Former Olympic Squad triathlete loves C60

"I wish I had discovered it when I was an athlete" 

Dr Steve Moore, the Chief Scientist at C60inoliveoil.com met up with former British Olympic Triathlon Academy Squad member Vanessa Raw at her London studio.

Vanessa is an accomplished artist who, since retiring from the International Triathlete circuit, devotes herself to her painting.

Ness, can you tell me a little about yourself?

I'm Vanessa (Ness) Raw. I live and work in London​ as an artist as well as currently studying functional medicine. Until 3 years ago I had been a professional triathlete for 11 years, competing all over the world. First in Olympic distance on the GB squad, then in the 70.3 and Ironman ​events

 Vanessa working in her London studio

Functional medicine 

I'm intrigued, what's functional medicine and why are you interested in it?

After battling with so many health issues throughout my sporting career, towards the end I met Dr Tamsin Lewis. She advised me to start looking at functional medicine. Not only did I get help from professionals in that field (including Tam) but I knew the only way to get better was to take full responsibility for my own health and become a detective in finding the answer. Basically, functional medicine aims to tackle the underlying cause of a problem rather than just treating the symptoms with pills.

Elite triathlete on the world circuit 

What was it like training and completing as an elite athlete?

We would train around 30 hours a week, split between swim, bike, run and weights. It was intense but I loved it. Unfortunately my health deteriorated quite quickly (within 2 years), I stupidly didn't ask for help as I should have but kept pushing on, thinking someone would stop me but no-one did. After 11 years of illness and injuries, enough was enough. I guess I'm happy to have achieved what I did manage to do in that time. 

Looking at your stats would you say you were at your best in the summer of 2009?

No not really, results on paper can be deceptive. My best performances were in the second year of competing. I did get to a high level of fitness towards the end of my career going into Ironman but sadly after a very bad bike crash, knocking out my front teeth and sustaining a bad concussion, I missed out in qualifying for the Ironman World Championship. I think this is where my strengths would have been, but by that time my body and head were a bit too battered!

What was it like on the world circuit?

It's amazing to visit so many different countries for your job, training and racing with the best in the world.

So did you get to go to the Olympics?

Sadly no, there were a few opportunities for the 2008 and as a domestique in 2012, but before both I experienced bad injuries. I'm also one of those people who doesn't have much self confidence, so if I'm not positive that I'm the best person for the job i would prefer someone else take the spot.

I read that you retired because of a pelvic injury, do you still suffer from it?

I retired because of multiple of things, mainly the pelvic injury, because it was so long-standing. I crashed and it caused it to twist, I carried the injury for 7 years before I retired. It meant that I couldn't sit on the saddle straight or push the pedals properly. I also had long-standing problems with my ankles since I was young, that meant that I didn't have full dorsiflexion. They would be even tighter running after getting of the bike and I would bruise the balls of my feet trying to run. I've recently had both ankles reconstructed. Then a doctor friend suggested I would never get well unless I stopped. I have Hashimoto's disease and struggled with adrenal insufficiency, as well as numerous gut problems and depression throughout my career. Not to mention the chronic insomnia!

What has C60 done for you? 

So how did you hear about C60? 

I was studying functional medicine and working on setting up a health company called Protocol8, when we came across C60. I was intrigued. As someone who had just received results of massively high C-reactive protein, I knew the dangers of this on an ageing front.

 CRP Molecule

Protocol8 is a site focussed on intermittent fasting, do you see a connection between fasting and C60?

That's right, I set up Protocol8 with a friend to provide information and support on how anyone can reduce the inflammation building up in their body by fasting for 16 hours a day. I read about C60 and how it was the most powerful antioxidant in the world. It seemed to fit really well with what I was trying to do myself with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. When you start on the journey of intermittent fasting any help is great and C60 was a huge help. As you take C60 dissolved in oil, it means that it doesn't push you out of ketosis during your fast. Also if you take C60 in coconut oil or MCT the shorter chain fatty acids; caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10) can be turned directly into ketone bodies, by the mitochondria in your liver, giving you a much needed energy boost when you are just starting out.

After you started taking C60, what do you first recollect noticing and how long after you first started taking it?

I had my C-reactive protein remeasured within a couple of weeks of being on C60 and the results came back with a value close to zero. As part of submitting the sample I completed a questionnaire, in which I stated I was suffering from an auto-immune condition. In the doctor's report he said he couldn't see any sign of an auto-immune condition, the C-reactive protein level was normal. I was blown away by the change and how quickly it had taken place. Physically I felt more energised and clear-headed. I started to wake up less in the night.

Have you seen any other benefits?

Yes, my skin has improved since taking C60, its consistently clear now and definitely feels smoother and almost radiant. More of a youthful feel to it. I have a lot of hyperpigmentation, started from scarring and then from the sun. I think it may be helping with this a little.

I'm a fan of your painting, but don't you find the chemicals in the paint cause you problems?

Yes you're right. It was a concern of mine. I've tried to swap some of my most toxic art materials for less toxic ones. I'm hoping the C60 will buffer the effects of the ones that are left! I also run backwards and forwards to the studio through the traffic fumes, so it gives me peace of mind knowing that my body isn't so intoxicated now. Or at least it has helped to fight the effects.

 Nimbus

In all his Glory 

What C60 oils have you tried? 

Which of the oils have you tried?

The olive oil, avocado, coconut and black seed. I've just received the camelina oil.

Which of them do you prefer?

I really like the black seed. Black seed has been shown to help with the thyroid and any associated viruses. I do feel like I'm killing two birds with one stone. Not only am I reducing inflammation but possibly addressing the cause of the inflammation at the same time.

Black seed, Nigella sativa

How do you get on with the taste of black seed oil?

It is really strong, what I do is have my water ready, I take a gulp of the oil, not breathing but wash it straight down with my water. It's easy that way, ha ha. I may even take a gulp of apple cider vinegar after too. I feel it helps digest anything fatty super well, as well as override any lingering taste.

Would you say you are a convert to C60 and are you going to continue taking it?

Yes definitely! I'm definitely going to carry on taking C60. I think I'll cycle myself on and off it, as it's good to have some acute stress, so our bodies adapt and become stronger. But it's a matter of managing the stress and making sure it doesn't become chronic.

Would you recommend others to try C60?

I do! I wish I had discovered it when I was an athlete. Sadly there are so many cases of over training and mystery illnesses and symptoms. I think C60 could help athletes manage their stress load, keeping them on the 'right side' of the line. I don't think it should be taken continueously, as we know the benefits of hormetic stress on the body. Yet, from experience many athletes are chronically stressed, so they can't reach their full potential and reap the benefits of the key sessions. I think for many, C60 could be carefully scheduled within a program with great success.