notice the cleaner walking out of the toilet, I will quickly run into one of the freshly cleaned cubicles, pull the toilet seat cover down, sit down facing the water tank, fold my hands above the tank and sleep. =) I will set the alarm to ring half an hour from time.

Later on, I realized that it is actually natural that we feel sleepy in the afternoon. Our body temperature decreases by 1° during mid afternoon. This slump is what makes a lot of people sleepy during the day, and why so many people feel the need to take an afternoon nap! Did you know that taking a nap in the afternoon is a culture in Spain and Mexico?

Deep sleep is the sleep phase where our body temperature begins to drop really low, our respiration, heart rate and blood pressure decreases. If you’ve ever been woken up out of “deep sleep”, you know that it’s almost impossible to get up. Waking up during or after a major deep sleep phase makes you feel lethargic, slow, and disoriented.

It takes about 45 minutes to enter the first deep sleep phase. If you limit your nap to 45 minutes, you will sleep mainly in Stage 2 sleep. Stage 2 sleep also plays a major role in restoring physical energy because 50% of our night sleep is spent in Stage 2 sleep. This is why you may have heard before that a simple 10 minute nap can totally re-charge you.

The correct way to take naps is to keep it super short. Some studies even show that taking short naps can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease by as much as 30%. I would personally recommend that you do take a short nap during the day, and you’ll be surprised at how energized you feel for the rest of the day when you do take one! Limit the nap to 45 minutes, if you still feel tired after the nap, then shorten the nap time. The amount of time required to enter deep sleep varies from person to person. Because everyone experiences the afternoon body temperature slump, we can assume that nature intended us to have an afternoon nap.

Talk About Sleep
The benefits of naps

Short nap taken in the early afternoon

Should I count calorie or carbohydrate intake?

Weighing Machine

Ever since I started my freelancing, I’ve been able to use my time efficiently for important matters such as health. I’ve been attending a nearby gym to exercise daily, arranging my own food and having enough sleep every night. I rarely exercised when I was in university and because of that, I grew a balloon belly. When I started working, I became more conscious of my health. I realized that my eating pattern was important. After all, we are what we eat. And so, I started noticing the nutrition facts located in every pack of food that I buy. I did some research and found out that we should count the calories instead of carbs.

Weight loss is ONLY possible when there is a calorie deficit. I can eat simply anything that I want but unless I eat less calories, nothing will change. Knowing how much carbs or fat you’re eating doesn’t help because it doesn’t take into consideration everything you’re eating. Everything put into the body requires energy to burn, whether it be vegetables, fruit or a hamburger and fries. It all counts when you’re trying to lose weight.

Here are 2 basic things that you can do.

  1. Calculate your daily calorie needs
  2. The American Cancer Society has this nifty tool to calculate your daily calorie needs. Just enter your weight in pounds, gender, lifestyle activity level and you will get the number of your daily calorie needs to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, enter the desired weight and get the recommended calorie needs. Here’s a screenshot of my daily calorie needs.

    calorie need

  3. Anne Collins’s Calorie Table
  4. Congrats to Anne Collin who has made a huge collection of calorie tables divided into 8 different categories which are

    • Alchohol
    • This includes beer, cocktails, spirit, wine …

    • Soft Drinks
    • Coffee, milk, juice, coke, soda, shakes …

    • Eating Out
    • Burritos, Chinese, fast food, pizzas, sandwiches, sushi, tacos …

    • Snack Foods
    • Cakes, candies, chewing gum, chocolates, cookies, ice cream …

    • Meats
    • Beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork, steaks, turkey, veal, venison …

    • Fish
    • Anchovies, caviar, clams, squid, salmon, tuna …

    • General Food
    • Apples, beans, bread, cereals, dairy products, vegetables, fruits …

    • Food Nutrients
    • Calories in carbs, fat and protein

Basically, just avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar. Refined sugar is sugar in processed food which is bad carbs. Sweetness from fruits is much more healthier and enjoyable. Also learn to enjoy whole foods like brown rice, wholemeal breads and wholemeal pasta. Reason is they are full of fibre and will fill you up for a lot less calories because you’ll be eating less. Drink a lot of water when eating fibre to prevent constipation.

ASC Calorie Need Calculator
Calculate your daily calorie needs.

Table of calories
Huge collection of calorie content in food.