Superfoods Pioneer Turns 60 and Points To Next Big Thing In Health

Superfoods Pioneer Turns 60 and Points To Next Big Thing In Health

Dr Kevin Glucina, the founder of Matakana SuperFoods and one of the first people to introduce the world to superfoods such as maqui berry, sacha inchi, goji berries, chia seeds, fermented coconut sauces, coconut sugar and much more, celebrated turning 60 last month.

Reflecting on 40 years living an organic lifestyle, 20 years since introducing his first patients to superfoods and 10 years since founding Matakana SuperFoods (one of the world’s leaders in the field with over 80 superfoods products in the market), Kevin says he’s often asked “What’s coming next?”

There are three important things happening right now which I believe will influence health in a very positive way, they are:

1. The move to a more plant-based, wholefood diet

I love the concept of a flexitarian diet, not only from a health standpoint, but because it’s achievable for people who enjoy meat, but want to take positive action toward the environment by reducing their overall consumption of meat and processed foods and replacing them with plant-based wholefoods

2. Intermittent fasting

This is a re-synchronising of our body/eating habits to align more closely with the way humans have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years (when food was not available 24/7). It makes a lot of sense and the body of scientific and clinical evidence supporting the practice continues to grow

3. NAD precursors

The recent discovery of an efficient and side effect free precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), is a giant leap forward for our health as we age. NAD is the mission-critical molecule in our cells which regulates most of our cellular function in one way or another.

The problem is, once we reach our mid-20s, NAD levels gradually begin to decline. By the time we reach our 40’s, NAD levels have dropped by up to 50% and between 40 – 60yrs they can plummet that much again. This leaves our cells short of NAD which can trigger a cascade of ageing and associated health issues.

Among other things, NAD is responsible for the following:

  • enabling our mitochondria with energy
  • regulating the repair of our DNA
  • signals male & female hormone production
  • facilitating the body’s immune response and healing following injury.
  • keeping the brain charged with optimum energy levels
  • maintaining muscle mass and strength

When our cells don’t have healthy levels of NAD they can't produce the energy we need to maintain our cellular function and health as we age. We get to a tipping point where our cells start to misfire and basically it's all downhill from there. It’s not only ageing which can cause this decline in NAD levels, but environmental stressors which most people are subject to on a regular basis including eating too much, drinking too much, getting too much sun, missing sleep. These episodes can leave you short of NAD and feeling depleted, so it’s not only older people who can suffer from this.

However, a comprehensive NAD precursor which lifts NAD in all our cells, (skin, brain, organs, muscles – the lot!) has recently been discovered. This precursor is called nicotinamide riboside (NR) and is now available as a dietary supplement called TRU NIAGEN. When we take it as a supplement TRU NIAGEN converts to NAD raising NAD back to more youthful levels so our cells have the energy to function at their best. 

Although NR is found naturally in human and cows milk, it is only found in trace amounts. This means to get the equivalent amount of NR from our diet as that contained in the daily recommended dose of TRU NIAGEN (300mg), we would need to drink 200-300litres of milk per day. Not ideal and for someone who likes to stick with wholefoods – a little annoying!

However TRU NIAGEN is such an exciting breakthrough as this is the first time in the history of our human evolution that we have been able to dial back the decline of NAD – which should give a lot of people the opportunity to age in a more positive way.

TRU NIAGEN is the one thing I make sure I take every day.

What does your typical day look like in terms of your diet?

Along with TRU NIAGEN I take Vitamin D3 and K2 (the K2 needs to be there so the extra calcium absorption is diverted to your bones rather than your arteries), I also take a supplement Matakana SuperFoods produces from organic wakame/mekabu seaweed which contains an extract called fucoidan. Fucoidan is very special as it helps the body regulate inflammation and is one of nature’s most powerful supporters of the immune system, enabling it to more efficiently clean up and monitor for rogue cells and viruses.

Apart from that, I try to stick to a wholefood organic diet. My typical day starts with a bowl of kimchi or sauerkraut, avocado, olives, gherkin, onion and quinoa salad with either extra virgin olive oil, chia oil or sacha inchi oil.        

Lunch is two pieces of our dark superfood chocolate bar a cup of tea and a glass of our recovery formula made from organic freeze-dried super berries and beetroot.

Afternoon tea is a shot of our super greens (straight).

Dinner is usually a selection of vegetables sometimes with fish, or a stir fry with one of our unsung heroes – a coconut chilli sauce. I had created out of fermented coconut nectar and wild chillies. I have been told by visitors to our table that it’s the best chilli sauce they’ve ever had, caramel, savoury and mildly sweet, I must admit, it's my go to with many dishes.

Weekend only treats are a good Bordeaux red, a meat dish and sourdough bread.

Do you have an almost never?

Yes, that would include cured meats of all descriptions. The chemicals used in bacon, ham, salami etc are strongly linked to cancer and dementia so I made a decision 30 years ago to try to avoid that group.

What do you do to stay active?

In terms of staying active, I  go for an early morning jog most days, Qi Gong (mindful exercises like a form of Chinese yoga), try to do some resistance training and go for a surf when it's up! I picked surfing up when I turned 40 and I’m still hopeless, but it makes me feel alive! I surf right through winter, a session in big winter surf is a shock to the system and I think that it does a lot of good.

How do you explain getting to 60 with a full head of dark hair?

I think it’s probably just a freak of nature. I have a half dozen or so greys on each temple but some of those have reverted to black about 6 months after starting on TRU NIAGEN, something I wasn’t expecting.  I think I’ve collected 8 hairs that are black from the root up and grey on the top half, they are in a bottle now for further analysis at some stage. It’s pretty unusual, but I’ve seen reports of other people experiencing the same after taking NAD precursors. I imagine it affects different people in different ways. About the same time, I found I no longer required my #1 glasses to read the newspaper and haven’t used them since, so I am pretty impressed by that!

What’s next for Matakana SuperFoods?        

We’ve just launched nine new hemp-based products including three breakfast cereals under a new brand called “Love Organics”. Hemp is such a nutritious, great tasting and sustainable crop, but we are very careful to source the raw ingredients from a family farm in Canada where the best quality hemp is grown.

There is a lot of cheap hemp coming into NZ from China but we don’t think the heavy population and industrialisation of that country and several others make them good candidates for growing organic products. With big corporates moving into the organic space you have to be vigilant, particularly where profits are the main motivation.