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Boosting Mitochondrial Biogenesis With Ginger

© 18th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: January 18th 2020 at 4:00 pm
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

What is the Pelvic Floor? Why Should We Be Talking About It?

© 5th February 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
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Posted on:  Thursday, January 23rd 2020 at 3:15 pm

Written By:  Isa Herrera

Over 30 million women have pelvic floor problems like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pain during intercourse. If you’re among them, you’re not alone. Here’s what you can do to find relief

Maybe you’ve heard the term “pelvic floor” and thought it was a bit confusing. Or maybe you’re very familiar with the term because you’re struggling with incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pain and discomfort during sex.

If this is you, chances are good you’ve likely been offered very little in the way of information or options. Most docs aren’t exactly well versed in this area of expertise, and many encourage women to resort to painful surgeries and injections — which is why I’m bringing you an in-depth look at the pelvic floor today.

We’re going to explore exactly what this term means, what it looks like when issues start to arise and steps you can take to heal yourself. I’ve helped 15,000 women worldwide regain their pelvic health. You can believe that after treating that many women, I’ve seen it all.

You are not alone! Over 30 million women[i] in the U.S. have experienced pelvic floor problems. I promise that your issues with your pelvic floor are treatable and you can heal. Just don’t give up.

My hope is that after reading this, you’ll be inspired to heal yourself and share what I’m teaching here with other women, too.

What Is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is the core of the female body. It is a group of muscles and tissue that support all of the organs in the pelvis, including the vagina, uterus, bowel\ and bladder. These muscles control urinary function, bowel movements and orgasms.

Let’s just say they’re an extremely important part of the female anatomy. What can go wrong with your pelvic floor? Unfortunately, all kinds of complications can arise in this group of muscles.

  • Because you sit so much,[ii] they can become weak.
  • They can be damaged during childbirth.[iii]
  • As you age, muscles tend to weaken if you don’t actively engage them regularly. In fact, around 40% of women aged 40 to 69 and 50% of women over 80 have symptoms of pelvic floor disorders.[iv]

Have you ever peed a little bit when you coughed or sneezed? Then, my friend, you’ve experienced one of the most common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Urinary incontinence due to a compromised pelvic floor can range from a few drops of urine to full-blown loss of bladder control. Some of the other symptoms that can also occur when the pelvic floor isn’t in peak form include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (when the bladder, uterus or rectum drop into or out of the vagina)[v]
  • Painful sex
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Difficult bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Feeling full or pressure in the pelvis
  • Painful urination

What Are Your Options for Treatment?

A full one-quarter of women have experienced episodes[vi] of involuntary leaking of urine. Over 50% of the women in the U.S. experience a degree of pelvic organ prolapse[vii] and 12% will have surgery for it.

And those are just the ones who have reported symptoms. Many of our sisters suffer in silence, too ashamed to tell anyone about their experiences.

Often, when they bring their concerns up to a doctor, they’re dismissed as simply “part of the aging process” or “what happens to everyone after childbirth.” Even worse, most women are given a few standard treatment options like:

  • Opioid painkillers
  • Surgery that can involve the placement of man-made mesh inside the vagina (of note: one of these procedures was just pulled from the market by the FDA[viii])
  • Vaginal injections

It breaks my heart. And I want every woman to know that they have other options —  options that involve non-invasive techniques and options that leave you feeling empowered and not victimized. In my practice, I help women every day to learn:

  • Yoga moves
  • Abdominal exercises
  • Pelvic massage techniques
  • Kegels — did you know there are over 13 types of these exercises?
  • Sound healing meditations
  • Breathwork

These techniques help you to take control of your pelvic floor and heal incontinence and prolapse — no knives, pills or needles required.

Also, I find that many women, after suffering from their conditions for so long, become frustrated and exhausted after trying things that don’t work and being dismissed by doctors. Sometimes their partners inadvertently make them feel like they aren’t meeting their needs sexually. And this adds a certain level of psychological trauma to an already sensitive problem.

It’s one of the reasons I incorporate private communities into my therapies — so women can feel free to share their experiences with one another and feel seen and heard by others that feel the same way.

This kind of emotional healing is so powerful, especially when working on pelvic health. As women, the pelvis is the core of our being, the place where we create life. It’s more than just a bundle of muscles and tissue. And when you address all facets of your healing, from your core to your mindset, you can achieve miraculous results.

If you’re suffering — there is hope. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be heartbreaking. Many women suffer feelings of shame, embarrassment and even guilt around these conditions. Because society has programmed many to believe that “a lady doesn’t talk about these things,” you may be suffering in silence.

And in many ways, you may have been taught that you’re supposed to outsource your health to doctors, who must be smarter and wiser and more capable of healing you than you are — right?

Let’s end these stigmas and old paradigms now. Half of the world is female and you can take control of the conversations surrounding your health, your body and ultimately your healing processes. And when we do it together, we become even stronger.

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction — leaking bladder, prolapse or painful sex, or if you’re just curious about how to improve your pelvic health, I’d encourage you to attend my upcoming masterclass, 5 Steps to Happier Lady Parts.

It’s completely chock full of step-by-step, easy to implement ways to take back control of your Queendom. In the comfort of your own home, without having to visit a doctor’s office, I’ll teach you everything you need to know and then some about how to heal your issues with your pelvic floor.

You can even use this guide to improve your sex life and prevent pelvic floor issues before they ever happen.

Take the Next Step

Sign up for my complimentary masterclass “5 Steps to Happier ‘Lady Parts’: Stop Leaking, Heal Prolapse, and Relieve Pain without Setting Foot in the Doctor’s Office.”

Discover tips and tools you won’t find anywhere else that will help you to feel whole again and in control of your pelvic, sexual and bladder health. It’s simply your birthright to understand your divine female anatomy. And it’s time you claimed it.

This is the same information that I’ve used to improve the lives of almost 15,000 women across the globe. It’s the information that you need to go from confused and suffering to vibrant and pain-free and symptom free.

Before you consider having surgery or injections — please check out this free resource and tell your friends to do the same. I want every woman to have access to this life-changing information.


References

[i] Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jan; 123(1): 141-148.

[ii] JAMA. 2018;320(19):2036-2038. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.17797

[iii] Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2013 May; 9(3): 10.2217/whe.13.17.

[iv] National Institutes of Health September 17, 2008

[v] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Pelvic organ prolapse

[vi] National Institutes of Health September 17, 2008

[vii] Yale Medicine June 19, 2019

[viii] U.S. FDA April 16, 2019

The Benefits of Muscle Confusion


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/01/31/benefits-of-muscle-confusion.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked image

January 31, 2020

benefits of muscle confusion

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • A study sought to ascertain whether randomizing exercises and repetitions produces better results than a traditional weight training program composed of a fixed set of exercises and repetitions
  • Many believe “confusing” your muscles by varying your exercises from one session to the next forces adaptation to constantly changing demands, thus improving growth and strength and allowing you to avoid training plateaus
  • There was virtually no difference in strength and muscle size between the two groups. The only difference between the two groups was their motivation to work out. Those whose workouts varied from one session to the next reported greater levels of motivation, which can improve adherence
  • There are instances in which you might want to limit the variety of your exercises. To maximize muscle building, a conventional, fixed training program may actually be a better bet, as too-frequent rotation of exercises can compromise muscle growth and strength
  • To improve motivation when doing a fixed strength training program, consider varying your weekly cardio session and/or adding or changing some of your isolated muscle exercises. Other suggestions for improving your motivation are also reviewed

I’ve often stated that, for optimal health and fitness, you need diversity in your fitness routine — something that challenges your body in different ways. A study1 in the December 2019 issue of PLOS ONE sought to ascertain whether randomizing exercises and repetitions produces better results than a traditional weight training program comprised of a fixed set of exercises and repetitions.

The idea is that by “confusing” your muscles by varying your exercises from one session to the next, they’re forced to adapt to constantly changing demands, thus improving growth and strength, and allowing you to avoid training plateaus. As noted by the authors:2

“The term “muscle confusion” has been coined to describe the effects of constantly varying exercise selection as a means to provide a novel stimulus that enhances muscular adaptations. However, research on the topic is limited.

Fonseca et al. showed that changing lower body exercises every two weeks may elicit greater regional-specific hypertrophy of the quadriceps muscle compared to just performing the squat.

More recently, Rauch et al. demonstrated that varying exercise selection via autoregulation produced modestly greater increases in lean mass and strength compared to a fixed exercise protocol.

However, to our knowledge, no study to date has endeavored to investigate the effects of randomly undulating exercise selection as some programs advocate. It is conceivable that such frequent rotation of exercises may enhance results by continually providing a novel stimulus to muscles and/or bolstering motivation to train.”

Does ‘Muscle Confusion’ Improve Strength and Muscle Growth?

To test the hypothesis that muscle confusion will improve strength and muscle growth by forcing adaptation to a wider set of demands, the researchers recruited 19 healthy men aged 18 to 35 with at least two years of strength training experience.

None used anabolic steroids or other substances that might affect muscle growth. They also agreed to avoid supplements that might affect muscle size, such as creatine and whey protein, for the duration of the trial.

Muscle strength and leg muscle size were measured at the outset and after the completion of the trial. They were also asked about their motivation levels before and after the intervention, and meals were tracked to avoid dietary confounding. Participants were randomly divided into two groups:

1.The first group performed a conventional strength training routine composed of three sets of six fixed upper- and lower-body exercises, four times a week for eight weeks. Upper and lower exercises were done on alternate sessions. The exercises were done in the same order each week, but weights were increased at regular intervals as strength improved.

2.The second group performed randomized workouts generated by a cellphone app from a database of 80 possible exercises. While the overall number of upper- and lower-body exercises and the weight used matched that of the conventional group, their routines varied from one session to the next.

After eight weeks, strength, muscle size and workout motivation levels were reassessed. Surprisingly, there was virtually no difference in strength and muscle size between the two groups. As reported by The New York Times,3 “it is not easy to confuse a muscle” after all.

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Variety Can Improve Exercise Motivation

The only thing that really differed between the two groups was their motivation to work out. Here, those whose workouts varied from one session to the next reported feeling more motivated to head to the gym, and the difference in motivation between the two groups was significant.

In fact, the conventional group’s motivation levels had “slightly declined” by the end of the eight weeks. So, by supporting motivation, varying your exercise routine can go a long way toward improving adherence which, of course, is an important component if you want to enhance or maintain your fitness. The New York Times writes:4

“What these findings suggest is that muscles are not deterred or bored by unvarying routines, says Brad Schoenfeld, an associate professor of exercise science at Lehman College in New York and a co-author of the study.

‘They adapt to load,’ he says, whether that load arrives through the same exercise or a different one each time. But minds are not muscles and could be influenced by novelty, he says. ‘The differences in motivation scores at the end were substantial,’ he says, suggesting that ‘from a purely motivational standpoint, variety matters.'”

When to Limit Exercise Variety

The authors do point out, however, that there are instances in which you might want to limit the variety of your exercises. If your goal is to maximize muscle building, then a conventional, fixed training program may actually be a better bet:

“There may be a trade-off whereby too frequent rotation of exercises somewhat compromises muscle growth and strength; thus, those who wish to maximize these outcomes may wish to limit exercise variety,” the authors note.5

“A possible solution is to keep more complex, free weight exercises (e.g. squats, deadlifts, rows, etc.) in a regular rotation throughout a training cycle and vary movements that have limited degrees of freedom and thus do not require a high degree of motor learning (e.g. leg extensions, machine press, arm curls, etc.).”

That said, it’s important to remember that building muscle requires constant challenge, so even if you adhere to a set workout plan, you still need to continue to raise the challenge level by gradually increasing the amount of weight you use, as well as the reps and intensity.

Karl Smith, who holds a master’s degree in exercise science and a Ph.D. in health education, told Men’s Journal6 he recommends switching up your reps, sets, recovery time and workout volume every six to eight weeks to avoid hitting a plateau.

Maintaining Motivation During a Fixed Weight Training Program

If the idea of doing the same strength training routine for weeks on end fills you with boredom, consider following ReInvention Fitness owner Doug Barsanti’s advice. Barsanti is a certified strength and fitness coach with a master’s in kinesiology. Men’s Journal writes:7

“Barsanti suggests switching up lower-skill exercises, such as cardio, or smaller muscle-isolation exercises. Functionally, this means following the same general-strength-training program for a full six weeks, but changing up your weekly cardio, hitting the rowing machine one day and the stair climber the next, or, while following your routine, adding or changing isolation exercises here and there.

This means continuing to work your plan for squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, and the like, but maybe you isolate your biceps, calves, or triceps a little differently each routine.”

What You Need to Know About Blood Flow Restriction Training

In my opinion, BFR is the most incredible innovation to improve your health that I have learned about in quite some time. It has the most significant potential to increase your healthful life span and help you maintain full range of your mental and physical capacities than anything that I know of.

To help you get started, I have put together a comprehensive article that outlines the benefits of this amazing technique. Click the button below to access it — absolutely FREE!

bfr callout

As I have discussed in many previous articles and interviews that you can see by following the link in the above graphic, I am a major fan of KAATSU and blood flow restriction training. The same principles apply here. You can certainly mix it up for muscle confusion, or use the same exercises routinely.

I personally use KAATSU every day in the cycling mode for walking and stretching exercises. I use it five days a week in training mode with no pulsed mode, just continuous compression. I only use it on my upper body and alternate between there different workouts. The other two days a week I do conventional high-resistance strength training with my personal trainer.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

You can also limit boredom and enhance adherence by making sure your fitness routine suits your personality.

A Live Science article8 published in 2010 listed recommended fitness routines based on personality traits established by psychological research, which has boiled down various psychological traits to five main components: Conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism (sensitivity) and openness to experience.

While you can’t fit the entirety of an individual into a neat little box, each person contains these five traits in various amounts, and psychologists look at these basic dimensions when ascertaining personality. As described by Live Science, taking these core traits into account when setting up a new fitness regimen can be very helpful. For example, if you are:

Highly conscientious — Take advantage of your innate stick-to-itiveness and drive to follow the rules. Solo activities tend to work well since you don’t have to coordinate your schedule with others.
Noncommittal — More impulsive people who tend to avoid planning and don’t like making promises may improve their chances of success by writing down their exercise plan in detail, including the when and where. Focusing on activities that give you “a buzz or high,” can also help to make you stick to your regimen. Examples include sprinting and contact sports.

Breaking down a large goal into smaller, more manageable chunks with deadlines in the near future will also be helpful, especially if your attention span is short.

Extroverted — So-called “people persons” can feel bereft when having to exercise all by their lonesome, so if you’re very outgoing, consider joining a fitness class or taking up a team sport such as ultimate Frisbee to keep you going.
Introverted and/or highly agreeable — These personality types may be uncomfortable with highly competitive and aggressive activities. Better alternatives include yoga or tai chi, either at home by yourself or in a class setting, and golf.
Worried or anxious — Those who find it hard to relax can find a great friend in exercise, as exercising is a fantastic tool for releasing anxiety and providing stress relief and emotional stability.

Aside from relieving stress, people in this category also tend to be motivated by the idea of improving their physical appearance, so reminding yourself of the physical benefits you can reap can help keep you going.

Adventurous — Those who are open to new experiences tend to be happiest when their fitness routine takes them outdoors. Running, cycling or walking are all great options, and taking different routes can quench your need for variety, keeping each workout fresh.

Other Motivation Factors

To learn even more about motivation — what boosts it and what can make it lag — see my previous articles, “Do You Make This Common Motivation Mistake?” and “How to Make Yourself Love Exercise.”

Active people, and women in particular, tend to focus on the intrinsic value of exercise — things like feeling successful, relaxed and happy during or after each session, rather than having a goal of losing a certain amount of weight by a certain time, or the even more nebulous goal of living longer.

So, keep in mind that your ability to adhere to a regular fitness routine may have a great deal to do with the way you frame your goals. How you think about exercise, or how you frame the idea of it, may help you change your perspective and enjoy your chosen activities.

The process of reframing an idea is an active and dynamic process occurring every day in your brain. In fact, advertisers use it to persuade you to purchase products, and you use it to construct the meaning behind your decisions. Presenting information in a different light allows you to frame the information in such a way that you may justify the decisions you make.

So, rather than thinking of exercise as an alternative or threat to enjoying your free time, socializing with friends or achieving educational or professional goals, change your perspective so that exercise becomes a way of making your desires happen instead.

Yoga Therapy Can Help Alleviate Tinnitus-Linked Distress

© 28th December 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/yoga-therapy-can-help-alleviate-tinnitus-linked-distress

Tinnitus is a buzzing or ringing in the ears that has become a chronic nightmare for millions of Americans, causing undue stress, trouble working and even sleeplessness. Research explores yoga — an age-old practice proven as a stress buster — as a sound option to help address the stress-related psychological symptoms that come with tinnitus

Researchers in Poland examined the beneficial effects of 12 weeks of yoga training on 25 patients with chronic tinnitus.[i] Affecting over 50 million adults in the U.S.,[ii] tinnitus can affect one or both ears and can stem from exposure to loud noises, ear and sinus infections, hearing loss in the elderly, heart or blood vessel problems, and Meniere’s disease.

Ten of the subjects underwent MRI before and after yoga training, while all participants were assessed using the Tinnitus Functional Index. A control group was made up of 13 persons reporting chronic tinnitus.

Following the 12-week yoga course, the researchers identified several areas that benefited most from yoga therapy, namely a sense of control of tinnitus, sleep, quality of life and intrusiveness. The MRI results also revealed that connections in the white matter of the brain appeared stronger as a result of the training.

“Yoga training has good potential to improve the daily functioning of patients with chronic tinnitus and can be considered a promising supporting method for tinnitus treatment,” reported the researchers writing in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.[iii]

What Remedies Can Make a Difference in Tinnitus?

Tinnitus treatment varies depending on the cause, yet there are patients who have found no lasting relief from hearing aids, sound-masking devices and medication.

Acupuncture, both in manual and electrical forms, has been shown to have therapeutic value in treating tinnitus. In a 2010 study,[iv] 50 patients who suffered from the disorder were investigated and assigned to either a manual acupuncture group, electrical acupuncture group or a placebo group.

After six treatments, the frequency of tinnitus occurrence as well as loudness appeared to be significantly reduced in the electrical acupuncture group, while quality of life improved at two post-treatment periods in both manual and electrical groups.

Improving levels of coenzyme Q10zinc, and vitamin B12 has also been linked with the improvement of tinnitus.[v],[vi],[vii]

Stress Management in Chronic Tinnitus Sufferers

Depending on its severity, chronic tinnitus can lead to distress and anxiety from trouble hearing, working or even catching sleep at night. Not everyone affected has successfully learned how to cope with the noise, which can come in the form of roaring, hissing, clicking or other common sounds.

Yoga, an ancient wellness practice, can help immensely in managing stress, whether from conditions like tinnitus or everyday stresses that you encounter. There’s mounting evidence that vouches for its favorable effects against stress and diseases — GreenMedInfo.com has an exhaustive list of studies vouching for yoga’s therapeutic actions. Other natural remedies against stress, which act as mental wellness tools, include:

  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Simple exercises such as getting outside for a walk
  • Solid support system composed of family, friends
  • Professional counseling, if necessary

Integrating yoga and other natural approaches with additional lifestyle and environmental changes can make a radical difference in your tinnitus experience — even more so in the lasting, life-disrupting distress that can come with it.


References

[i] Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Aug;36:7-11. Epub 2019 Apr 13.

[ii] American Tinnitus Association, Understanding the Facts

[iii] Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Aug;36:7-11. Epub 2019 Apr 13.

[iv] Complement Ther Med. 2010 Dec;18(6):249-55. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

[v] Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Jan;136(1):72-7.

[vi] Otol Neurotol. 2003 Jan;24(1):86-9.

[vii] Am J Otolaryngol. 1993 Mar-Apr;14(2):94-9.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Written by Brenton Wight, researcher and LeanMachine

Copyright © Brenton Wight, LeanMachine

Doctors say there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, in spite of over 80 billion dollars in research over the last few decades.
This is partly true, as there is no drug, no “magic bullet” to slow or stop this dreadful condition.
Hundreds of studies with new drugs have shown most of the time that those on a placebo did BETTER than those on the drug!
In rare cases, those on the drug did very slightly better, but any improvement was not enough to justify bringing the drug to market.
However, we CAN identify risk factors, and we CAN in most cases prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, and we CAN in most cases reverse the disease, or at least ease the symptoms to give the patient and the carers a better quality of life.
If the intervention is soon enough, it CAN be CURED in some, but not all cases.
There is no miracle one-shot treatment, but a combination of many factors.
The time to start treatment is not when we are 60 and forget where the keys are, but from birth!
The lifetime changes we need to prevent Alzheimer’s will also prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, and give our lives vitality.

How many people are at risk?

In the USA, over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and around 14% of the population will eventually get Alzheimer’s, or around 45 million people.
Results in Australia are similar. Over 10% of the population over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and 30% of those over 85 have Alzheimer’s. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, deaths from Alzheimer’s has risen 20% and looks set to replace Cardiovascular disease as the Number 1 cause of death.
Many people now suffer from Early Onset Alzheimer’s, showing signs as young as 30 years of age.
In the USA, it is now the third leading cause of death, but these figures are understated. People do not actually die from Alzheimer’s – they die because the parts of the brain that control bodily functions shut down, so they die when their organs shut down.
The patient may die from pneumonia because the lungs now cannot function or some other organ fails to work and the Doctor or Coroner has to determine which organ failed.
This is a problem in every country, but some countries have very much reduced rates of Alzheimer’s, mainly due to better diets and reduced toxins.

Diagnosis

Originally, there was no firm diagnosis without examining the brains of patients after death.
Researchers found that most patients had Amyloid Plaques in the brain, and also high levels of aluminium.
PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) are used with a radioactive tracer (which binds to amyloid plaques) to determine the amount and location of amyloid plaques in the brain.
However, this diagnosis is still not conclusive, as many people have amyloid plaques, but no sign of any dementia even into old age, although these people have a higher risk. Often symptoms do not appear for decades after the start of amyloid plaque deposits. Other patients have no sign of Amyloid plaques but still have Alzheimer’s, so drugs developed to reduce Amyloid plaques have proven unsuccessful in prevention and treatment.
Standard blood tests for glucose level, triglycerides, kidney and liver function can help determine the risk. However, those with less than optimum blood results may die of Cardiovascular, Cancer or some other disease before Alzheimer’s sets in.
So the PET scan is used with other tests for cognitive performance to arrive at a diagnosis.

Who is at risk?

Genetics plays an important part, and so does diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements.
Here are some risk factors, in no particular order:

  • Age is the greatest risk factor. Dementia can affect about 10% of those over the age of 65, but 33% of those over 80
  • Gender – Women represent over 60% of Alzheimer’s patients, but part of this may be due to their longer lifespans
  • Gluten – Celiacs often have “Wheat Brain” causing disturbances, anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s. Many dementia patients recover fully on a gluten free diet
  • Prescription medications such as many sedatives, hypnotics, blood pressure, hay fever, insomnia, depression and arthritis medications are linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Anaesthetics are linked to Alzheimer’s. The more operations people have, the higher the risk
  • High Blood Pressure (systolic over 140 in mid-life) doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s and increases vascular dementia by 600%, but blood pressure medications can be just as bad, so reduce it naturally without medication
  • Sleep Apnea starves the brain of vital oxygen and increases risk of Alzheimer’s
  • B-12 deficiency increases Alzheimer’s risk. Gastric Bypass Surgery, Celiac disease, vegan/vegetarian diets, antacids (like Nexium) and many medications all reduce availability and/or absorption of B-12
  • Diabetes doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s (often called “Diabetes of the Brain” or “Type 3 Diabetes”)
  • Vision problems increase Alzheimer’s risk. Opthalmologists can detect abnormal widths of blood vessels in the retina which can indicate early Alzheimer’s
  • Tobacco – Smokers have double the risk for Alzheimer’s. Family and others breathing second-hand smoke also have higher risk
  • Living alone after a partner’s death means we have six times the risk of Alzheimer’s, and those who divorce and live alone have three times the risk.
  • Isolation is a significant risk factor for depression and dementia. Find a friend!
  • Obesity is a risk. The lower the BMI (Body Mass Index) the lower the risk. Obesity raises risk by around 75%
  • Family history increases the risk. See the Genetics section below, but environmental factors, diet and lifestyle choices can be passed on to children
  • Education improves outcome, and lack of education increases Alzheimer’s risk. Studies suggest higher education increases “cognitive reserve” which may offset dementia symptoms
  • Concussion or head trauma increases Alzheimer’s risk exponentially with the number and severity of head injuries
  • Quality sleep is essential for the ability of the body to repair itself by flushing toxins from the brain
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholic dementia and higher risk of Alzheimer’s as well as many other health risks
  • Mental activities improves the brain, physically and psychologically. Learn new things strengthens and develops new nerve cells
  • Sedentary lifestyles are a large risk for the brain as well as the body. Exercise is a must for the brain and the body
  • Chronic bladder disease increases risk
  • Chronic Candida infections increase risk

Overcoming risk factors:

  • Change the diet – see below
  • Get regular, uninterrupted sleep
  • Socialising, visiting friends, joining a group
  • Crosswords, puzzles, new experiences, learning a musical instrument or another language
  • Exercise helps control blood glucose levels, keeps excess weight down, increases oxygen and circulation, and joining a gym can also help with socialisation
  • Use the many supplements available

Genetics

There is a strong genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s, but also there is a strong contribution of environment, diet and lifestyle.
Rates of Alzheimer’s disease have increased much faster than any genetic changes could have occurred.
This means that much is under our control, because even with a genetic predisposition, we can reduce risk with epigenetic (non-genetic influences on gene expression) changes.
Example: The most important genetic risk factor is the ApoE epsilon 4 allele (ApoE4), and 14% to 18% of the population has this gene.
Everyone carries two copies of the APOE gene, which makes the protein ApoE (apolipoprotein E).
There are three different types (alleles) of the APOE gene: E2, E3 and E4, and because we all have two copies of the gene, the combination determines our APOE “genotype” which can be any combination of the 2 copies: E2/E2, E2/E3, E2/E4, E3/E3, E3/E4, or E4/E4.
The majority of people have two E3 alleles (E3/E3) so this is defined as the “average risk”.
The E2 allele is the least common form, and if we have two E2 alleles (E2/E2) or one E2 and one E3 (E2/E3) we have about 40% REDUCED risk of Alzheimer’s.
The E4 allele, present in 14% to 20% of the population, increases the risk for Alzheimer’s, especially late-onset Alzheimer’s, but this does NOT mean that we will get Alzheimer’s disease if we have one or two copies of E4, as about one third of Alzheimer’s patients do not have even a single E4.
All it means is that our risk is increased, also increased is the risk of potential Alzheimer’s at a younger age.
To quantify the risk:
If we have no copies of E4, we still have around 9% risk of Alzheimer’s.
If we have a single copy of E4, our risk increases to around 30%.
If we have two copies of E4, risk is between 50% to 90% but in all cases, we CAN REDUCE the risk.
Many people are horrified to learn that they have up to a 90% risk of Alzheimer’s, but they need not be.
With some dietary, lifestyle and supplement changes, those at greatest risk can easily fall into the 10% who do NOT get Alzheimer’s.

SAD (Standard American Diet)

Genetic statistics above apply only to average people, typically Caucasians living in the Western World and consuming a typical Western diet of processed food, sugar, MSG, hydrogenated oils, chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides and other toxic substances.
These statistics do NOT apply to those with a healthy diet of natural, organic food living in a low-toxin environment.
In fact, many people already down the cognitive decline have recovered on a healthy diet and sustained the improvement for several years, according to Dr Dale Bredesen who has been running a program for years now.
Dr Bredesen does not know how many more years it will be, but does know that patients on the program have removed the biochemical drivers which can be measured in blood tests, so so is very optimistic about their future health for many years to come.

Should we get genetic testing?

This is up to the individual. Some people would prefer not to know. Others want to know.
My father died from Alzheimer’s at about age 72 after many years in a Nursing Home, existing but without knowing who his family members were. So did my Grandmother on my Mother’s side, so I assume I may well have inherited a high genetic risk. I am now 73 as I revise this article. For me, testing is irrelevant, because I changed to a Paleo-style diet at age 63, which turned my life around.
From obese to lean, from grey hair to brown, from allergies to everything to allergies to nothing, from high blood pressure and triglycerides to normal, from poor physical strength to strong, fit and full of energy, from frequent headaches to none, from always getting sick to never getting sick.
If I had the genetic test and it was the worst result, I would only continue to do what I am doing now, using dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Have I halted Alzheimers? I hope so, but I often cannot remember some of the thousands of medical terms I have come across in my 10 years of research.  Come back here in 27 years as I approach 100 and I will let you know how I have done.

Amyloid Plaques vs Tangles

Amyloid is a protein, normally found throughout the body. In Alzheimer’s, this protein divides improperly, creating beta amyloid which is toxic to brain neurons.
Amyloid is actually antimicrobial and has benefits for the body, but some people, especially those with the E4/E4 alleles cannot naturally break down these plaques, but there are dietary methods which can.
Not all Alzheimer’s patients have beta Amyloid plaques. About 10% of patients have neurofibrillary tangles which cause similar symptoms, but are also inclined to have more aggressive behavior.

Three Kinds of Alzheimer’s

Humans liberate amyloid as a protective response in the body to three different fundamental metabolic and toxic perturbations:

  • Type 1: Characterized by systemic inflammation. Blood tests typically reveal high hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), low albumin:globulin ratio,
    and high cytokine levels such as interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization.
    Those at risk include people with chronic infections or inflammation from other causes, and the normal antimicrobial protective response liberates amyloids
  • Type 2: Characterized by normal inflammation, but an atrophic (wasting away) profile, with reduced support from estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and vitamin D, often with high homocysteine and insulin resistance. Imaging reveals temporoparietal reductions in glucose utilization. As NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) diminishes, amyloid production increases.
    Type 2 in particular can be CAUSED by LOW cholesterol, resulting in atrophy (brain shrinkage), reduced hormone production, poor health and eventually Alzheimer’s.
    All because we are taking statins that lower cholesterol, or we are not eating enough healthy fats.
    We prevent our cells from doing what they are supposed to do, so we end up with a shrunken brain without the lipid (fat) content we need. A fat-free diet means atrophy of the brain.
    See the Cholesterol Fraud and the Big Fat Lie sections below.
  • Type 3: Different from types 1 and 2. Still β-amyloid positive and phospho-tau positive), but a younger onset (late 40s to early 60s).
    Genotype ApoE is usually E3/E3 instead of E4/E4 or E3/E4 with little or no family history.
    Onset usually follows a period of stress, depression, sleep loss, anesthesia, or menopause/andropause.
    Memory loss is not a main symptom, instead there are cortical issues: dyscalculia (trouble with arithmetic), aphasia (trouble speaking or understanding speech – damage to the left side of the brain),
    executive dysfunction (emotional or behavioural problems from frontal lobe issues).
    Imaging studies often reveal extra-hippocampal disease, greater general cerebral atrophy and frontal-temporal-parietal abnormalities.
    Lab results often reveal hypozincemia (low zinc) and/or a high copper:zinc ratio, and can indictate adrenal fatigue
    (low pregnenolone, DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), and/or AM cortisol. Chronic infections like mycotoxins, Lyme, viral infections, HSV-1 (a herpes simplex virus) are all risk factors


Some patients have “Alzheimer’s type 1.5” where a combination of symptoms of both type 1 and 2 Alzheimer’s occurs.
Glycotoxicity (too much sugar in the brain) causes an insulin resistant brain. Combine this with AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products), and we have both inflammation from AGEs, plus atrophic withdrawal response because we are now resistant to insulin.
So we have a double condition of type 1 and type 2.

Type 3 patients often have MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic-Resistant Coagulase-Negative Staph), a colonisation of antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus in the nasal cavity.
Also high blood levels of TGF-beta-1 (Transforming Growth Factor beta-1), high C4A (a protein that in humans is encoded by the C4A gene), and low MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone) is very common, typically with HLA-DR/DQ haplotypes shown by Dr Ritchie Shoemaker to be associated with CIRS.

Alzheimer’s from nose infections?

We have known for years that our healthy gut bacteria is essential to prevent almost every disease, and now research is looking at the rhinosinal microbiome, the healthy bacteria in our nose.
This is now becoming known as Inhalational Alzheimer’s.
The nose is the most direct route to the brain, and bad bacteria in the mucous lining of the airways can damage the brain.
Pathologists now believe there are unknown pathogens in the rhinencephalon, the “nose-smell” (olfacation) system.
Many Alzheimer’s patients start losing their sense of smell as one of the early signs of the disease, and this is probably why.
I am confident that my nasal bacteria is back to normal after having very bad allergies and taking antihistamines from when I was about 16 to when I was 63.
Allergies stopped when the bad diet stopped.

Dr. Susan Lynch at UCSF has found that the nose problem is not so much an unknown pathogen, but a lack of microbial diversity.
Beneficial microorganisms in the nose protect against many pathogens, and one of the best seems to be Lactobacillus sakei, used to make sake and kimchi.
This could explain why Japanese people have comparatively low rates of Alzheimer’s, although rates are rising in Japan because of the Western influence, with meat and dairy replacing rice as a staple food.
When Japanese people migrate to Western countries and adopt a Western diet, they have the same risk as anyone else.
So for the Japanese, it is not a genetic problem, but a diet problem, and this applies to everyone.

AGEs – Advanced Glycation End products

AGEs are formed when food cooked at high temperatures (over 120 degrees C) combines with sugar. AGEs are very damaging to the body, accelerating the ageing process and chronic disease.
AGEs worsen diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease and stroke.
AGEs cause glycation of LDL cholesterol, promoting oxidation, and oxidized LDL is a major factor in atherosclerosis.
AGEs form photosensitizers in the eye lens, leading to cataract development.

To reduce AGEs, never cook at high temperatures (steaming is best, always at 100 degrees C), eat plenty of raw food (salads, and small amounts of fruit), and eliminate all sugar and processed foods.

Conventional Drugs

Drug companies have been trying for years to get rid of Amyloid plaques, thinking they are the cause of Alzheimer’s.
However, the body needs amyloid to protect the brain, so we need to look at what is causing the plaques instead of trying to get rid of them. Latest research shows that Amyloid plaques are antimicrobial, so can be both damaging and protecting!

 

Alzheimer’s – “Diabetes Type 3”

Some researchers are now labeling Alzheimer’s as “Diabetes Type 3” because sugar causes Alzheimer’s.
Sugar also causes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and many more diseases, mainly due to processed foods.
As with diabetes, where sugar causes insulin resistance, we have insulin resistance in the brain, causing degeneration.
When the brain becomes insulin resistant, it means that glucose cannot enter the brain cells, so those cells die.
However, all is not lost. If we switch to a Ketonegic diet, we can feed our brain with fat instead of sugar. More on this diet below.

Diagnosing the type of Alzheimer’s

Unlike cancer, where we can biopsy a tumour, we must look at historical, biochemical, genetic, imaging, and function information to determine the type of Alzheimer’s.
Of course this rarely happens except in research applications. The doctor simply says the patient has Alzheimer’s and may give a drug which in the long term will not make much difference.
This is a shame, because about half of all cases can be halted, and in some cases substantially improved, by reverting to the correct diet.
Even better would be to eat a correct diet from birth, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s to near zero, as well as preventing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other modern diseases.

Exercise

Physical exercise is extremely important to keep the brain and body healthy.
Researchers are not sure why, but LeanMachine says it is obvious:
Exercise burns off the high glucose levels that cause “Diabetes of the Brain” and exercise boosts oxygen levels and circulation in the brain.
Any type of exercise is beneficial, such as:

  • Walking, jogging or running
  • Calisthenics
  • Squats
  • Push-ups, chin-ups
  • Skipping
  • Gardening

Exercises have the added benefit of socialisation in a group, such as:

  • Join a gym
  • Tai-Chi or Yoga classes
  • Athletics clubs
  • Dancing classes

Exercising the Brain

The body has a disturbing property: Anything not used for a while gets broken down to be used somewhere else.
If we do not use a muscle for a week, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise regularly, we stop muscles wasting, and we actually build up our muscles.
If we do not use parts of the brain, the body starts breaking it down.
But if we exercise our brain, we can hang on to the parts we use, and develop new pathways to replace parts we have lost. Exercises such as:

  • Learning a new language
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Crossword or other puzzles
  • Socialising in groups or clubs

Meditation

Meditation is not normally seen as exercise for the brain, but sitting in a quiet, dark room away from all daily distractions not only promotes a calming effect, but increases various brain-saving hormones.
Meditation, like dreaming, helps the brain sort out the junk memories and recent problems by concentrating on things that have made us feel good in the past.
We may have pleasant memories like sitting on a sandy beach listening to the waves rolling in on a beautiful sunny day. By concentrating on peaceful and pleasant memories, we forget problems with out hectic daily life.

Supplements

The modern diet is lacking in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients, mainly because of:

  • Over-farming – growing the same food in the same ground year after year, depleting these vital elements
  • Over-processing – hydrogenation, adding sugar, adding chemicals, overheating
  • Toxins from farming chemicals contaminates the environment
  • Water is contaminated by fluoride and chlorine

The supplements everyone over 50 should take are:
Organic Coconut Oil, taken several times a day, a tablespoon at a time.
LeanMachine considers this one of the best prevention and treatment methods available for Alzheimer’s.
This encourages the body to burn healthy fats instead of sugar, called the Ketogenic Diet which burns ketones, which is what our ancestors did in their natural low-carb diets. See the Ketogenic Diet below.
Coconut oil appears to break down the amyloid plaque buildup in the brain. Perhaps the plaques are no longer required when the brain is fed by healthy fats instead of glucose.
Coconut oil is also the absolute best for cooking, replacing any other fat, because coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures, and is full of MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which go straight to the liver to be burned as fuel, and cannot be stored as fat in the body.
Coconut oil also contains Lauric Acid, which keeps our skin wrinkle-free and healthy.

PS (Phosphatidylserene) is a component of the cerebral cortex’s neuronal membrane, and can improve memory and mood, reduce stress, improve learning and more.
It does this by controlling input and production of choline, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine and glucose.

NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) which helps the body make Glutathione, the body’s natural “Master Antioxidant” that fights cancer, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which has been used for thousands of years for dementia, cancer and many other conditions.

Vitamin B-12 because as we age, our stomach acid levels drop, preventing the high-acid conditions required for B-12 absorption from food. Even more essential for vegans and vegetarians as B-12 mainly comes from animal products.

B-group vitamins because these are vitally important for nerves and brain health.

ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid) as an antioxidant to help remove heavy metals from the brain, reduce inflammation, and improve the effectiveness of votamins C and E.

Vitamin D3 because over half the ageing population are taking statin medication (which they should NOT) and statins halt production of 7-dehydrocholesterol, the first step in the manufacture of vitamin D3. Worse, many of these seniors are in Aged Care facilities and never see the light of day, so cannot make vitamin D3 from sunlight. If they are ever taken outside, it is only early morning or late afternoon when they cannot get vitamin D3 anyway. More info in my Vitamin D3 article.

Ginkgo Biloba is highly recommended to improve blood flow in the brain. Should not be used in conjunction with prescription blood thinners.

TMG (Trimethylglycine) is an effective methyl donor for the facilitation of methylation processes. Supports a healthy homocysteine level, which in turn supports healthy cardiovascular function and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Homocysteine, a damaging amino acid, with the aid of TMG, is turned into methionine, a safe and beneficial amino acid. Methylation is essential for DNA repair and production of SAMe, which helps joints, lifts mood, fights depression and protects brain cells from amyloid plaques. Read more in my TMG article.

SAMe (S-Adenosyl Methionine) can help protect the brain and also help treat depression, anger, anxiety which are common symptoms in some Alzheimer’s patients.

Vinpocetine has shown mixed results but mostly beneficial in limited human trials using 10mg 3 times daily.

Vitamin E is recommended to improve the healthy fats in the brain and increase antioxidants.

Benfotiamine with Leucine can help remove glucose and improve insulin resistance.

Many other supplements can help, including:

In addition, many supplements primarily used to treat diabetes will also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

The Cholesterol Fraud

Previous research indicated that high cholesterol was a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
Again, this was wrong. Doctors started prescribing statin drugs for those people with high cholesterol, or those with signs of dementia with normal cholesterol.
What happened? They got Alzheimer’s WORSE and got it FASTER than patients who did NOT take statins.
Researchers only looked at total cholesterol which is a complete waste of time.

25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the brain, mainly in the myelin sheath.
Around 60% of our brain is fat, mainly in the form of cholesterol.
The myelin sheath (oligodendroglia) that surrounds and protects our neurons are 70% cholesterol, 30% protein.
Starve the brain of healthy fat, and we get Alzheimer’s. Almost guaranteed.
Reduce cholesterol and what happens? The protective myelin sheaths break down as they are starved of cholesterol, allowing the brain cells to be damaged. Damage them enough, and they die. Then we have dementia. Damage enough cells, and the brain can no longer support our basic functions, like breathing. Then we die.
This is why statin drugs are BAD.
Sure, in some cases, they can slightly reduce risk of heart attacks, but they INCREASE death from all other causes, including Alzheimer’s.
The net result is that on average, we will not live a day longer on statin medication.
Statins will give us lousy final years with muscle breakdown, osteoporosis, more sickness and dementia.
We need plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, walnuts, avocados, fish, eggs, butter from grass-fed cows, unheated olive oil.
We must NOT consume bad fats: Canola oil, margarine, anything hydrogenated, anything heated over 120 degrees C.
Cholesterol is NOT the enemy.
We NEED cholesterol, especially HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol which reduces inflammation, and helps clean up the body (like a garbage collector). Without HDL Cholesterol, we die within 24 hours.
We also need LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), still incorrectly called “bad” cholesterol, as we die without it.
LDL has antimicrobial effects, so the idea that we should drive it down to zero is ludicrous. LDL is essential to transport nutrients around the body (and into the brain) as well as helping the body manufacture hormones and other important products. LDL was essential for our evolutionary ancestors millions of years ago, and we still need it.
The brain is mostly fat, and 40% of the brain is CHOLESTEROL.
Many things that were protective in our native environment are problems in our modern environment, but if we go back to our ancestral diet, problems are resolved.
Studies show time after time that people with low cholesterol die young, while people with normal to high cholesterol live longest.
These studies are ignored by the big drug companies. Because statin sales make them billions of dollars, of course they continue the Big Cholesterol Lie, one of the biggest frauds in medical history. Their own study showed increased deaths and terrible side effects so they stopped the study short at that time, supposedly to “save patient’s lives” when the opposite was true.

The dangerous cholesterol is VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which cannot easily be tested.
Because triglycerides contain some VLDL, labs estimate VLDL value by simply taking a percentage of triglycerides.
High triglycerides are much more of a danger signal than high cholesterol, and are almost always related to obesity, poor diet of processed foods, especially dangerous fats.

The Big Fat Lie

We have been told for decades that fat is bad for us.
Forget about “low fat” or “fat free” diets.
Another big fat lie, coming from a scientist who plucked figures out of a study to suit an argument he was proposing.
When the data was analysed completely, many decades later, it showed the complete opposite.
The largest and longest study in the world was the Framingham study which showed that those who ate the most fat lived longer than those who ate the least.
Fat is not unhealthy in general, in fact it is essential for health.
The UNHEALTHY fats are man-made artificial fats (margarine, Canola oil) and other processed fats that are hydrogenated to improve shelf life and heated to extremes during manufacture, often going rancid in the process, causing oxidised VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), the REAL dangerous “food”.
What is REALLY bad is carbohydrates, and when manufacturers remove fats from food, they replace them with carbohydrates, causing most “modern” diseases including Alzheimer’s and Diabetes.

The Ketogenic Diet

For the first two million years of human life on Earth, carbohydrate consumption was very low.
Carbohydrates were uncommon, with the majority of food being nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, fruit and vegetables. Meat was eaten very rarely when an animal was killed.
These people did not burn carbohydrates for energy, they burned FAT. In particular, ketones, the basis of the ketogenic diet.
A ketogenic diet means maintaining a fasting state of ketosis. Ketones are produced when the body is in a state of ketosis.
Ketones fuel cells using a different pathway from glucose.
Glucose has to have insulin to allow glucose into cells, but as we all should know, our typical modern diet is loaded with carbohydrates, forcing the pancreas into overdrive making enough insulin.
Eventually our cells become insulin resistant, so the pancreas produces even more insulin to force glucose into the cells, creating even more insulin resistance.
We are now a full-blown diabetic, and when the pancreas starts shutting down, we need insulin injections for the rest of our life.
However, when we feed the cells with ketones, they simply enter the cell naturally, and do NOT require insulin or anything else to do so.
This is critically important for five of our modern diseases: Obesity, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s, all caused or aggravated by high blood glucose, bad fats and inflammation.
Ketones are also signaling molecules as well.

Benefits of the ketogenic diet include:

  • Helps the body express new restorative and healing genes
  • Reduces inflammation (underlying cause of nearly every disease)
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Aids weight loss
  • Stops or slows degenerative disease
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Obesity

The Anti-Alzheimer’s diet

Spices

Add these spices to every meal possible.
Of course they will spice up any meal, but also help clear the brain of problems and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and many more modern illnesses.

  • Sage – one of the best brain-saving spices
  • Cloves – one of the most potent antioxidants
  • Curry – a blend of other great spices
  • Ginger – reduces inflammation and improves immunity
  • Turmeric – for colour, flavour and Curcumin
  • Ceylon Cinnamon – Better and safer than regular cinnamon

Ketogenic Diet – Healthy fats, intermittent fasting.
Read How Cyclical Ketosis can help combat Chronic Fatigue

Avoid Trans Fats
Read Trans Fats Linked to Increased Risk for Alzheimers

Avoid Processed Foods
Only shop in the greengrocer department at the Supermarket, preferably the organic section. Buy or grow your own real food. Nothing in a bag, box, tin because toxic ingredients are sure to be added.

Avoid AGEs
Forget fried foods. Steaming is the best way to cook. Never Microwave. Eat raw salads daily.


This section often updated. Please come back soon (if you remember!)

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 20th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!

Testing

Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
  • Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
  • CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
  • The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia

Treatment

Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:

Therapeutic options

  • Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
  • Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability

Diet

  • Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
  • Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores

Things to avoid

Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:

  • Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
    Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
  • MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
  • Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
  • Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference

Prescription Medications increase risk

Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.

  • Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
  • Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
    Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
  • Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
  • Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
  • Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia

Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
  • Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
  • Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
  • Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
  • Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
  • Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
  • Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
  • DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
  • Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
  • Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
  • Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
  • Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
  • Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
  • Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
  • Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
  • Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
  • Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
  • Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
  • Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
  • Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
  • Triamcinolone – fluoride
  • Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
  • Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride

An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.

Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.

Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.

Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.

If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.

Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Vigorous Exercise Leads to Lower Mortality for Women


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/01/10/vigorous-exercise-benefits.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
January 10, 2020

health benefits of vigorous exercise

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Heart disease and cancer are the two top reasons people die in the U.S.; data show women who can exercise vigorously have a reduced risk of mortality from heart disease, cancer and other causes
  • Women who have high cardiovascular fitness also enjoy a reduced risk of dementia, which may be related to higher levels of a protein responsible for improving mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Combining intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet plan may boost the health benefits and improve mitochondrial health. This includes not eating within three hours of going to bed to reduce free radical damage
  • Lack of exercise is globally responsible for nearly 5 million deaths each year; the more you move and exercise the lower the potential rate of death. Aim to sit as little as possible during the day

Heart disease and cancer are the top two reasons people die in the U.S. The term heart disease is used to identify several types of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and heart attack. While many think of this as a man’s disease, the CDC1 reports almost as many women will die each year from it.

The most common type, coronary heart disease, affects 6.2% of women 20 and older. Many women report having no symptoms before experiencing a heart attack, but others may have symptoms of angina, nausea or fatigue. Diabetesobesity, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are all lifestyle choices that increase your risk for heart disease.

Each of these same factors increase your risk of cancer. Some of the types of cancer that more frequently affect women include breast, cervical, lung, colorectal and skin.2 Most cancers strike women after menopause, but gynecological cancers may happen at any time.

Every year 90,000 women are diagnosed with one form of gynecological cancer and 242,000 with breast cancer. The signs of gynecological cancers may be vague and mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as unexplained weight loss, constant fatigue, loss of appetite or feeling full, pain in the pelvis or a change in bowel habits.

Fitness Protects Women Against Risk of Premature Death

New data recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology3 strongly suggest that women who can exercise vigorously experience a significantly lower risk of mortality from heart disease, cancer and other causes. Although there have been multiple studies using male participants or mixed groups, the researchers proposed that information specific to women was scarce.

The study used data from 4,714 adult females who had undergone echocardiograms for known or suspected coronary artery disease. Treadmill stress tests were used with increasing intensity to measure fitness, which the researchers defined as a maximum workload of 10 metabolic equivalents (METs).

Women who were able to achieve 10 METs or more were compared to those who achieved less. A measurement of 10 METs is equivalent to walking up four flights of stairs fast without stopping or going up three flights quickly.

The researchers followed the participants for a median 4.6 years and found there were 345 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 164 from cancer and 203 from other causes. After adjusting for influencing factors, the findings revealed that women in the higher MET group had a lower risk of death from all measured causes.

By comparison, women in the lower fitness group experienced an annual rate of death nearly four times higher and the annual cancer death rate doubled. One researcher, Dr. Jesus Peteiro, noted the average age of participants was 64 years and 80% were from 50 to 75 years. He went on to comment:4

“Good exercise capacity predicted lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes. Looking at both examinations together, women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event.

But if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes. The best situation is to have normal heart performance during exercise and good exercise capacity.”

The women underwent imaging of their heart during the treadmill test to assess function. Those with poor function during the test were more likely to succumb to cardiovascular disease during the follow-up period, but it was not predictive of death from other causes.5 Peteiro said: “The results were the same for women over 60 and less than 60, although the group under 50 was small.”

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Cardiovascular Fitness Also Reduces Risk of Dementia

Staying fit is key to reducing your potential risk for many chronic diseases, including those affecting the central nervous system. Across the world there are 47 million who are living with dementia, and this is expected to increase to 75 million by 2030. You may be able to significantly slash this risk by taking simple steps to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

A study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden showed women with the highest cardiovascular fitness had an 88% reduced risk of dementia as compared to those with moderate fitness. Even maintaining some fitness proved to have benefit as those with the lowest level experienced a 41% greater risk of dementia than those with average fitness.

The researchers did not assess how much exercise the participants engaged in but used an ergometer cycling test during which additional resistance was added as the women continued to cycle until they were exhausted. The authors wrote:

“These results suggest that cardiovascular fitness is associated with the sparing of brain tissue in aging humans. Furthermore, these results suggest a strong biological basis for the role of aerobic fitness in maintaining and enhancing central nervous system health and cognitive functioning in older adults.”

A second way fitness may protect neurological health is by increasing levels of PGC-1alpha responsible for improving mitochondrial biogenesis. Data reveal that those with Alzheimer’s have less PGC-1alpha in their brain. Cells containing more produce less of the toxic amyloid protein associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were enrolled in a four-month supervised exercise program. The results demonstrated they had fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms from the disease than the control group who did not exercise.

A progressive walking program in those with early Alzheimer’s disease led to improvements in cardiovascular fitness and functional ability. This in turn led to improved memory and increases in the size of the brain’s hippocampus.

Mitochondrial Function Linked to Reducing Risk of Disease

Your mitochondria are minute powerhouses in your cells producing a majority of the energy your body generates, as well as coordinating apoptosis, or programmed cell death, important in the prevention of malfunctioning cells that may turn into cancer.

Your brain is the most energy-dependent organ and therefore is particularly susceptible to impaired energy production. This process may then make the brain more susceptible to age-related disease.

As you age, the genes controlling mitochondrial energy generation may be turned down, and mitochondria are noted to be less dense and more fragmented. With insufficient energy and dysfunctional mitochondria, defective cells can survive and multiply.

There are several ways your mitochondria may be damaged, but much of it may result from superoxide free radicals. Although the production of superoxide is part of a normal process, when produced at higher than normal levels it damages the DNA in your mitochondria. This damage increases when you are not metabolically flexible.

That means you burn a higher percentage of carbohydrates for fuel than you do fat. The process of burning carbs leaks more electrons that combine with oxygen to form superoxide. High-carbohydrate processed foods prevent you from burning fat efficiently, which produces less oxidative stress than carbs. Your nutrition is also foundational to protecting your mitochondrial health.

Combining Nutritional Plan With Fitness Boosts Benefits

When you combine a strong nutritional plan to boost metabolic flexibility with cardiovascular fitness you build on the health benefits of both. For many years the standard dietary recommendations were three square meals a day with small snacks in between.

The most obvious risk of this eating plan is the potential of overeating. But, the less obvious risk is metabolic dysfunction, raising your risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia.

For a number of years, I have strongly advised against eating within three hours of going to bed. The authors of one study found that eating an early dinner, or skipping it entirely, changes the way the body metabolizes fat and carbohydrates. This improves fat burning and reduces hunger. The key in the study was eating the last meal of the day by the middle of the afternoon.

The only changes made to the participants’ meals was timing. The total number and types of calories remained the same. Results showed the participants were less hungry and experienced increased fat burning during the evening hours, along with improved metabolic flexibility. It appears that late night eating will boost free radical damage, negatively impacting mitochondrial function.

By taking advantage of your circadian rhythm you optimize your metabolism. During sleep your body requires less energy. Thus, if you eat right before bed, mitochondria produce excessive amounts of free radicals. In one study of 1,800 people with prostate and breast cancer, researchers found that meal timing reduced the risk of cancer.

They also found that those who awakened early had a higher risk of cancer when they ate dinner late in the evening compared to those who were more energetic at night. A very effective option is to combine intermittent fasting, extend the amount of time you go without food and follow a ketogenic diet.

Fasting upregulates autophagy and mitochondrial health, activating stem cells and stimulating mitochondrial biosynthesis. What many don’t realize is that many of these benefits happen during the refeeding phase, making what you eat foods that are essential to your optimal health.

In one study participants lost 3% of their body weight while practicing time restricted eating even though they didn’t change their nutritional choices. While they lost weight, they did not improve important disease parameters, including visceral fat, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting glucose or fasting insulin.

When intermittent fasting is combined with a ketogenic diet it provides many of the same benefits of fasting, in addition to improvements in health such as increased muscle mass, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, reduced risk of cancer and increased longevity.

Lack of Exercise May Be Worse Than Smoking

Exercise and nutrition are two of the best preventive strategies against many common health conditions. In one study scientists found that the lack of physical activity came with a global price tag of $67.5 billion in 2013 and that it causes more than 5 million deaths each year, while smoking kills 6 million.

Another group of researchers analyzed data on more than 120,000 people and found that cardiovascular fitness had a greater impact on risk of death than smoking, diabetes or heart disease. However, as important as cardiovascular fitness is, you’ll find you can’t out-exercise the number of hours you sit down.

The average U.S. adult will sit nine to 12 hours each day. While sitting is not inherently dangerous, the cumulative effects on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system can seriously impact your health and shorten your life.

In a four-year evaluation of 8,000 Americans over the age of 45, researchers found that those who moved more were healthier. There was also a correlation between death rate and the number of hours the participants spent sitting each day. The bare minimum of movement is 10 minutes for every hour of sitting. However, it is wiser to strive to sit as little as possible.

Sitting correctly requires greater muscle activation and will reduce your potential risk of lower back pain and strain. For specific instructions on how to sit right and for a list of some of the negative side effects of sitting for long periods, see “The Importance of Standing More, Sitting Less.”

Sources and References

Glutathione and NAC Play Crucial Roles in Health and Fitness


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/30/glutathione-nac-for-health-and-fitness.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
glutathione nac for health and fitness

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body. Sulfur-containing amino acids increase your levels of glutathione and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which play important roles in health and fitness
  • Glutathione metabolism influences the control of epigenetic mechanisms at several levels, including substrate availability, enzymatic activity for DNA methylation and the expression of microRNAs
  • NAC supplementation may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular problems in older people by lowering oxidative stress and improving mitochondrial function
  • Glutathione deficiency can induce epigenetic changes in genes that regulate vitamin D metabolism in the liver, and research suggests glutathione supplementation could help reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency in obese individuals
  • Glutathione and NAC also ameliorate exercise-induced stress and reduce muscle fatigue. Glutathione may also play a central role in chronic fatigue syndrome

As explained in “The Health Benefits of MSM,” sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body and plays important roles in a variety of bodily processes, including metabolism and detoxification, and for maintaining the proper shape and structure of proteins and enzymes.

Sulfur-containing amino acids increase your levels of glutathione and N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and these two play important roles in health and fitness.

Glutathione Basics

Glutathione comprises three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate and glycine. It’s commonly referred to as “the master antioxidant,” as it is your body’s most powerful antioxidant, and is found inside every cell in your body.

Antioxidants combat free radicals — highly reactive particles that bounce around the cell, damaging everything they touch. Most originate during the process of metabolism but they can also arise during exercise, and from exposure to toxins, irradiation and toxic metals.

Because free radicals are so destructive, cells have a network of defenses designed to neutralize them. This antioxidant network is composed of numerous components that include vitamins, minerals and special chemicals called thiols (glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid).

Glutathione differs from other antioxidants in that it is intracellular, and has the unique ability of maximizing the activity of all the other antioxidants, including (but not limited to) vitamins C and E, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid. It also removes toxins from your cells and protects you from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals and environmental pollutants.

NAC Basics

NAC is a precursor to and rate-limiting nutrient for the formation of glutathione.1 Glutathione is poorly absorbed so, in many cases, it’s easier to raise your glutathione by taking NAC instead.

In emergency medicine, NAC is used as an antidote for acetaminophen toxicity resulting from an overdose.2 Mortality due to acetaminophen toxicity has been shown to be virtually eliminated when NAC is promptly administered.

It is believed the liver damage acetaminophen causes is largely due to the fact that it can deplete glutathione, which is secreted by your liver in response to toxic exposure.

On a side note, NAC supplementation can also help “pre-tox” your body when taken before alcohol, thereby minimizing the damage associated with alcohol consumption — a tidbit that may be useful to know in light of approaching New Year’s celebrations.

Taking NAC (at least 200 milligrams) 30 minutes before you drink can help lessen the alcohol’s toxic effects. Vitamin B6 may also help to lessen hangover symptoms.

While the most common use of NAC is for liver support, it’s also showing promise as a neuroprotectant.3 Scientists are currently investigating it as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which has been linked to glutathione deficiency in the substantia nigra, a region that houses dopamine neurons.4

Research looking at autopsied brains suggests Parkinson’s patients have barely detectable levels of glutathione in this brain region. Subsequent studies have found glutathione deficiency in the substantia nigra is common in a number of other neurodegenerative conditions as well, including Alzheimer’s disease.5

Another area where NAC shows particular promise is in the treatment of mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder,6 depression7 and substance use disorders.8 Dozens of additional health benefits are also reviewed in a November 29, 2019, SelfHacked article.9

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Glutathione Helps Regulate Epigenetic Disease Mechanisms

One factor that can help explain the wide-ranging benefits of NAC and glutathione is glutathione’s role in the regulation of epigenetic disease mechanisms.10 As noted in a November 2017 paper in Free Radical Biology and Medicine:11

“Epigenetics is a rapidly growing field that studies gene expression modifications not involving changes in the DNA sequence.

Histone H3, one of the basic proteins in the nucleosomes that make up chromatin, is S-glutathionylated in mammalian cells and tissues, making Gamma-L-glutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine, glutathione (GSH), a physiological antioxidant and second messenger in cells, a new post-translational modifier of the histone code that alters the structure of the nucleosome.

However, the role of GSH in the epigenetic mechanisms likely goes beyond a mere structural function. Evidence supports the hypothesis that there is a link between GSH metabolism and the control of epigenetic mechanisms at different levels (i.e., substrate availability, enzymatic activity for DNA methylation, changes in the expression of microRNAs, and participation in the histone code).”

The following graphic12 illustrates how glutathione influences pathological changes in gene expression.

glutathione influences pathological changes in gene expression

NAC Improves Cardiovascular and Mitochondrial Function

According to a 2018 study,13 NAC supplementation may be useful for the prevention of cardiovascular problems in older people. As you might expect, oxidative stress can over time induce metabolic and functional changes that speed cardiovascular aging and dysfunction, and your glutathione levels declines with age, putting you at greater risk.

In this study, aging mice received either NAC or a combination of NAC and glycine. After seven weeks, their cardiac function was assessed, showing those receiving NAC plus glycine had improved several parameters of their cardiovascular function, including:

  • Improved diastolic function
  • Increased peak early filling velocity
  • Reduced relaxation time
  • Reduced left atrial volume
  • Reduced left ventricle end diastolic pressure

NAC alone did not impart these cardiovascular benefits, although both groups had decreased levels of inflammatory mediators. The NAC and glycine combination also improved mitochondrial function and upregulated mitochondrial genes in the heart that are normally downregulated with age.

According to the authors, “Our data indicate that NAC+Gly supplementation can improve diastolic function in the old mouse and may have potential to prevent important morbidities for older people.”

Glutathione Deficiency Lowers Vitamin D Levels in the Obese

Other recent research14 published in Scientific Reports shows that glutathione deficiency can induce epigenetic changes in genes that regulate vitamin D metabolism in the liver. Emerging evidence also suggests glutathione metabolism plays a role in the epigenetic regulation of oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions, the authors note.

According to this paper,15 obesity has been correlated with low levels of glutathione and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 — especially in Type 2 diabetics and the obese16 — and when obese mice were fed a glutathione-deficient diet, it downregulated vitamin D metabolism genes and vitamin D receptors in the liver. As a result, oxidative stress increased.

According to the authors, their findings suggest glutathione supplementation could help reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency in obese individuals. Supplementation with L-cysteine, a rate-limiting precursor to glutathione, has also been shown to increase vitamin D levels and reduce oxidative stress, the paper notes, which supports the link between glutathione and vitamin D.

Glutathione and NAC Ameliorate Exercise-Induced Stress

As mentioned earlier, exercise is one of the ways through which free radical production increases and, with it, oxidative stress. Provided you get enough rest between bouts, this oxidative stress is actually part of what makes exercise so beneficial.

That said, as noted in a 2005 paper,17 “Effective regulation of the cellular balance between oxidation and antioxidation is important when considering cellular function and DNA integrity as well as the signal transduction of gene expression.” In other words, excessive exercise can cause more harm than good. As explained by the authors:18

Exercise enthusiasts and researchers have become interested in recent years to identify any means to help minimize the detrimental effects of oxidative stress that are commonly associated with intense and unaccustomed exercise. It is possible that a decrease in the amount of oxidative stress a cell is exposed to could increase health and performance …

To protect against the deleterious effects of ROS [reactive oxygen species], our bodies have a complex system of endogenous antioxidant protection in the form of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Under normal, resting conditions reactive oxygen species are removed from the cell preventing any subsequent damage.

However, under more extreme conditions such as: 1) inadequate intake of foodstuffs containing the antioxidants, 2) excessive intake of pro-oxidants, 3) exposure to noxious chemicals or ultraviolet light, 4) injury/wounds, and/or 5) intense exercise, especially eccentric exercise, the body’s endogenous antioxidant system is not able to effectively remove excessive ROS production.

In situations such as the ones listed above in which the production of pro-oxidant molecules increase to a point where the antioxidant system cannot effectively remove them is when oxidative stress is known to occur.

Oxidative stress has been implicated in a number of diseases which include atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and aging. Research on oxidative stress during exercise has begun to indicate that regular training enhances the ability of these mechanisms to effective respond to the increase of oxidative product.”

Exercise Boosts Your Glutathione Level

The 2005 paper above goes on to explain how exercise affects your glutathione level, and thus your health, fitness and risk of disease. In short, when you engage in intense exercise, your blood level of glutathione significantly decreases while circulating levels of oxidized glutathione increases, indicating that it’s been used inside the muscle to quench free radicals produced during the exertion.19

Considering the importance of glutathione to counteract free radicals, effective regulation of glutathione levels when exercising is a significant concern. The good news is that the more you exercise, the higher your base levels of glutathione get.

This adaptation allows your body to effectively deal with the increase in free radicals that the exercise brings about. While exercise itself will boost your glutathione level over time, raising glutathione through supplementation is an oft-used strategy among athletes.

As mentioned, glutathione supplementation is ineffective due to its poor absorption, so NAC is generally considered a much better choice. According to the authors of the 2005 paper cited above:20

“In addition to the role glutathione and other thiols have on maintaining the cellular redox state, many studies have begun to explore if NAC supplementation can actually improve performance due to its ability to promote a more favorable cellular environment to achieve higher levels of performance …

One of the first studies to utilize NAC to determine its role in improving muscle performance was conducted by Reid and colleagues. They pretreated subjects with n-acetyl-cysteine infusion (150 mg/kg) or a 5% dextrose placebo while undergoing an extended fatiguing bout of electrical stimulation of the ankle dorsiflexors.

N-acetyl-cysteine was found to have no impact over the nonfatigued muscle, but a significantly increased force output of approximately 15% was found after 3 minutes of repetitive contractions which persisted throughout the 30-minute protocol. The authors concluded that NAC resulted in improved performance suggestive of oxidative stress having a causal role in the fatigue process.”

Other studies have also confirmed that NAC supplementation helps delay muscle fatigue during exercise, thereby improving endurance. In one study,21 NAC infusion increased the time to exhaustion by 26.3%.

NAC’s ability to reduce fatigue and improve cellular redox (oxidation reduction) also hints at its potential benefit for those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

The Glutathione Depletion Theory of CFS

As explained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME, is characterized by “overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest.”22 The fatigue is frequently such that it challenges your ability to perform even the most common of daily life tasks, such as showering or preparing a meal.

The role of glutathione in this condition is addressed in “A Simple Explanation of the Glutathione/Methylation Depletion Theory of ME/CFS”23 by the late Rich Van Konynenburg, Ph.D., developer of the methylation protocol used by many in the CFS community.24,25

According to Van Konynenburg, oxidative stress “is probably the best-proven biochemical aspect of chronic fatigue syndrome,” and in order for your oxidative stress to overwhelm your system, something must be placing excessive demands on your glutathione supply.

Several examples were already listed above, such as inadequate antioxidant and/or excessive pro-oxidant intake, toxic exposures and physical injuries. Long-term emotional stress can also be a factor. As noted in Van Konynenburg’s article:

“All people experience a variety of stressors all the time, and a healthy person’s body is able to keep up with the demands for glutathione by recycling used glutathione molecules and by making new ones as needed.

However, if a person’s body cannot keep up, either because of extra-high demands or inherited genetic polymorphisms that interfere with recycling or making glutathione, or both, the levels of glutathione in the cells can go too low …

One of the jobs that glutathione normally does is to protect your supply of vitamin B12 from reacting with toxins … When your glutathione level goes too low, your B12 becomes naked and vulnerable, and is hijacked by toxins.

Also, the levels of toxins rise in the body when there isn’t enough glutathione to take them out, so there are two unfortunate things that work together to sabotage your B12 when glutathione goes too low.”

The B12-Glutathione Connection

Vitamin B12 helps your body convert food into glucose for energy, and fatigue is one of the symptoms of low B12 levels.26 Interestingly, many with CFS have elevated B12 levels. Their bodies simply cannot use it properly, and one potential culprit is low glutathione.

“The best test to reveal this is a urine organic acids test that includes methylmalonic acid. It will be high if the B12 is being sidetracked, and this is commonly seen in people with CFS,” Van Konynenburg states, adding:27

“The most important job that B12 has in the body is to form methylcobalamin, which is one of the two active forms of B12. This form is needed by the enzyme methionine synthase, to do its job. An enzyme is a substance that catalyzes, or encourages, a certain biochemical reaction.

When there isn’t enough methylcobalamin, methionine synthase has to slow down its reaction. Its reaction lies at the junction of the methylation cycle and the folate cycle, so when this reaction slows down, it affects both these cycles …

The methylation cycle has some important jobs to do. First, it acts as a little factory to supply methyl (CH3) groups to a large number of reactions in the body. Some of these reactions make things like creatine, carnitine, coenzyme Q10, phosphatidylcholine, melatonin, and lots of other important substances for the body.

It is not a coincidence that these substances are found to be low in CFS … Not enough of them is being made because of the partial block in the methylation cycle.

The methylation cycle also supplies methyl groups to be attached to DNA molecules, and this helps to determine whether the blueprints in the DNA will be used to make certain proteins according to their patterns.

The ‘reading’ of DNA is referred to as ‘gene expression.’ Methyl groups prevent or ‘silence’ gene expression. Overexpression of genes has been observed in CFS patients, and I suspect this is at least partly due to lack of sufficient methylation to silence gene expression.”

The Basic Biochemical Mechanism of CFS

The methylation cycle also regulates your body’s use of sulfur, and the production of sulfur-containing substances, including glutathione. CFS patients often have abnormal levels of sulfur metabolites. Once you understand the interconnectedness of glutathione, B12 and the methylation cycle, it becomes easier to see how chronic CFS arises. As explained by Van Konynenburg:28

“When glutathione goes too low, the effect on vitamin B12 slows down the methylation cycle too much. The sulfur metabolites are then dumped into the transsulfuration pathway (which is connected to the methylation cycle) too much, are oxidized to form cystine, pass through hydrogen sulfide, and are eventually converted to thiosulfate and sulfate and are excreted in the urine.

This lowers the production of glutathione, which requires cysteine rather than cystine, and now there is a vicious circle mechanism that preserves this malfunction and keeps you sick … That’s the basic biochemical mechanism of CFS … everything else flows from this …

Here’s how I believe the fatigue occurs: The cells have little powerplants in them, called mitochondria. Their job is to use food as fuel to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP acts as a source of energy to drive a very large number of reactions in the cells.

For examples, it drives the contraction of the muscle fibers, and it provides the energy to send nerve impulses. It also supplies the energy to make stomach acid and digestive enzymes to digest our food, and many, many other things.

When glutathione goes too low in the muscle cells, the levels of oxidizing free radicals rise, and these react with parts of the ‘machinery’ in the little powerplants, lowering their output of ATP.

So the muscle cells then experience an energy crisis, and that’s what causes the fatigue. Over time, because of the lack of enough glutathione, more problems accumulate in the mitochondria, including toxins, viral DNA, and mineral imbalances.”

All of these factors will ultimately decimate your immune function as well, allowing pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi to take over. CFS patients will frequently have several infections ongoing at the same time. Low glutathione also impedes your body’s natural detoxification pathways, allowing toxicity to build over time, thereby causing ever-increasing dysfunction.

The Answer for CFS

So, how do you turn this chain of events around? As noted in Van Konynenburg’s article:29

“The main key to turning this process around is to help the methionine synthase enzyme to operate more normally, so that the partial block in the methylation cycle and the folate cycle are lifted, and glutathione is brought back up to normal. That is what the simplified treatment approach is designed to do, and so far, the evidence is that it does do these things in most people who have CFS.

I recommend that people with CFS have the Vitamin Diagnostics methylation pathways panel run to find out if they do in fact have a partial methylation cycle block and glutathione depletion before deciding, with their doctors, whether to try this treatment.

This also provides a baseline so that progress can be judged later on by repeating it every few months during the treatment. Symptoms may not be a good guide to judge progress during treatment, because detoxing and die-off can make the symptoms worse, while in fact they are exactly what is needed to move the person toward recovery.”

An outline of Van Konynenburg’s simplified methylation treatment plan for CFS can be found in HealthRising.org.30 At the core of this treatment is the use of specific supplements, including folate, B12, a multivitamin, SAMe and phosphatidyl serine.

In his protocol, he explains the theory behind the use of each of these supplements, how they impact the methylation cycle, and their interactions with other supplements.

My take-home message here is that glutathione and NAC supplementation may not always be the ideal way to go. People with CFS may be better supported by a customized assessment by an experienced clinician that may also include methyl folate and methyl vitamin B12.

General Dosing and Safety Guidelines for NAC

For many others, however, NAC can be safely used to boost glutathione levels. For more information about how NAC can benefit your health, see “The Many Benefits of NAC.” It’s widely available as an oral dietary supplement and is relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately, like glutathione, NAC is poorly absorbed when taken orally, although it’s better than glutathione.

According to some studies,31,32 NAC’s oral bioavailability may range between 4% and 10%, which is why the recommended dosage can go as high as 1,800 milligrams (mg) per day. Its half-life is also in the neighborhood of two hours, which is why most study subjects take it two or three times a day.

No maximum safe dose has yet been determined, but as a general rule, it’s well-tolerated, although some do experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea or constipation. Should this occur, reduce your dosage. It’s also best taken in combination with food, to reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal effects.

Also keep in mind that since NAC boosts glutathione, which is a powerful detox agent, you may experience debilitating detox symptoms if you start with too high a dose. To avoid this, start low, with say 400 to 600 mg once a day, and work your way up.

Also, if you are currently taking an antidepressant or undergoing cancer treatment, be sure to discuss the use of NAC with your physician, as it may interact with some antidepressants and chemotherapy.

 Sources and References

How Exercise Affects Disease Prevention and Prognosis


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/12/27/exercise-stroke-prevention-recovery.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked image
exercise stroke prevention

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Exercise proved to be a more powerful indicator of ability to function following a stroke than body fat (as measured by BMI)
  • Less-active participants who suffered a stroke were 18 percent less likely to be able to perform basic self-care, such as bathing and eating, following a stroke
  • Those who exercised vigorously at least three times a week were able to function better and more independently both before and after a stroke

Research continues to pour in that exercise is crucial not only for disease prevention but also for significantly improving your prognosis if disease does occur. In the case of stroke, which is responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths in the U.S.,1 exercise appears to be an even more important factor in outcomes than body fat.

Two-thirds of Americans have at least one of the leading risk factors for stroke, including being a smoker or having high blood pressure.

And while every year 185,000 Americans suffer from a second (or greater) stroke, 610,000 people have a stroke for the first time, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While they’re most common in older adults, strokes can and do occur at any age, often without warning. They’re also a leading cause of serious long-term disability, with more than half of stroke victims suffering from reduced mobility as a result.2

Getting active now may be one of the best and most straightforward ways to slash your risk of this serious condition and protect your ability to function if stroke occurs.

Exercisers Retain More Independence After a Stroke

In a study of more than 18,000 adults aged 50 years and older, exercise proved to be a powerful indicator of function following a stroke.3 Less-active participants who suffered a stroke were 18 percent less likely to be able to perform basic self-care, such as bathing and eating, following a stroke.

They were also 16 percent less likely to be able to carry out complex activities like grocery shopping or money management three years after their strokes. Those who exercised vigorously at least three times a week were able to function better and more independently both before and after a stroke.4

It’s not the first time such a connection has been made. In 2008, a study published in Neurology similarly found that people who are physically active before a stroke have less severe problems and recover better compared to those who didn’t exercise prior to their stroke.5

Further, in 2012 Canadian researchers found that stroke patients who exercised were able to improve problems with their memory, thinking, language and judgment by close to 50 percent in just six months.

Notable improvements in attention, concentration, planning and organizing, as well as benefits to muscle strength and walking, were seen among stroke patients who exercised.6

Exercise May Be a More Important Predictor of Stroke Outcomes Than Body Fat

Body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight did not have an association with the ability to function independently before or after a stroke. This may be because BMI is a flawed measurement tool that uses weight as a measure of risk, when it is actually a high percentage of body fat that increases your disease risk.

Your weight varies according to the density of your bone structure, for instance, so a big-boned person may weigh more, but that certainly doesn’t mean they have more body fat or make them more prone to a stroke, for example.

Athletes and out-of-shape people can also have similar BMI scores, or a very muscular person could be classified as “obese” using BMI, when in reality it is mostly lean muscle accounting for their higher-than-average weight.

BMI also tells you nothing about where fat is located in your body, which can be an important distinction in disease risk. So, it’s possible that the researchers may have gotten a different result had they used a better measure of body fat, such as body fat calipers.

Nonetheless, lead study author Pamela Rist, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Time, “If people were obese or overweight, it didn’t really tell us much about how they’d do after a stroke.”7

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Exercise Lowers Your Stroke Risk

In addition to helping you retain your independence after a stroke, exercise can also help prevent a stroke from occurring in the first place. If you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.8

In women, walking for at least three hours a week was also linked to a lower stroke risk,9 while in 2009, another Neurology study found that vigorous exercise reduces stroke risk in men, as well as helping them recover from a stroke better and faster.10

Researchers concluded, “Engaging in moderate to heavy physical activities may be an important component of primary prevention strategies aimed at reducing stroke risk” — and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, the American Stroke Association states that 80 percent of all strokes can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle — exercise included.11

Exercise Boosts Brain Health in Stroke Survivors

The most common type of stroke is called ischemic stroke, which results from an obstruction in a blood vessel supplying blood to your brain.

This can cause brain damage that leads to many cognitive challenges, including dementia, memory problems, difficulty expressing yourself when speaking, and trouble with reading and writing, as well as understanding speech.12

This is another area where exercise can help, however. The featured study found exercise may improve both physical and cognitive functioning after stroke, with Rist telling Time, “One of our hypotheses is that maybe physical activity helps you maintain cognitive functioning, in addition to physical functioning, after a stroke.”13

In 2017, a review of 13 clinical trials also found exercise benefited stroke patients’ cognition. Those who exercised after a stroke — even for four to 12 weeks — showed greater improvements in certain mental abilities, including attention and processing speed, than non-exercisers.14

Why Is Exercise Good for Your Brain?

It’s not surprising, since exercise is known to improve brain health in a number of ways. Exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5, which in turn triggers the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).

In your brain, BDNF not only preserves existing brain cells,15 it also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and effectively makes your brain grow larger.16

Exercise also lowers inflammation, another benefit to brain health. As for what type of exercise is best, anything that “gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat” was noted as fair game, although strength training, balance and stretching exercises were also mentioned.17

I’d also suggest adding in high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Also noteworthy was that cognitive benefits were gleaned even when the exercise was started months, and in some cases years, following a stroke.

Inactivity May Be Worse Than Obesity for Premature Death

Getting back to the topic of exercise versus body fat in your overall health, it’s not only your risk of stroke that may be influenced more so by the former than the latter. Data suggests at least twice as many deaths occur due to a lack of exercise than due to obesity.18

Some experts even believe that increasing exercise is more important than reducing obesity in terms of public health. The greatest gains are often seen among people who go from being sedentary to physically active, although benefits also increase with exercise frequency and intensity (to a point, of course, as overdoing it will backfire).

Exercise lowers your risk of chronic diseases so much that researchers have described it as “the best preventive drug” for many common ailments, from psychiatric disorders to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.19 So, while maintaining a healthy body weight is important, your primary focus should be on living a healthy active lifestyle (once you start doing this, weight loss typically follows).

A separate study also found that, compared to those who exercised daily and often vigorously, sedentary people had a six times greater risk of dying from heart disease over the course of 15 years.20 Heart disease shares many of the same risk factors of stroke, which is another great thing about exercise — it reduces your risk of multiple diseases at once.

Continuous Movement Is Key

It should be noted that non-exercise movement is equally if not more important than exercise. Evidence shows that inactivity or lack of movement, such as prolonged sitting, actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, and these risks apply even if you’re very fit or exercise regularly.

Ideally, strive for near-continuous movement throughout the day, including standing or moving rather than sitting. Try to sit for less than three hours a day, and make it a point to walk more. A stand-up desk is a great option toward this end. But even then you should move, not just stand, as lack of movement, not just sitting, is the primary catalyst for metabolic dysfunction.

A fitness tracker can be used to ensure you’re getting the recommended 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day, but that doesn’t mean you stop at 10,000 steps. When you have time you can go for walks twice as long as well as fit in other forms of movement, like gardening, taking the stairs and various body-weight exercises.

What Else Helps to Lower Stroke Risk?

Exercise aside, other factors also contribute to a reduced risk of stroke. Follow my nutrition plan for a healthy diet while also being aware of the importance of:

1.Sunshine — Sunlight causes your skin to produce nitric oxide, a critical compound for optimizing your blood pressure, which reduces your risk for both heart attack and stroke. Nitric oxide enhances blood flow, promotes blood vessel elasticity, and functions as a signaling molecule in your brain and immune system.

And, of course, exposing your skin to the sun also helps optimize your vitamin D level, a deficiency of which has also been linked to stroke.

2.Grounding — Walking barefoot on the Earth, aka “earthing” or “grounding,” has a potent antioxidant effect that helps alleviate inflammation throughout your body. It also makes your blood less prone to hypercoagulation — so, less apt to clot, which reduces your stroke risk.

There is a constant flow of energy between our bodies and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet, which reduces the tendency of your blood cells to clump together.

Technically, grounding increases the zeta potential of your red blood cells, causing them to repel each other and become less sticky, very similar to a natural anticoagulant.

Research has demonstrated that it takes about 80 minutes for the free electrons from the earth to reach your blood stream and transform your blood, so make it a point to regularly walk barefoot on grass or on wet sand for about 90 minutes to two hours, if possible.

3.Fiber — If you eat more fiber, you will reduce your chances of a stroke, according to a report in the journal Stroke.21 For every 7 grams more fiber you consume daily, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent, according to this study. Vegetables are among the best sources of fiber, although seeds (especially chia, psyllium, sunflower and organic flax) are also good.

Know the Warning Signs of Stroke: Act FAST

There are emergency medications that can dissolve a blood clot that is blocking blood flow to your brain. If done quickly enough, emergency medicine can prevent or reverse permanent neurological damage — but you typically need treatment within one hour. This means if you or someone you love suffers a stroke, getting medical help quickly can mean the difference between life and death or permanent disability.

The faster you recognize the warning signs, the better the prognosis, so take a few seconds to read through the signs and symptoms that follow. The National Stroke Association recommends using the FAST acronym to help remember the warning signs of stroke so you can take action quickly if necessary:22

F = FACE — Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = ARMS — Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = SPEECH — Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound slurred or strange?

T = TIME — If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Sources and References

Blood Flow Restriction Trainer Educator Interview


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/12/01/smart-cuff-blood-flow-restriction.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola – Fact Checked

December 01, 2019

Video not available on this site. To view, got to original article above.

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Blood flow restriction (BFR) training involves partially restricting arterial inflow and fully restricting venous outflow in the limb during rest or exercise. Doing this allows you to significantly enhance strength and muscle mass using as little as 20% of your single-rep max weight
  • BFR training may be an ideal muscle-strengthening strategy for most people, but especially as an alternative for the elderly or injured, as it requires just a fraction of the weight you’d typically use in conventional resistance training
  • BFR has the ability to prevent and treat sarcopenia like no other type of training. BFR training also improves your aerobic capacity and cardiovascular endurance. One of the simplest ways of doing this is to walk with the cuffs high on your thigh for 15 to 20 minutes
  • BFR also improves osteoblast formation, or the formation of bone, and helps prevent further degradation of bone density, thus lowering your risk of osteoporosis

In this interview, Dr. Ed Le Cara, a chiropractor with a Ph.D. in sports medicine, shares his knowledge about blood flow restriction (BFR) training — a form of training that I believe is one of the greatest innovations in the last century. He’s also a certified athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning coach and one of the leading educators on BFR in the US.

“I combine all those backgrounds into the treatment plan and approach that I use with my patients,” Le Cara says. “One of the frustrations I’ve had — I’ve been in practice for about 20 years — was that very often patients would see me while they’re in pain, and once the pain is gone, give up on their previous exercise regimen.

But with my understanding of exercise and exercise physiology, I knew that once they were out of pain, they still had not gotten their body to the capacity they needed in order to meet the demands their sport or their life was imposing on them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have gotten injured in the first place.

A lot of times it’s because they run out of insurance visits and that only got us through the point of where they’re decreasing in pain. Or they think that once they’re out of pain their injury is healed.

It was very frustrating for me to see people consistently injure themselves over and over again, and I wasn’t given enough time to really, truly increase their body’s capacity for the demand of sport, life or whatever they’re applying on it that was causing injury.

Then in about 2012, a good friend of mine, who at the time was the director of sports medicine at FC Dallas, said, ‘Hey. You’ve got to really check out this thing called BFR training.’ I had never heard of it … I looked at these different databases that I had access to.

I was overwhelmed with how much research was already out there. My previous experience with different types of modalities that I use in the clinic or different exercise appliances, there was not a lot of literature. Or we had to try to apply literature that was already existing towards what we were trying to do …

This was totally the opposite. Over 650 studies at the time had been done. It had been utilized for years, [it was] validated and reliable … It was almost too good to be true. To get strength or hypertrophy in four to six weeks was like, ‘There’s no way.’ Physiologically that was impossible. And to not be causing muscle damage associated with that? I was a very big skeptic to say the least when I started.”

What Is BFR?

BFR involves exercising your muscles while partially restricting arterial inflow and fully restricting venous outflow in either both proximal arms or legs.1 Venous flow restriction is achieved by using bands on the extremity being exercised.

By restricting the venous blood flow, you create a relatively hypoxic (low oxygen) environment in the exercising muscle, which in turn triggers a number of physiological benefits, including the production of hormones such as growth hormone and IGF-1, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormones.”2

It also increases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which acts as “fertilizer” for growing more blood vessels and improving their lining (endothelium). BFR, originally known as KAATSU training, was developed over 50 years ago by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato. Now 73 years old, Sato is still in excellent shape and a true testament to the value of this approach.

Between 1996 and 2015, Sato, along with exercise physiologist Naokata Ishii and Dr. Toshiaki Nakajima, a renowned cardiologist at the University of Tokyo Hospital, performed a variety of groundbreaking research, proving the benefits of KAATSU.

Much research on BFR has also been done in the U.S. in recent years, but it didn’t really catch on until 2010, when Steven Munatones from the KAATSU Global Company was granted permission by Sato to bring the technology to the U.S.

BFR — Low-Intensity Exercise With High-Intensity Rewards

BFR provides many benefits through a variety of mechanisms. As noted by Le Cara, you’re essentially tricking your brain and body into thinking that it’s doing high-intensity exercise, yet you’re doing low-intensity exercise. He explains:

“High-intensity resistance training is defined as somewhere between 65% and 90% of someone’s one rep max (1RM), depending on what resource you’re looking at. Low-intensity exercise is around 20% to 35% of your 1RM.

If you look, you can even see behind me some of the modalities that I use in my clinic. I’m using resistance tubing and resistance bands. I’m using dumbbells no heavier than about 20 pounds. I’m able to take these light weights, apply something to occlude the blood flow and allow patients’ bodies to think that they’re doing very high-intensity exercise when they’re not.

The advantage to this is that I don’t cause any damage to the tissue if I do it appropriately, whereas normal exercise and training at high intensity does. These patients cannot tolerate more damage to their tissue because they’re already injured.

We use the same exercises that we do in rehab, very light load, but we’re able to mimic high-intensity exercise, which, outside of the physiology that occurs, is really the game-changer. That’s what allows us to see quick adaptations.”

In the video, Le Cara demonstrates the basics of how the BFR cuff works.

“I have this cuff and I place it on my limb. Now, I inflate this cuff … to a certain percentage of what’s called my limb occlusion pressure (LOP). I’m reducing the amount of arterial flow into this arm, but I’m totally restricting any venous return.

What happens is that fluid that should be returning to my heart under normal circumstances is not. That means there is extra fluid hanging out down here that never gets back to my heart that can’t be involved in cardiac output. Cardiac output is the amount of blood that’s being pumped to the body.

The other part of that equation is the heartrate. Heartrate times stroke volume is equal to cardiac output. And so, if I reduce the stroke volume, my heartrate has to jump up in order to keep the same amount of blood flow going out to the working muscles.

That’s where, really, physiologically, we see the stress induced on the aerobic capacity system, and why these exercises raise your heartrate so rapidly and give you this sense of having to work very, very hard to do very light loads.”

Aerobic Improvements With BFR

Aside from helping you grow bigger muscles, BFR training also improves your aerobic capacity and cardiovascular endurance. One of the simplest ways of using BFR is to simply walk with the cuffs high on your thigh for 15 to 20 minutes. According to Le Cara, you can improve your aerobic capacity in as little as four or five weeks doing this.

“I had a patient who had experienced stroke. He could walk about four or five minutes at a time without feeling like he was going to fall, and had fallen a few times. Of course, we know that when we have this increased risk of falling, we have increased risk of fracture and further problems down the line.

He was asking for a way to be able to do two things: He wanted to be able to go quail hunting with his buddies … [and] he wanted to be able to take the dog out for a walk with his wife. That’s what he did every night of his life until this happened. It was really having a negative effect on him psychologically.”

Le Cara had the man walk on a treadmill with the cuffs on his legs for one minute holding on to the handles, and one minute unsupported. Over the course of four or five weeks, he was able to build up to where he could walk for 20 to 25 minutes without feeling like he was going to fall.

“That’s just one of many examples. But that was very profound because he was so limited in what he could do. He really needed something to help him translate from the rehab setting to life,” Le Cara says.

“When I put the cuffs around both legs and go for this walk, not only do I improve aerobic capacity, but [researchers] have also seen increased … hypertrophy of the thigh.

They’ve also seen increase in strength at the knee … If you can increase your strength with just walking for 15 minutes a couple times a week, then that’s also going to translate into a decrease in fall risk.

Things that have been measured, like the ‘sit to stand’ test, ‘timed up and go’ test … also improve. We’re seeing increases in strength and aerobic capacity at the same time with a very simple exercise like walking, which normally does not cause positive adaptation.”

BFR Improves Bone Density

Interestingly, BFR also improves bone density, thereby lowering your risk for osteoporosis. As explained by Le Cara, who is familiar with the medical literature on this, BFR improves osteoblast formation, or the formation of bone. It also helps prevent further degradation of bone density.

“There are many pathways associated with it, including capillarization and VEGF. But the primary thing I think helps the most is that when we inflate the cuff and we’ve got the swelling in to the limb, because the swelling is all around in all the tissue, you’ve got the bones surrounded, 360 degrees all around, [and] that creates a stress on the bone.

When we stress the bone, now the body has to respond by stimulating bone growth. So, I think Wolff’s Law comes into effect through that mechanism, in addition to the physiological adaptations that are occurring … It appears that hypoxia, or the decrease in oxygenation, also stimulates [bone growth].

There’s a stimulation of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that occurs; numerous cascades that are happening. There’s something magical about creating an environment where there’s not enough oxygen and the body has to adapt due to that.”

Indeed, that “magic” was recently elucidated further with the award of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine3 for the discovery of how cells sense and adapt to the availability of oxygen, which involves responses in VEGF, hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1A) and erythropoietin. In essence, by creating a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment, your body thinks you’re doing high-intensity exercise, and responds accordingly.

Wide Rigid Cuffs Versus KAATSU

While KAATSU specifies the use of narrow elastic occlusion bands, Le Cara has developed his own take on the technique using rigid, nonflexible wider bands, which is actually listed as a Class 1 medical device (blood occlusion device) in the U.S. He explains why he decided to veer from Sato’s already established parameters:

“When I’m experimenting with different modalities and I’m unsure of them, my first tendency is to go to the literature. What is the literature suggesting? What has been studied? What hasn’t been studied? When I went there, there was really a hodgepodge of different types of modalities being used to occlude blood flow.

Nothing was sticking out to me … There really wasn’t a resource … except for very expensive modalities [and], frankly, until I’m confident that something works, I am hesitant to spend the money.”

This is understandable, considering the original KAATSU equipment was rather large and had a price tag around $16,000. (However, as of October 2019 they have a unit that sells for only $8004 and is the one I personally use every day and endorse. Unfortunately, Le Cara has never worked with the KAATSU system, but has used numerous elastic and thinner bands.

“What I first did was based on the recommendation of my buddy who … had mentioned a certain type of band, and so I ordered those and started using them. What I first noticed was that exercise didn’t seem to be that hard. I was actually using the cuffs on all four limbs. It still wasn’t that hard …

When we have these cuffs [on] … it creates these little spaces in the cuff, and then the accumulation of metabolites distal to the cuff or closer to my hand can still escape. It wasn’t truly occluding arterial flow, so it wasn’t creating a hypoxic environment.

Now, my veins were sticking out like crazy. What we know is that because the veins are closer to the surface or more superficial, they’re much easier to occlude. The deeper pressure is what’s needed in order to get to the arterial flow to really create that hypoxic environment that we have already said is very beneficial.

Some of the other literature that came out [showed] that if we use a very narrow band, less than 5 centimeters, then it requires much higher pressures in order to occlude the arterial flow.

I wanted to use something that was wider so I didn’t need so much pressure, especially if I was going to use this with my compromised patients or people who maybe had … contraindications.

I wanted something that was as safe as possible. So, we developed something that was wider, that had that full diaphragm — the bladder that gets inflated with air …

When you have the little segmented bladder, when you inflate it, you really can’t find true LOP. I was never able to quantify with my patients what a safe and effective pressure was. We were using something called ‘arbitrary pressures or guessing what pressures we needed to use. With my patients’ safety, I don’t guess.

Realistically, I was what I like to call ‘undercooking’ people, not using enough pressure to occlude. I wasn’t getting the benefit I really wanted to see. We needed something wider.

We needed something that had that full diaphragm or bladder that could be inflated and that I could measure LOP using a Doppler to know exactly what each individual’s LOP was … [even] in different positions, like standing, sitting or lying down, depending on what position of exercise I was putting somebody in.”

The Case for Wide, Rigid Cuffs

So, to summarize, the reason Le Cara recommends using a wider rigid inflatable cuff instead of a narrower, flexible inflatable cuff, is because it traps and accumulates metabolites more effectively at lower pressures, thus reducing risk to damage beneath the cuff.

When using a flexible cuff, the muscle contraction will force the blood to return back to your heart. Even though the return flow is initially restricted, it doesn’t remain restricted once you do the contraction.

However, there are three concerns when using wide rigid cuff systems. The first is that wider cuffs will tend to limit movement during exercise. The second is that there appears to be an attenuated response to BFR benefits to the muscle and tissues under the cuff.5

Finally, although BFR improves hypertension in the long-term, there is a greater risk of eliciting an acute hypertensive response, especially in those who already have hypertension or the elderly that already have compromised vascular resilience.6 For these reasons it is likely wiser to choose narrow elastic bands like the KAATSU in these populations.

As with the KAATSU system, you would place the wide cuff proximal to the bicep, distal to the deltoid. With the wider band, the correct placement is essentially as close as you can to the armpit, right below the deltoid tubercle (the insertion point of the deltoid). On your leg, the cuff would go right below the greater trochanter; in other words, as high up on the leg, near your groin, as you can.

BFR Provides Full Body Benefits

Interestingly, BFR doesn’t just benefit the limb being occluded. The chemical cascade that occurs as a result of the restricted blood flow provides body-wide benefits. Benefits occur both distal and proximal to the cuff, i.e., on both sides. You also get crossover effects, so while you might be working your right shoulder, your left will also benefit.

“We use this in rehab a lot when [one] shoulder has been immobilized,” Le Cara says. “I have a patient who I’ll go see as a home visit tonight. She just had surgery last week … She’s not moving this arm.

But I can do things over here that’ll get the crossover effect. I can do things with her legs. She can walk with the cuffs on … She can do things for other extremities to try to maintain her muscle mass and maintain that capacity as an entity …

Within 10 days of disuse, we can lose about 30% of our muscle mass … We start losing aerobic capacity at about Day 7 and we start losing strength and size right around that Day 10. So, if I tell somebody to take four or six weeks off, they’re way in a hole.”

Risk Factors and Contraindications

BFR is a fitness modality that really everyone can benefit from. The elderly, especially, need to consider it, as it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent sarcopenia or age-related muscle loss. Once you lose muscle mass, your risk of developing complications from everyday activities skyrockets.

Again, one of the reasons why BFR is so well-suited for the elderly is because you use such light weights. You don’t even need to use any. According to Le Cara, research has shown it takes three sessions of BFR for your body to start adapting.

In Le Cara’s clinic, the first visit typically involves establishing the patient’s LOP bilaterally while sitting, lying and standing, and taking down a thorough medical history to make sure there are no contraindications.

While very safe when done properly, there are risks when using a rigid cuff system like the Smart Cuff System, the two primary ones being a hypertensive crisis that could contribute to a stroke or heart attack, and blood clots, which could be lethal. Factors that place you at increased risk include:

1.Recent blood stasis — Situations in which you’ve had blood occluded, such as during surgery. Most people who have just had surgery in the orthopedic setting are at a slight increased risk for clotting.

Another situation that can raise your risk is after long travel. If you’ve sat on a plane for a day, it’s best to wait a few days to normalize, as blood stasis and pooling can put you at increased risk for a blood clot. Being bedridden for a period of time is another scenario that would apply here.

2.Blood vessel damage — A crush injury on a limb would be a risk factor, for example, or a venous graft. Poor circulation can also increase risk, necessitating lighter pressure to start.

3.Cardiovascular risk factors — If you have heart problems, has your physician cleared you for high-intensity exercise? “If they’re cleared for high-intensity exercise, cardiovascularly, they are cleared for BFR,” Le Cara says.

For patients with high blood pressure, he recommends keeping exercises to nonweight-bearing, single-joint exercises. “If I do a squat with somebody, like an air squat, compared to somebody doing a long-arch quad exercise or a quad extension off the edge of a table, there’s going to be a big difference in what cardiovascular stress is occurring. I will keep that in mind when I’m dosing or choosing which exercises to do,” he says.

Next, Le Cara will evaluate the tourniquet risk itself, to determine whether there’s any risk involved with the occlusion apparatus that might damage a blood vessel. Examples might include bunching of clothing underneath the cuff, or the cuff width being too narrow, requiring higher pressure.

“I’m really concerned mostly about people who are showing signs of poor circulation,” he says. “In those cases, I would keep the number of exercises lower, like maybe one or two to start and see how they tolerate them. I’ll also make sure that I’m only using the amount of pressure necessary for the occlusion required that is both safe and effective.”

The Benefits of Cellular Swelling

Oftentimes, Le Cara will perform a cellular swelling protocol on the first visit, which is where the cuffs are inflated to a point where arterial flow is slowed to a trickle with no venous return. In this case, there’s no exercise involved. This creates extracellular swelling, which pushes fluid into the muscle cell.

Your body basically translates the cellular swelling as a signal that the cells are about to die, so a signal is sent to regenerate the cells through protein synthesis. “It’s a way to get people ready for the exercise or future exercise dosages,” he says, “yet, I’m still seeing benefit with that.”

The second visit typically involves performing one or two single isolated exercises. So, if you’re rehabbing a bicep, you might start by doing four sets of a bicep curl, the first set being 30 repetitions and the second, third and fourth sets being 15 reps each, with 30 seconds of rest in between, using a weight that is about 20% of your one-rep max.

The speed at which you raise and lower the weight should be quite slow. Le Cara recommends two seconds up and two seconds down. This will help create metabolite accumulation in the muscle and an acidic environment that triggers the recruitment of more motor units. The slow pace is also what creates muscle fatigue.

“We know when we take exercise to failure, there is more damage to the tissue. I want to get the tissue tired. I want to create metabolite accumulation. I want to recruit Type 2 muscle fibers. But I don’t want to cause more damage, especially in the rehab setting, because that tissue is already damaged. I don’t want to cause more damage.

After that, I might go to a second exercise. In this case, typically if it was a bicep, I would pretty much bet that most of the muscle fibers are exhausted. They’re fatigued. So, there’s no reason to hit that exercise group again. I would then go to probably a tricep exercise and I would do tricep in that same manner: 30-15-15-15-15, and then deflate.”

Sample Workout Protocol

If you’re injured, you’d certainly be wise to find a BFR trainer like Le Cara to guide you. But for the general public, this is really something you’ll want to learn to do on your own, for life. Le Cara describes what a typical home regimen might look like:

“I never do cuffs on all four limbs simultaneously. The reason is that I think you reduce stroke volume so drastically that you’re going to faint and feel sick. Primarily, I do cuffs on both upper or both lower extremities …

I don’t think you need more than about four, maybe five exercises a day, because by the time you’re done with five exercises, you’re done. You’ve totally fatigued all your motor units; you’re psychologically tired. You don’t need to do more than that.

My personal opinion is that if you can lift 65% (or more) of your 1RM … do it. And use BFR as a supplemental [exercise]. For example, I might feel like my upper body is not as strong as I would like, or my calf is not as big as I would like …

I [would then] do my normal exercise, and two or three times a week, I would do what I call a complementary BFR session — one or two exercises to the area that you want to focus on, but I would do it after you’re already done with your [regular strength training] exercise.

You only need to do it two or three times a week because [that] … has been shown to be as effective for strength and hypertrophy as five time a week … If you can’t lift that type of a load [65% of your 1RM], you should be doing BFR five days a week …

If I’m not doing high-intensity [conventional strength training] exercise, then what I do is alternate. I’ll do upper body one day and lower body another day.

I’ll do aerobic on my lower body days … I walk for 15 [minutes] and then do three or four exercises for my lower extremities, with the thinking that the more dynamic exercises you do, you’re going to get this fatigue factor going …

I’m looking at 45 to 60 minutes of exercise. I’m going to be really tired. I’m going to get an aerobic training effect. I’m going to get an isolated and integrated body approach. I’m going to get a pain reduction. I’m going to get my brain stimulated.”

Building Bulk

Toward the end of the interview, Le Cara also discusses how to optimize your muscle growth once you’re used to the system and are ready to take it to the next level. One key take-home from that section is that the higher the pressure used, the better the results.

This is likely due to the highly hypoxic environment created. That said, as a general rule, you don’t want to exceed 50% LOP in the upper extremity and 80% LOP in the lower. The primary variable that will influence your ability to “bulk up” is the weight used.

Starting at 20% of your 1RM, Le Cara suggests increasing the weight you use by 5% every two weeks, until you get to 35% of your 1RM. As a general rule, your rate of perceived exertion should be around 8 out of 10 after you’ve completed the 75 reps (30+15+15+15). If the exertion feels too light, add more weight. If too hard, lower it.

More Information

Again, one of the biggest benefits of BFR outside of rehab is the prevention of sarcopenia. I’m particularly motivated because both my parents developed sarcopenia and likely passed away sooner than they would have, were it not for their frailty.

I will be sharing some exciting and important details not discussed in this interview next month, just in time for the New Year. It has taken me over six months to research and compile the additional information and training videos. I hope you will make it a part of your New Year resolution.

Every assisted care facility needs to provide BFR training. Most have exercise therapists, and they really need to understand and embrace this modality. It’s such a simple way to improve people’s quality of life. Once you lose the ability to stand up from sitting in a chair, it’s a rapid decline to death.

There’s an enormous body of science backing its use. All that’s really needed is for people to learn it. You can find information about Smart Cuffs certification courses on SmartToolsPlus.com.

In 2020, Smart Cuffs will be offering more than 250 live trainings across the world. “I have a really great cadre of instructors who are really passionate about the subject. We are going to be spanning the globe, spreading the word,” Le Cara says.

There’s also an online course for rehab professionals. His personal website, EdLeCara.com is another resource where you can find information on BFR and a listing of live presentations.