Ramen Spectroscopy Can Measure Whether You Have Eaten Your Vegetables

August 27, 2018

References: Nobel PrizeJ Acad Nutr Diet

 "Did you finish your vegetables?" said your mother when you were three. You twisted and squirmed and didn't show her the peas on the floor. Now, she could tell. The application is called Ramen spectroscopy and it was discovered by an Indian physicist back in the 1920s, earning him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. That Nobel Prize has come to fruition with an application in modern medicine. Add that scattering effect to the invention of lasers and you can make a machine that can detect the amount of carotenoids in your blood, aka, whether you finished your vegetables and ate enough of them. (Want the basic science: click here) 

Even Dr. Oz has gotten on the bandwagon with a show on antioxidants. This ability to measure the adequacy of antioxidants is no trivial matter. We all think we eat enough vegetables. In Dr. Oz's Youtube video, there are only a few blue T-shirts (adequate) compared to red t-shirts (deficient). On the machine that can measure this, I came out at 29,000 when adequate is over 40,000. I would have gotten a yellow T-shirt. Antioxidants play a huge role in protecting your body from damage, particularly cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. Well, that's the Trifecta of modern illness. 

As we age we make fewer of our own antioxidants and willingly expose ourselves to many oxidizing foods and chemicals: sugar for one. Cigarettes, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, lectins, on and on.....and finally, just plain aging. Part of aging is the loss of ability to make your own "antioxidants", notably glutathione and CoQ10. A diet rich in anti-oxidants helps forestall all that. But are you really getting enough? How can you tell? 

This is where lists about what are the best foods with antioxidants comes to bear. We all cheer when chocolate is high on that list. Berries, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables.... less sugar, less sugar, less sugar. Avoid weed killer, glyphosate, smoking, preservatives....and on and on. But now we can measure it! A company called Pharmanex has taken the technology of Raman Photon scattering and made a simple device that you grab with your hand. In 30 seconds, no pain, no blood, just 30 seconds of laser light on your palm and you and you get a reading back about the sufficiency of antioxidants in your blood. Plain and simple. Should it be in every doctor's office?   Pretty shady company!  Multilevel marketing and all that.   But I do want the scanner as a motivator. 

www.what will work for me. I eat tons of veges. At least I thought I did. Then I measured my own on the Ramen device. Measly one notch above inadequate. Considering that the average consumption of veges in America is 1/2 serving a day, and only if you count French fries as a vegetable. Data always helps. 

  Pop Quiz

  1. What is Ramen spectroscopy?                    Answer: the scattering of light based on the inherent qualities of a molecule. (Or, as Wikipedia says, "The Raman effect is based on the interaction between the electron cloud of a sample and the external electrical field of the monochromatic light, which can create an induced dipole moment within the molecule based on its polarizability.) Did you get that?
  2. How can it measure your vegetable intake?         Answer:  Many beneficial chemicals in plants have characteristic "vibrational" frequencies when exposed to laser light, and that is what a ramen spectroscope reads.
  3. How long does it take?                     Answer: about 30 seconds
  4. What's the likelihood that I am eating enough veges? Answer: On the Dr Oz show on Youtube, there were only a few blue T-shirts, most were red or yellow
  5. Is this just a gimmicky sort of deal?                        Answer: what does it take you to be motivated? Some of us need data. Is this data accurate? As good as what we have got.  Do carotenoids matter?   I'm not sure.