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The History of Blood Flow Restriction Training


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/06/14/the-history-and-future-of-kaatsu-training.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

June 14, 2020

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Blood flow restriction (BFR) training was developed in Japan by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in 1966. There, it’s known as KAATSU, which translates into “additional pressure”
  • KAATSU, known more generically as Blood Flow Modification, was introduced outside of Japan by Steven Munatones after a 13-year-long mentorship by Sato
  • Aside from dramatically improving muscle tone, BFR is also a wonderful tool for post-surgical rehabilitation, allowing you to regain physical function in a fraction of the time that you would normally anticipate
  • KAATSU is very safe, even for those with cardiovascular issues, and can also benefit those who are bedridden or paraplegic
  • The original KAATSU device became commercially available in 2006 and was quite large, heavy and bulky, with a $16,600 price tag. Since then, the technology has improved, gotten much smaller and is far less expensive

If the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s the importance of being healthy and having a robust immune response. Aside from old age, people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of complications from the disease, and obesity has been found to be the biggest determinant — after old age — for whether a patient will require hospitalization.1,2

The good news, of course, is that you have a lot of control over your own health. Obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are all reversible, and if you want to prepare for the next pandemic (which is already being promised), you’d be wise to start improving your health rather than simply masking or “managing” your symptoms with drugs.

Aside from eating a healthy whole food (ideally organic) diet and implementing time-restricted eating, exercise is a foundational health strategy that will strengthen your immune function.3,4

According to research5,6,7 published in the March 19, 2020, issue of Redox Biology, exercising regularly may also help prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lethal complication and major cause of death among patients with COVID-19.

Similarly, a review8 published in the journal Nutrients, February 28, 2020, details how physical activity and diet shape your immune system during aging and, of course, we now know that the elderly are at a disproportionally high risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death.

Importantly, the review details how exercise helps improve immunosenescence and slows down the aging processes of both the innate and adaptive arms of your immune system.

Blood Flow Restriction Training May Be an Ideal Choice

Blood flow restriction (BFR) training, which I perceive to be the greatest innovation in exercise training in the last century, was developed in Japan by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato in 1966. There, it’s known as KAATSU.

Aside from dramatically improving muscle tone, BFR is also a wonderful tool for post-surgical rehabilitation, allowing you to regain physical function in a fraction of the time that you would normally anticipate.

KAATSU, known more generically as Blood Flow Modification, was introduced outside of Japan by Steven Munatones, after a 13-year mentorship by Sato. In this interview, Munatones provides some of the history behind this radical innovation, and how he facilitated its overseas migration and its headquarters in Southern California.

What Is BFR?

BFR involves exercising your muscles — using no or very light weights — while partially slowing arterial inflow and modifying venous outflow in either both proximal arms or legs.9 In KAATSU, venous flow reduction is achieved by using thin elastic pneumatic bands on the extremity being exercised.

By modifying 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.

BFR increases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which acts as “fertilizer” for growing more blood vessels and improving their lining (endothelium). It also increases the production of hormones such as growth hormone and IGF-1, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormones.”10

Sato got the inspiration for BFR in 1966 when, during a Buddhist ceremony that required him to sit on his heels, he noticed a distinct tightening of his calves, as if he’d been doing weighted heel raises. He wondered what the physiological process for that might be, and for the next seven years, he experimented on himself.

“He experimented with every kind of tire tube, strand and rope that he had. He put bands on his legs, around his waist, on his chest, his arms, forearms, even his forehead,” Munatones says, to figure out the best way to modify his blood flow and replicate traditional weight training.

Eventually, Sato developed the KAATSU protocols that are still in use today. Between 1996 and 2015, Sato, along with exercise physiologist Naokata Ishii, Ph.D., and Dr. Toshiaki Nakajima, a renowned cardiologist at the University of Tokyo Hospital, performed a variety of groundbreaking research, proving the benefits of KAATSU and discovering its underlying mechanisms.

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How KAATSU Was Brought to the US

For the first 27 years, all of Sato’s information was restricted to Japan — primarily the University of Tokyo Hospital — and the Japanese language. In 2001, Munatones, who speaks fluent Japanese, was asked to coach the U.S. national swim team at the world championships held in Japan.

“That’s when I first found out about Sato,” he says. “I visited his office in Tokyo. I saw a huge line of people waiting to see him at his office. The people would come out quite happy.

I’d ask them in Japanese, ‘How do you feel?’ They’d say, ‘I feel great.’ I’d ask them how they felt before. They said, ‘There was a strain in my back,’ or ‘I had broken my finger,’ or a variety of injuries and ailments.

When I met Dr. Sato, he said to me very softly — he is a very humble man with a very soft voice — ‘I was waiting for you.’ I said, ‘Oh really? I didn’t even know about you until three days ago.’ He said, ‘Well, I’ve been anxious to share this with the rest of the world, because I think everybody in the world should be doing KAATSU.'”

After 13 Years of Mentorship, Munatones Got the Green Light

Sato does not speak English and doesn’t travel outside Japan, which is why he’d not been able to introduce it to a global audience before. Munatones decided immediately he wanted to learn the system and Sato agreed to teach him. That mentorship ended up taking 13 years.

“It was a very Japanese mentorship,” Munatones says. “I learned the Japanese way of thought, their social protocols and the expectations of the respect between different levels of society …

[You have to] accept — whether you’re trying to be a sushi chef, a Japanese sword master, a kimono maker, it doesn’t matter — that you don’t know what that length of mentorship or apprenticeship will be. If you’re good, it might only be eight years. If you’re not good, it might be 18 years. In my particular case, it was 13 years …

I learned everything. I learned how to wrap the bands, what to look at a person physiologically. We went through his research labs. We used Doppler machines and ultrasound machines.

We tested, prodded and poked people with blood samples before and after KAATSU. He really wanted me to learn what was the mechanism of KAATSU. That’s what I did for 13 years. I was going to Japan at least four times a year.

When I first met Sato, there was no information written. It was all in his head … I had to write a how-to book. I had to capture the information in his head and what he had showed me and explained to me, and make English words for that, because there were no English words for what he was teaching me.

The only word I kept was the original Japanese word KAATSU. It’s formed by two Japanese characters: KA, which means additional, and ATSU, which means pressure. That’s the additional pressure that the band and the equipment is placing on the limbs.

Everything else, all the explanations of KAATSU, we translated over the 13-year period. He wanted to make sure that if I was going to share this with the rest of the world, that I had as much information and experience as possible, and in English, to share with the rest of the world.”

The Development of KAATSU Equipment

Originally, and up to about 2006, Sato had used very long elastic bands. He’d wrap and unwrap a patient’s limbs in 20-second cycles, doing eight cycles per limb, which was a laborious process. Munatones, who had a background in engineering, suggested they invent an easy to use device to replicate this cycled blood flow restriction.

“I had lived in Japan for seven years previously, working in Hitachi R&D Labs. I had the skillsets to develop a machine, to create a product that attempted to replicate what Sato and his Japanese colleagues were doing with their own hands,” Munatones says.

The original KAATSU Master device became commercially available in 2006, was quite large and had a $16,000 price tag. Since then, the technology has improved, gotten much smaller, and far less expensive.

The latest device, KAATSU Cycle 2.0, is now only $800, which you can purchase from KAATSU Global. This is the best exercise investment I have ever made and now that the price is finally under $1,000, it’s become accessible to far more people.

BFR Benefits Your Vascular System

The first clear benefits of KAATSU were increased muscle mass, regardless of the age of the individual. However, as the science developed, it became clear that the mechanism behind this effect was actually increased elasticity of the vascular system. This is what triggers a cascade of biochemical changes that result in muscle growth. Munatones explains:

“Sato and the researchers theorized that [KAATSU] was replicating heavy exercise. Therefore, human growth hormone (HGH) was being secreted. That was leading to increased muscle tone or increased muscle mass.

But as we started to study more and more with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, Doppler devices and ultrasound, we realized that it was actually the strength or the elasticity of the three vascular walls — the inner, middle and the outer walls of the capillaries and veins — that were becoming more elastic. When that happened, there was a subsequent or secondary hormonal response.”

By creating a hypoxic environment, you catalyze hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha (HIF1A), which in turn catalyzes VEGF. VEGF is the strongest angiogenic signal your body produces. It’s a very powerful “fertilizer” for capillary growth and endothelial cells specifically. (That’s why it’s called vascular endothelial growth factor.) The end result is increased vascular elasticity.

BFR Has an Excellent Safety Record

Importantly, KAATSU is very safe, even for those with cardiovascular issues. At the University of Tokyo Hospital, Sato worked frequently with cardiovascular rehabilitation patients, people who’d had heart attacks, strokes or heart bypass surgery, and, when dealing with patients with cardiac issues, safety is a paramount concern.

Using pneumatic bands that were gentle and provided controlled pressure, even bedridden patients could be safely treated, and even under those conditions the patients increased their muscle tone.

Even paraplegics are benefiting from it, even though they’re unable to use weights of any kind. Simply strapping on the inflatable cuffs and using the KAATSU device’s cycling program (with intermittent inflation and deflation of the pneumatic bands at regular intervals), they can realize these benefits.

The cycling program pumps air in, maintains pressure for a prescribed time, releases the pressure, then adds pressure again, in cycles. With the help of a trainer or caregiver, a paraplegic patient can also perform passive exercise with the bands on.

In this case, they’d use the cycling mode — which inflates the cuffs for 20 seconds, releases the pressure for five seconds, inflates for 20 seconds, release for five, and so on — while the caregiver lifts their arm or moves their leg.

Cuff Construction

While the inflatable cuffs look quite simplistic, a lot of specific engineering has gone into their design and construction. Superficially, it resembles a blood pressure cuff. It does not work like one, however. Munatones explains:

“The band itself has an air bladder inside. That air bladder is inflated only to one side. Imagine a balloon. When you blow up a balloon, it expands uniformly. When we blow up the KAATSU band, it does not expand uniformly. It expands in one direction, the direction toward your skin.

People say, ‘Oh. That looks like a blood pressure cuff. That looks like a tourniquet.’ Outwardly, it does. Except, the tourniquet keeps the blood out. It occludes momentarily, so the physician or the nurse can check your blood pressure.

The KAATSU bands are specifically designed to keep the blood in on a practical basis. It reduces the venous flow back from the limb to the torso. It doesn’t completely obstruct it. You can view it as a type of ‘blood flow modification,’ because when you contract your muscles the blood is forced out of your muscle for a brief period.

When your muscle is not contracting, the blood remains in your muscle. That’s why the cycle [mode] — pressure on, pressure off, pressure on, pressure off — enables that blood flow to continue; the arterial flow in and the venous flow out. That is very important.

When a person does KAATSU, the palm of their hands and/or their feet become very pink, even a rosy, beefy red. In some athletes and very fit people, it actually turns it deep purple, because what’s happening is that all that blood is going in and is being modified coming out. There is what we call ‘blood pooling in the limb. That is the catalyst for a bunch of metabolite hormonal responses in the body.”

What Makes KAATSU Different From Other BFR Devices?

It’s important to understand the difference between the KAATSU devices and other inflatable surgical tourniquets used in blood flow obstruction (BFO) therapy.

The two are not the same, the primary and most crucial difference being that KAATSU never completely occludes or obstructs blood flow, whereas BFO does. Complete obstruction of blood flow comes with risks that you simply don’t get when using a KAATSU device. Munatones comments on the differences:

“The original intention of Sato was literally for every person on planet Earth, anywhere, anytime, to be able to do KAATSU. That’s a difficult bar to hit. We had to make sure that it was safe to use for every person on this planet.

Now, I’m not saying that every person on the planet will want to use this or should use it, but that was our engineering goal: To make a product that you could use at any age, in the comfort of your own home, without a medical practitioner actually applying it …

So, we set out to engineer a product that was easy to use and effective at the same time. Therefore, when other products come on the market and you have to go to your physical therapist and you have to use your own medical insurance to get reimbursed or pay for this, we believe that is [a block] for global adoption.

That’s why our original patients who were using this were among the most vulnerable patients possible, those with heart attacks, strokes or clots, who had undergone cardiac surgery. If it was safe for them, we knew it would be safe for most people on this planet …

I have no problem putting [the KAATSU device] on my parents … They’re 82 and 83. They use KAATSU daily. Sometimes twice a day. They have their own unit.

Their muscular form is great. They’re very active. My mother uses it in the pool for her arthritis. My father used it for his varicose veins and while riding a bike. They also use it in a variety of exercises. They’ve really been my guinea pigs here in California …

They’ve used KAATSU through hip replacements, knee replacements, et cetera. They do not go to a physical therapist after their surgeries. They just come home. They know how to use the KAATSU equipment themselves — and they don’t even know how to use a computer. They live very close to me. But it’s quite easy to implement.”

KAATSU Training Modes

We’ve already mentioned one of the two training modes — the cycling mode — available on the KAATSU device. In cycling mode, the cuffs are inflated for 20 seconds and deflated for five seconds, for eight repetitions. (Some units allow for variations in that cycle). In training mode, the cuffs remain inflated throughout your exercise.

“The KAATSU cycle started in 1973. I always enjoyed this story. Sato went on a skiing trip and broke his ankle. He instinctively theorized that KAATSU would be helpful for his bones to heal,” Munatones says.

“Now, he’d come from a long line of physicians. His father said, ‘Come into the hospital. We’ll take care of you.’ He, being sort of the rebellious out-of-the-box thinker, said, ‘No. I’m just going to treat myself with KAATSU.’

He wrapped his leg with the bands as he normally did. And because there was so much blood pooling in the area where his ankle was broken, it was very discomforting. He unwrapped it after about 30 seconds.

He says, ‘Well, there’s a lot of blood going to the injured part. That’s a good thing. I’m going to wrap it again.’ That was the catalyst for this KAATSU cycle. They’ve been doing that for decades now.

KAATSU training is when you don’t want to be tethered to a machine. You want to go out for a walk. Or you’re a boxer and you’re boxing in the gym. Or you’re a swimmer in a pool. Or you are a cyclist.

In this case, we inflate the bands to what we call your optimal pressure, whatever the appropriate pressure is for you, and you can untether yourself from the machine and go ahead and do whatever exercise or motion that you want. We recommend limiting that to 20 minutes.”

In short, the cycling mode allows you to exercise even when you cannot perform a regular workout. For example, if you’re bedridden, or are just starting a training program, have limited mobility due to excess weight, if you’ve broken a bone or have recently had surgery — these are all instances where the cycling mode can be extremely beneficial.

“They’re not going to go to a gym. They might not even want to lift dumbbells. In this case, we can do the KAATSU cycle and just ask them to move their limbs very slowly as they contract their muscles,” Munatones says. “That has the same effect as untethering the bands and doing what we call KAATSU training [while] lifting dumbbells.”

The training mode, meanwhile, is great for athletes and anyone who wants to maximize the benefits from their regular exercise, such as their walking or swimming routine. You can detach the air tubes from the bands once they’re inflated, which allows you unrestricted mobility to do whatever exercise you want, while wearing the bands.

The Older You Are, the More You Need BFR

While great for competitive athletes, BFR can radically transform the health of our aging population, as it effectively improves vascular and cognitive function, and lowers your risk for both osteoporosis (brittle bones) and sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss).

Without question, the older you are, the more you need BFR training. Even if it doesn’t improve your life span (which it probably would), it will undoubtedly improve your health span — the number of years you remain in good health before you die.

While great for competitive athletes, BFR can radically transform the health of our aging population, as it effectively improves vascular and cognitive function, and lowers your risk for both osteoporosis and sarcopenia.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a very important coenzyme in your body that has become increasingly appreciated for its influence on health and mitochondrial function in the last decade. BFR has been shown to increase NAD levels by 30%, and that can have a profound influence on your health span.

life sustaining benefits of nad

NAD supplements and precursors can cost between $1 and $2 per day, and that alone can help justify the cost of the equipment; you don’t have to pay for expensive supplements because your body makes it.

As you age and start losing muscle, you also lose protein stores, and this can significantly increase your risk of dying if you get ill or injured. You need the protein reserve that muscle mass provides, and BFR, in my experience, is one of the most effective ways to improve your muscle mass and strength.

I think it’s important to understand that KAATSU is not some fly-by-night marketing gimmick. It’s nothing short of a fitness revolution. While still relatively unknown, once people — especially health professionals — get a taste of what it can do, there’s no doubt it’ll become a mainstay.

Helpful Training Resources

To learn more, check out my BFR Training PDF. There you will also find the details and specific videos and instructions on how to perform BFR and the various equipment options that are available.

You can also find a free training program on KAATSU.com. This can be particularly useful right now, as many gyms are still closed. Live online ZOOM training sessions are given every Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Pacific time.

Access it by going to KAATSU.com and clicking on the banner on the top of the page. Each session is also recorded, so if you cannot attend live, you can find the replay on KAATSUBLOG.com. Laurel Kuzins, who leads the workout, is a certified KAATSU, yoga, Pilates and high-intensity trainer.

How Exercise May Reduce Your Risk of Death From COVID-19


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/05/01/does-exercise-boost-immune-system.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola     Fact Checked
does exercise boost immune system

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Being healthy and having a robust immune system is your primary defense against COVID-19. Aside from old age, people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of complications from the disease, and obesity has been found to be the biggest determinant for whether a patient will require hospitalization
  • Many studies have linked obesity to lowered immune function and increased risk of infection
  • Exercise is a foundational health strategy that will strengthen your immune function via several mechanisms
  • According to recent research, exercising regularly may help prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lethal complication and major cause of death among patients with COVID-19
  • Your muscles create and excrete an endogenous antioxidant called extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD), which protects your tissues and prevents disease by eliminating harmful free radicals. You enhance EcSOD secretion by exercising. A decrease in EcSOD is seen in many diseases, including acute lung disease

If the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s the importance of being healthy and having a robust immune response. Aside from old age, people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of complications from the disease, and obesity has been found to be the biggest determinant — after old age — for whether a patient will require hospitalization.1,2

Obesity Is a Risk Factor for Severe COVID-19 Disease

Obese COVID-19 patients are even at greater risk than those with cardiovascular disease or heart disease, according to NYU Grossman School researchers.3 This shouldn’t come as a tremendous surprise, considering previous studies4,5,6,7,8,9 have linked obesity to lowered immune function and increased risk of infection.

As noted in one such study,10 “there is a positive feedback loop between local inflammation in adipose tissue and altered immune response in obesity.” Yet another scientific review11 pointed out “There is strong evidence indicating that excess adiposity negatively impacts immune function and host defense in obese individuals,” and a 2018 review article explained:12

“Adipose tissue is now considered an extremely active endocrine organ that secretes cytokine-like hormones, called adipokines, either pro- or anti-inflammatory factors bridging metabolism to the immune system.

Leptin is historically one of most relevant adipokines, with important physiological roles in the central control of energy metabolism and in the regulation of metabolism-immune system interplay, being a cornerstone of the emerging field of immunometabolism.

Indeed, leptin receptor is expressed throughout the immune system and leptin has been shown to regulate both innate and adaptive immune responses.” 

The good news, of course, is that you have a lot of control over your own health. Obesity, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are all reversible, and if you want to prepare for the next pandemic (which is already being promised), you’d be wise to start improving your health rather than simply masking or “managing” your symptoms with drugs.

Exercise May Lower COVID-19 Mortality Risk

Aside from eating a healthy whole food (ideally organic) diet and implementing time-restricted eating, exercise is a foundational health strategy that will strengthen your immune function.13,14

According to recent research15,16,17 published in the March 19, 2020, issue of Redox Biology, exercising regularly may also help prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lethal complication and major cause of death among patients with COVID-19. As reported by the University of Virginia Health System:18

“A review by Zhen Yan, Ph.D., of the School of Medicine, showed that medical research findings ‘strongly support’ the possibility that exercise can prevent or at least reduce the severity of ARDS, which affects between 3% and 17% of all patients with COVID-19.

Based on available information, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 20% to 42% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 will develop ARDS. The range for patients admitted to intensive care is estimated at 67% to 85%.

Research conducted prior to the pandemic suggested that approximately 45 percent of patients who develop severe ARDS will die. ‘All you hear now is either social distancing or ventilator, as if all we can do is either avoiding exposure or relying on a ventilator to survive if we get infected,’ Yan said.

‘The flip side of the story is that approximately 80% of confirmed COVID-19 patients have mild symptoms with no need of respiratory support. The question is why. Our findings about an endogenous antioxidant enzyme provide important clues and have intrigued us to develop a novel therapeutic for ARDS caused by COVID-19.”

The endogenous antioxidant (meaning it’s made inside your body) in question is extracellular superoxide dismutase (EcSOD), which is made in and excreted from your muscles into your blood circulation. EcSOD protects tissues and prevents disease by eliminating harmful free radicals, and the way you enhance EcSOD secretion is by exercising.

Yan’s research shows a decrease in EcSOD is seen in many diseases, including acute lung disease, ischemic heart disease and kidney failure. Even a single exercise session has been shown to increase production of this valuable antioxidant, so Yan urges people to “find ways to exercise even while maintaining social distancing,” the University of Virginia writes.19

“We often say that exercise is medicine. EcSOD set a perfect example that we can learn from the biological process of exercise to advance medicine. While we strive to learn more about the mysteries about the superb benefits of regular exercise, we do not have to wait until we know everything,” Yan says.

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Exercise Helps Shape Your Immune System

In related news, a review20 published in the journal Nutrients, February 28, 2020, details how physical activity and diet shape your immune system during aging. As summarized in the abstract:

“With increasing age, the immune system undergoes a remodeling process, termed immunosenescence, which is accompanied by considerable shifts in leukocyte subpopulations and a decline in various immune cell functions.

Clinically, immunosenescence is characterized by increased susceptibility to infections, a more frequent reactivation of latent viruses, decreased vaccine efficacy, and an increased prevalence of autoimmunity and cancer.

Physiologically, the immune system has some adaptive strategies to cope with aging … While a lack of physical activity, decreased muscle mass, and poor nutritional status facilitate immunosenescence and inflammaging, lifestyle factors such as exercise and dietary habits affect immune aging positively.”

Importantly, the review details how exercise helps improve immunosenescence and slows down the aging processes of both the innate and adaptive arms of your immune system. Studies have shown it improves the function of natural killer (NK) cells and neutrophils (white blood cells), which are part of your innate immune system.

Intervention trials have also demonstrated exercise improves hallmarks of innate immunity, such as reducing certain proinflammatory monocytes (which are indicative of infection).

“Overall, results have indicated that increasing habitual physical activity enhances your innate immune functions, which is indicative of reduced infection risk and inflammatory potential,” the review notes.

Exercise has also been shown to improve mitogen-induced T-cell proliferation, which is associated with improved functioning of the adaptive immune system. Importantly, studies have confirmed that “exercise induces cell death in apoptosis-resistant senescent T-cells … Thus … regular physical activity is able to … partially reduce the age-related decline of T-cell functions.”

Blood Flow Restriction Training Is Ideal for Most

There are many types of exercise but my absolute favorite is blood flow restriction (BFR) training, which I detail in my special report, “What You Need to Know About Blood Flow Restriction Training.” This is largely because it is the nearly perfect strategy for anyone over 50 or 60 to gain muscle mass with minimal risk or injury.

Please review my detailed BFR article from January 2020 (linked above) with many videos that provides you with very specific instructions on how to implement.

This type of training not only will add solid muscle mass — which, again excretes the endogenous antioxidant EcSOD, discussed in the first section of this article — but also will significantly increase your strength and endurance while reducing body fat. For most people who are not competitive athletes, it’s really the only form of resistance training they need.

One of the reasons it is so useful is that BFR increases nitric oxide, which is now being studied as a treatment for COVID-19 at Harvard Medical School, according to The New York Times.21 BFR also triggers a metabolic cascade that actually reverses, in some ways, many aging characteristics. For example, it:

  • Stimulates the production of endogenous “fitness” hormones such as human growth hormone and IGF-1.22
  • Causes the release of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha),23 which in turn increases the hormone vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) — one of the most powerful angiogenic signals in your body. Essentially, VEGF acts as “fertilizer” for growing new blood vessels and capillaries to your muscle stem cells. BFR has been shown to raise VEGF levels by 410% in young adults,24 and boost muscle stem cells by 380% after eight days of training.25
  • Downregulates a hormone called myostatin, which is a negative regulator of muscle growth and mass.26,27,28,29 When your myostatin levels are high you simply are unable to grow muscle. This is important because the elderly have higher levels than the young.30 Since myostatin is a negative regulator of muscle growth that suppresses protein synthesis,31,32 inhibiting myostatin will help increase muscle protein synthesis and thus muscle mass.33,34
  • Raises your lactate level, which your brain uses as fuel.35,36 Lactate also increases brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF),37 a brain growth factor that contributes to neuroplasticity and enhances cognitive performance.38,39

I have been exercising for over half a century and have never seen a strategy that improves overall metabolic and physical health as well as this strategy, especially in those over 60. I started using BFR a bit over a year ago and have never had as much lean muscle mass as I now have.

It gets even better, as weights are nearly impossible to purchase now and most gyms are closed. You don’t even need to use weights with BFR if you don’t want to. It can be implemented with bodyweight training, for example, or you could use inexpensive elastic bands in lieu of weights, which you can still purchase, and they are far less expensive than weights.

Resistance Bands Are an Inexpensive Fitness Tool

If you’ve been looking for fitness paraphernalia lately, you may have noticed it’s hard to find hand weights anymore. They’re sold out just about everywhere, as more people are looking for exercise tools to use at home while they’re sheltering in place. The good news is you don’t need weights, especially if you’re doing BFR.

A simple and inexpensive alternative is to use resistance bands — elastic rubber bands or ropes available in different shapes, sizes and resistance levels. Most brands offer light, medium and heavy bands that are adjustable, allowing you to be creative with your workouts.

Once you stretch the bands, the resistance increases, particularly at the end of your range of motion where strength is rising or already at its peak. This causes the muscles to be targeted differently and assists in developing functional muscle movements.

Resistance bands also promote changes in your movements’ velocity and train muscles to adapt to changes, unlike dumbbells or barbells that partly rely on momentum, rendering a portion of free weight exercises actually weightless.

Resistance bands can be used for a full-body workout, and are helpful if you want to target areas in your upper or lower body, arms, hips, legs and glutes.

Adding resistance bands to a dynamic routine for ball-and-socket joints like the hips and shoulders can warm up your muscles, challenge them to work against little resistance and increase circulation and movement.

For a sample fitness routine using resistance bands, see the video above. Remember, no matter what exercise you do, something is better than nothing, and when done consistently, over time, you’ll improve your health and lower your risk of not only COVID-19 but all viral and infectious disease.

– Sources and References

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:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/boosting-mitochondrial-biogenesis-ginger

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
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on:  Thursday, January 23rd 2020 at 3:15 pm
Written By:  Isa Herrera
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

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.

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
December 30, 2019

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