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The old calorie-counting method may work the first time, but bounces back into even more weight gain. Correct nutrition means minimal carbohydrate, moderate protein, healthy fats, Vitamin D3, combined with exercise for a great, healthy body.

 

Fatty liver disease dramatically increases your risk of hospitalization with coronavirus, NEW study reveals

by:  | June 27, 2020

nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease(NaturalHealth365) We already know that around 30% of Americans are affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that’s become a major epidemic within the United States. Unfortunately, not only does this disease result in a $32 billion per year burden on the healthcare system, but being one of the one in four individuals affected by NAFLD now means that you may have a higher risk of being hospitalized with coronavirus, too.

new study, done by Perspectum and UK BioBank, discovered that fatty liver was a major risk factor for being hospitalized with COVID-19. For the 30% of Americans who have a fatty liver – many without knowing it – that’s a serious consideration.

High levels of liver fat linked to higher risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization

According to this joint study, people who had over 10 percent fat in their liver had twice the chance of being hospitalized with coronavirus than those with healthier levels of fat within the liver. The study looked at over 42,000 liver scans from volunteers at the UK Bio Bank, as well as 397 patients who were hospitalized with coronavirus.

Researchers discovered that obesity alone didn’t increase the risk of COVID-related complications, but fatty liver did.  As long as individuals who were overweight or obese had liver fat in a healthy range, they had no additional risk of developing complications due to the coronavirus.

On the other hand, individuals who were obese with fatty liver were two-and-a-half times more likely to end up in the hospital due to the coronavirus infection.

We already knew that NAFLD can progress to serious health consequences, but this new study shows the health risks that fatty liver poses, even before it progresses to complications like liver scarring and inflammation.

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

Preventing the silent disease of fatty liver

The key author of this new research, Dr. Matt Kelley – who is the Chief Innovation Officer at Perspectum – noted that fatty liver is a silent disease, and if we had a better idea of who had it, healthcare professionals could keep a closer eye on these patients.  It’s one more reminder that it’s critical for the medical field to do a better job at screening patients for this type of liver disease.

However, since diet and lifestyle are key risk factors in fatty liver, it’s possible to prevent the silent disease, reducing your risk for complications due to coronavirus infection.  Eliminating refined carbohydrates (simple, processed sugars), toxic (conventionally-produced) fats, and alcohol from your diet can help.

Of course, a diet free from pesticides and GMOs is also critical to preventing liver damage.

In addition to avoiding certain destructive foods, adding healing or detoxifying items to your diet can help you to prevent liver disease.   For example, try eating more cruciferous vegetables like, kale, broccoli, cauliflower  and Brussels sprouts.  Plus, don’t forget to pick out some iron-rich foods like cilantro, arugula, and parsley.

In terms of supplementation, milk thistle extract has been shown to reduce the inflammatory markers associated with fatty liver disease, and it may even help rejuvenate or repair liver cells.  If you are dealing with a serious liver health problem, be sure to seek out the advice of an experienced (integrative) healthcare provider.  But, don’t wait any longer, because a healthy life needs a healthy liver.

Sources for this article include:

Express.co.uk
NaturalHealth365.com

Coconut Water Reduces Body Weight and Blood Sugar

© 24th June 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:
https://greenmedinfo.com/blog/coconut-water-reduces-body-weight-and-blood-sugar

Posted on: Wednesday, June 24th 2020 at 3:45 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

Fresh coconut water is a staple in many diets around the world, including those of India and other tropical countries. But it goes beyond being a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink. Here’s a rundown of its research-backed benefits, such as decreased blood glucose and body weight for improved health

Coconut water is nature’s gift in one complete package. It’s the liquid found in the center of a young, green coconut, helping nourish the fruit. Its wide range of applications is justified by its unique chemical composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, as well as phytohormones.[i]

The average green coconut offers about one-half to 1 cup of coconut water. One cup contains 46 calories along with 9 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 3 g of fiber, 2 g of protein, 11% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium and 17% of the RDI of potassium.[ii]

Coconut is known to be an excellent alternative to sports drinks, a natural refreshing beverage that could be used for whole-body rehydration post-exercise.[iii] Nature also filters coconut water through an intensive purification process, eliminating safety issues commonly tied with municipal water systems and even sports beverages comprising synthetic ingredients.

Let’s recap some of the whole-body benefits of consuming fresh coconut water, starting with a 2018 study looking into its effects on body weight and glucose levels.

Slashing Blood Glucose and Excess Pounds Naturally

A group of researchers sought to compare the effects of higher saturated fatty acid and fiber intake, as provided by fresh coconut, and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and fiber intake via a combination of groundnut oil and groundnuts.[iv] They then measured indicators such as blood insulin and glucose levels, along with blood pressure, in healthy adults.

The researchers divided the 80 healthy subjects they recruited into two randomized groups, consuming a standardized diet along with either 100 g of fresh coconut or an equal amount of groundnuts and groundnut oil for 90 days.

The results showed that fasting blood sugar in both groups was significantly reduced. Yet they also observed a significant reduction in body weight in the coconut group, along with a notable increase in diastolic pressure in the groundnut group.

The researchers noted, “Fresh coconut-added diet helps reduce blood glucose levels and body weight in normal healthy individuals.” This supports previous studies that vouch for the blood-sugar lowering action of the natural drink, offering potential anti-diabetes benefits despite its naturally sweet taste.[v]

Interestingly, while groundnut intake reflected an increase in diastolic pressure, coconut was shown in previous research to push down systolic and diastolic pressures in hypertensive subjects.[vi] Additional animal research shows coconut water prevents and reverses fructose feeding-induced high blood pressure, along with reducing oxidative stress and insulin resistance.[vii]

Coconut water vinegar, too, has been promoted as a food ingredient with potential anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects, thanks to alterations in the gut microbiota due to increased populations of Bacteroides and Akkermansia genera bacteria.[viii]

Other Wondrous Health Benefits of Coconut

  • Anti-ulcer properties: Both coconut water and coconut milk demonstrate strong anti-ulcer activity against chemicals such as indomethacin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).[ix]
  • Lipid-lowering action: Coconut water has a lipid-modulating effect similar to the drug lovastatin in rats fed a fat- and cholesterol-enriched diet.[x]
  • Alzheimer’s disease protection: In a novel study, young coconut juice showed positive future implications in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in menopausal women.[xi]
  • Sperm preservation: A coconut water-based extender, ACP-116c, along with 20% egg yolk and 3% glycerol, was effective for the cryopreservation of semen.[xii]
  • Antibacterial benefits: Three peptides were purified and identified from green coconut water, exhibiting remarkable antimicrobial action against pathogenic bacteria.[xiii]
  • Kidney stone fighter: In a study on rats with kidney stones, coconut water barred crystals from sticking to the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract. In addition, it slashed the number of crystals formed in the urine.[xiv]

While pure, clear water remains the beverage of choice to stay cool and hydrated, some ice-cold natural coconut water can be a sound option, replacing electrolytes lost from sweating without the added sugar. Its close kin, coconut oil, is equally celebrated for its own set of healing and nourishing benefits.


References

[i] Yong JW et al “The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water” Molecules. 2009 Dec 9;14(12):5144-64.

[ii] SELF Nutrition Data https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3115/2

[iii] Mohamed S et al “Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water” J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar;21(2):93-104.

[iv] Venogupal V et al “Diet Enriched With Fresh Coconut Decreases Blood Glucose Levels and Body Weight in Normal Adults” J Complement Integr Med. 2018 Feb 20;15(3).

[v] “Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes” Food Funct. 2012 Jul;3(7):753-7

[vi] T Alleyne et al “The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks” West Indian Med J. 2005 Jan;54(1):3-8.

[vii] Therapeutic effects of tender coconut water on oxidative stress in fructose fed insulin resistant hypertensive rats. act Source: Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Apr ;5(4):270-6.

[viii] Nurul Elyani et al “Dietary coconut water vinegar for improvement of obesity-associated inflammation in high-fat-diet-treated mice” Food Nutr Res. 2017 ;61(1):1368322. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

[ix] R O Nneli et al “Antiulcerogenic effects of coconut (Cocos nucifera) extract in rats” Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):970-2.

[x] V G Sandhya et al “Comparative evaluation of the hypolipidemic effects of coconut water and lovastatin in rats fed fat-cholesterol enriched diet” Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3586-92. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

[xi] Nisaudah R et al “Young coconut juice, a potential therapeutic agent that could significantly reduce some pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease: novel findings” Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar ;105(5):738-46. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

[xii] M A Silva et al “Cryopreservation of collared peccaries (Tayassu tajacu) semen using a powdered coconut water (ACP-116c) based extender plus various concentrations of egg yolk and glycerol” Theriogenology. 2012 Apr 24. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

[xiii] Santi M et al “Identification and structural insights of three novel antimicrobial peptides isolated from green coconut water” Peptides. 2009 Apr;30(4):633-7. Epub 2008 Dec 6.

[xiv] Gandhi M et al “Prophylactic effect of coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) on ethylene glycol induced nephrocalcinosis in male wistar rat” Int Braz J Urol. 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):108-17.

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.

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Best Diet on the Planet?

© 28th 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:
https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/mediterranean-diet-best-diet-planet

Posted on: Tuesday, January 28th 2020 at 1:15 pm

The Mediterranean Diet has been rated as the healthiest diet on the planet three years in a row, and as the meals are simple to prepare and truly delicious, it has also been ranked as the easiest diet to follow long term

The diet itself is based upon the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as middle eastern and northern African countries.

What these cuisines have in common is the consumption of fresh, seasonal, whole foods featuring vegetablesfruitsbeansnutsherbs and spices; the predominate use of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oils; moderate amounts of seafood and poultry; and the moderate consumption of red wine. What the Mediterranean diet specifically has avoided is processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Red meats are rarely on the menu or are used sparingly to flavor a dish.

Overall, a Mediterranean eating plan is extremely versatile. You can follow a vegetarian version very easily. You can skip breakfast and include partial intermittent fasting and benefit from ketosis several mornings per week. And as I’ll expand upon shortly, you can also limit the glycemic load (sugar-load) to enhance blood sugar control and weight loss.

For 2020, The US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet as:

  • The best diet overall
  • The best diabetes diet
  • The best diet for healthy eating
  • The best plant-based diet
  • The easiest diet to follow

It won similar awards in 2018 and 2019. These honors should not be too surprising, as Mediterranean countries have some of the longest life spans on the planet and they have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and obesity than nearly all other western countries. The people of Spain, who follow the Mediterranean diet perhaps the closest, have the longest lifespan and the best health of any country in the Western world, and are anticipated to surpass Japan for longest lived country on the planet by 2030.

Considering all these benefits, I felt compelled to write a book, The Mediterranean Method, to help promote this eating plan and to make it simple to follow. The research included reading nearly 1,000 scientific journal articles, plus, my wife Nicole and I bought a sailboat in Europe with the goal to evaluate the food, lifestyle, and health habits of people living on the Mediterranean Sea. We spent 10 months sailing from Spain to Turkey during the spring and summers of 2018 and 2019. We followed the coastline along Spain, France, Corsica, western Italy, across to Greece and through the Cyclade Islands, and on to Turkey. We visited small ports, food markets, mom and pop family run restaurants, and searched for regional recipes that were easy to prepare, delicious, and healthy. What was amazing was how inexpensive and delicious the food was. And how opinionated locals were about how to prepare a dish within each region. Whether one worked in a food market, at a gas station, or drove a taxi, everyone cared about what ingredients went into local dishes and how they were prepared.

Let’s look more closely at the top three health benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet:

  • Better Weight Control
  • Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease
  • Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Memory Loss

Better Weight Control

In 2016, Dr. Joseph Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight-loss trials with more than 1,000 subjects on various dietary regimens including low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean. These subjects were followed for at least 12 months, a meaningful length of time given most people lose weight in the short term and regain it later. The research found that the Mediterranean Diet was more effective than the low-fat diet, and equally as effective as a low-carb diet over the long-term. What’s more, they concluded that those following the Mediterranean Diet not only lost weight, but they had the best improvements in lipid and metabolic profile. The typical weight loss ranged from 10 to 22 pounds lost throughout the 12-months.

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease remains the #1 killer for men and women, even though studies have shown we can prevent 90 percent of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes–our biggest challenge is finding a diet and lifestyle that people are willing to follow long-term.

In 2003, the Greek EPIC trial showed that the closer subjects followed a Mediterranean eating plan, the lower their rate of cardiovascular events. Subsequent studies have shown that the closer people living outside the Mediterranean follow this same diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy.

Then in 2018, the large-scale landmark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the cardiovascular-fighting reputation of the Mediterranean Diet; those who followed a Mediterranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet.

Data published from my own clinic has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shrinks their artery plaque load over time (measured with carotid ultrasound testing), and amazingly, hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load over an average of 2-3 years.

Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss

The most expensive disease in the U.S. and most western countries is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $278 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years.

Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent dementia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for multiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progression to dementia than those in the Mediterranean diet group.

Many other studies have also shown cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S.

Data published from my own clinic confirmed that the closer a person follows these dietary recommendations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.

Myths Regarding a Mediterranean Diet

Despite the many health benefits of this eating plan, and the delicious food it provides, there are several misunderstandings that threaten to eliminate these benefits. Let’s clarify several right now, dealing with the top six myths.

MYTH #1. YOU CAN EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FOOD YOU WANT

There’s no need to put a hard limit on daily servings of vegetables (you won’t overdo it because you’ll naturally fill up on fiber), but it is possible, for instance, to overeat walnuts or almond butter, or use too much olive oil, particularly if you’re dipping pieces of bread into it.

MYTH #2. EATING MEDITERRANEAN MEANS EATING PASTA, BREAD AND PIZZA

You can easily overdo the portion size, even with whole grains. When you see grains and cereals on the Mediterranean diet, this doesn’t mean a giant platter of pasta, unlimited bread (even if it’s organic and whole grain), or bowls of rice (even if it’s brown rice). It’s important to control your portions of grains and cereals, and as you’ll read in a moment, of all the food components listed in the Mediterranean diet, whole grains provide the least health benefit.

Further, when you grind a grain into flour, such as bread, that processed grain has a much higher glycemic load (sugar load) than the same amount of whole grain. If we want healthy blood sugar control, we all need to limit or avoid even whole grain products that are processed into flour—such as bread, crackers, cake, and pancakes.

MYTH #3. EATING SEAFOOD ON OCCASION WILL BENEFIT YOUR HEART

Eating fish merely a few times a month won’t yield the disease-fighting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly for the heart and brain. Because of the benefits from consuming long chain omega-3 fats that are found only in seafood, aim to eat seafood at least twice a week–preferably three to five times per week. Seafood includes fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

If you are vegetarian, or avoid fish and shellfish for other reasons, plan to either eat seaweed several times per week, as in a cup portion of seaweed salad, or take a seaweed DHA supplement daily.

MYTH #4. ALL CHEESES (AND YOGURTS) ARE CREATED EQUAL

Treating pasteurized cheese as a go-to food–compared, for example, with raw, probiotic-rich and vitamin K2-loaded camembert–is a mistake. The same goes for yogurt and kefir. Many of my patients are shocked when I explain that fruit-flavored yogurt has more sugar than ice cream. As with so many components of the Mediterranean diet, when choosing your foods, simple and unsweetened is best.

If you avoid dairy products, you still need some source of probiotic food source, which can easily be obtained by using coconut yogurt sources, and other pickled foods, such as sauerkraut, olives, capers, and Asian foods such as miso and kombucha.

MYTH #5. YOU CAN SKIP THE BEANS

Don’t miss out on this fiber-packed superfood that is one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar, and it’s the #1 all-time top food for blocking disease-causing oxidation. They are also loaded with fiber, protein, B vitamins, and calcium. In Mediterranean cuisine, beans are the healthy foundation for countless meals and are used often as a side dish as well.

However, 10% of people appear to be lectin intolerant–they develop major gastrointestinal symptoms when they consume beans. The process of soaking (so called sprouting) appears to help, but if you have a lectin intolerance, just like any food intolerance, then avoid beans.

MYTH #6. YOU CAN USE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR ALL YOUR COOKING NEEDS

Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil for high-heat cooking, or even medium-high heat. Once it reaches 400ºF–its smoke point, the maximum temperature it can reach before it breaks down and becomes a damaged fat–extra-virgin olive oil starts losing nutritional value, not to mention its complex and delicate flavors. For medium-high heat cooking, use avocado and/or almond oil) instead.

Save flavorful extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over foods, making dressings, and for low or medium heat cooking.

Adapting the Mediterranean Diet to the 21st Century

Despite all these clear health benefits, there are some limitations related to the Mediterranean diet that should be applied to living in the 21st century.

First, the original Mediterranean diet was followed by farmers, fisherman, and herders–men and women who were physically active for 6 to 10 hours per day. Very few can achieve this much movement today. We therefore need to modify an eating plan with a lower glycemic load to match our activity level.

Second, studies that have evaluated the Mediterranean diet have also assessed what components of the traditional eating plan had the most and least health benefit. Results from the EPIC trial showed that consuming vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and olive oil provided the greatest benefit, and eating whole grains provided the least–likely related to their glycemic load.

A more recent study, The EPIC Greek Cohort study, published in 2012, analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, and glycemic load intake. It concluded that those who adhered to a Mediterranean Diet and had the lowest glycemic load intake had the best health benefits of all. And if the subjects were overweight, the benefits of following a low-glycemic load version of a Mediterranean Diet were even greater.

This low-glycemic version has the added advantage of appealing to many people who have already shifted towards a low-carb and/or Paleo eating plan, and switching from a low-carb to a Mediterranean diet will usually increase their nutrient dramatically.

Beyond Food

Though there are many proven benefits to following a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle are not solely limited to food intake. Mediterranean people are more active than we are in the U.S., they spend more time walking and cycling to work and for daily shopping, and they spend more time outdoors and with nature.

How they eat is important as well. They enjoy long, leisurely meals typically with friends and family, which fosters close social connections, which is likely related to the fact that they have lower rates of anxiety and depression than are found in the U.S.

Summary

Let me share my version of the food and lifestyle pyramid of a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet, adapted from my book, The Mediterranean Method.

The pyramid’s foundation is the lifestyle, which features activity, social interaction, cooking, and mindful-leisurely eating.

Foods and beverages that are consumed daily include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, yogurt, dark chocolate, and water, with moderate intake of red wine and coffee or tea. Seafood, poultry, eggs, and other probiotic-rich dairy products are on the menu several times a week, although a vegetarian or vegan version without animal protein is very feasible. Whole grains are also an option, although served in small portions (and gluten free as needed).

Unlike many diets that are popular today, notice that almost no real foods are completely banned–for a special occasion, you can still enjoy special treats that fit the affair–the key is that you limit them to a special event, and that you eat real, unprocessed food.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a short-term eating plan. It has been followed for centuries, generation after generation, tested in numerous long-term clinical studies, and been found to be the best diet on the planet for long term adherence and for healthy eating. The food is delicious, generally simple and easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. This is an eating plan that truly combines proven health benefits with delicious food–no other diet can embrace the saying as well–To Your Health & Bon Appétit!

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.

Five Evidence-Based Ways to Boost Testosterone

© 27th 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/five-evidence-based-ways-boost-testosterone
Posted on: Friday, December 27th 2019 at 3:15 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

Low levels of testosterone can come with glaring symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and reduced bone mass. Before opting for hormone replacement therapy and facing the risk of serious side effects, here are five science-backed ways to optimize your testosterone levels naturally

In the face of aging and the treatment’s increasing popularity, many men around the world immediately opt for testosterone replacement therapy. While significant results may manifest in no time, there can be serious consequences down the road, particularly if the underlying cause of low testosterone isn’t addressed properly. Here are five things that you can explore for a natural testosterone boost:

1. Zinc

deficiency in zinc, an essential dietary mineral, has long been associated with testicular suppression, including suppression of testosterone levels. A 1996 study found a significant reduction in the blood testosterone of healthy young men after 20 weeks of zinc restriction.[i] It also revealed that six-month zinc supplementation in marginally deficient elderly men translated to a testosterone boost.

While research demonstrates that poor zinc levels in the diet can adversely affect testicular function, it is a reversible process and can be corrected via proper supplementation.[ii]

The exact mechanism behind how zinc deficiency exactly affects testosterone levels is yet to be fully understood, but the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone.[iii] Zinc helps your immune system function properly, plays a role in cell division and helps enzymes break down nutrients.

2. Magnesium

Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects testosterone and total insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).[iv] The age-related decline in these anabolic hormones is deemed a strong predictor of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as mortality in elderly men.

One proposed mechanism behind this mineral’s testosterone-enhancing role is its ability to inhibit the binding of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in an enhancement of bioavailable testosterone.[v]

3. Weight Management

Weight gain and related chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have been strongly tied to a reduction in testosterone, especially in middle-aged and elderly men.[vi],[vii] Here’s how it works: as you gain weight as fat, your testosterone production drops. However, this can be reversed through weight loss via adjustments in diet and lifestyle.

4. Vitamin D

A dose of sunshine can be a handy solution to low testosterone levels, with studies vouching for vitamin D‘s impact on regulating testosterone levels.[viii] Ideally, you would be able to get all the vitamin D your body needs through optimal sun exposure. This, however, may not be the case for those who live far from the equator, are dark skinned or spend most of their time indoors. Here’s GreenMedInfo.health’s review and recommendations for vitamin D.

5. Adequate Quality Sleep

One of the insidious effects of regular lack of high-quality sleep is decreased testosterone production. A 2013 study probed the effects of 33 hours of sleep loss on endocrine function as well as reactive aggression in 24 young men and 25 women, and found that sleep deprivation lowered testosterone in the male subjects.[ix]

There’s a double whammy here, as sleeplessness also facilitates fat gain, which, as mentioned earlier, is linked  to impaired testosterone production.[x]

Scientific findings are quick to show that correcting a mineral or nutrient deficiency or insufficiency may raise low testosterone levels. For further information, check out the GreenMedInfo.com testosterone database to better learn how to increase testosterone naturally.


References

[i] Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.

[ii] J Lab Clin Med. 1980 Sep;96(3):544-50.

[iii] J Nutr. 2011 Mar; 141(3): 359-365.

[iv] Int J Androl. 2011 Dec;34(6 Pt 2):e594-600. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01193.x. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

[v] J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2009 Feb 20;49(2):175-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2008.10.041. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

[vi] J Clin Endocrinol Metab.  2011 Aug;96(8):2341-53. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

[vii] J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Apr;95(4):1810-8. Epub 2010 Feb 19.

[viii] Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

[ix] Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):249-56. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

[x] Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 5;153(7):435-41. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006.

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 You Need to Know About Blood Flow Restriction Training


Reproduced from original article:
https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2020/01/03/kaatsu-blood-flow-restriction-training.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
January 03, 2020

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Blood flow restriction (BFR) training involves very slightly restricting arterial inflow and enabling moderation (or “slowing”) of venous outflow at the top of the arms or legs while exercising either the arm, leg or core muscles with very low weights but high repetition to failure
  • BFR allows you to significantly enhance strength and increase muscle mass using as little as 20 to 30% of your single-rep max (1 RM) weight compared to conventional strength training that uses 70 to 85% of your 1 RM. Alternatively, for those who cannot or do not want to use weights, you can contract your muscles and move them very slowly with the BFR bands on
  • Use of lighter weights makes BFR far safer than conventional strength training and makes it available to a much broader range of individuals, including the elderly and patients with disabilities or injuries
  • Venous blood flow restriction is achieved by wrapping the extremity being exercised with an inflatable cuff or band. The band needs to be tight enough to reduce the normal level of venous return to the heart, while being loose enough to allow arterial flow-through
  • BFR is actually a form of high intensity training, as the Type I slow twitch muscle fibers become highly fatigued during the first set, thus necessitating the recruitment of Type II fast twitch muscle fibers as the exercise progresses, which is likely for many of the metabolic benefits of BFR
Dr. Sato

Sato, the 73-year-old inventor of KAATSU

The origins of blood flow restriction (BFR) training, also known as vascular occlusion training, were developed by the pioneering professor Yoshiaki Sato of Japan over 50 years ago.

In Japan, where it is widely practiced, the technique is called KAATSU, meaning “additional pressure,” and was generically defined as BFM (blood flow moderation) by Sato.

As explained in a recent exercise position paper,1 BFR involves “partially slowing” arterial inflow and partially modifying venous outflow” of the exercising muscle on the extremities.

With this exercise innovation, you’re able to significantly enhance your strength and muscle mass using a fraction of the weight used in conventional strength training,2 in about half the time it would normally take. Because the weight is so low, the risk for injuries is radically reduced.

Research3 also shows it stimulates the production of endogenous hormones, such as human growth hormone and IGF-1, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormones.”

Increased IGF in the Muscle Is Actually Good

IGF-1 is typically secreted from the liver, which is the largest contributor to circulating IGF-1, and when the liver secretes IGF-1 it will not act on those tissues that have capabilities of producing the hormone themselves, such as skeletal muscle.4

Interestingly, it is not the circulating levels of IGF-1 in your blood that causes your muscles to grow, but the intrinsic secretion of IGF-1 produced by your muscle when you engage in exercises like BFR that is the key determinant for switching on anabolic muscle building pathways.5

This is an important distinction as it is well documented that high circulating levels of IGF-1 in your blood will inhibit autophagy and decrease your longevity.6 This does not appear to be the case when you increase IGF-1 in your muscle as a result of exercise. This IGF-1 does not leak out into your blood to suppress autophagy, and additionally will serve to activate AMPK7 another powerful pro-longevity signal.

Importantly, the use of lighter weights also makes resistance training available to a much broader range of individuals,8 including the elderly and patients with various medical conditions or injuries. Since these results can also be achieved without weights, the possibilities for use by nearly everyone is exciting.

This is clearly one of the best strategies available to address the epidemic of muscle loss with aging,9 called sarcopenia, that has an estimated prevalence of 25% in adults older than 60 years,10 rising to 50% in adults older than 80 years.11

How BFR Works

how bfr works

BFR’s ability to achieve such remarkable physiological benefits is directly related to slowing venous blood flow from the muscle group being engaged and creating a relatively hypoxic environment or low oxygen pressures in the exercising muscle.

Venous flow moderation is optimally achieved by wrapping the extremity being exercised with an inflatable cuff or band. The band needs to be tight enough to slow venous return to the heart, allowing venous blood to “pool” in the region of the limb that is being exercised, while loose enough to allow arterial blood to flow through.

With very light exercise, and in about 15 to 20 minutes, you get an exhaustive workout that sends a signal to your brain that says, “Hey, I’ve done something really hard here — you better help me recover and adapt to it.”

Your brain then sends out a wide variety of powerful hormonal responses that cause your muscles and blood vessels to grow. Most would think that such light weights would be insufficient to provide any muscle strength improvements, but studies show nearly a 40% increase in muscle strength after only 12 weeks, depending on your load and health.12

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BFR Mimics Heavy Weight Training Without Any of the Risks

BFR training is frequently misunderstood as simply a conventional resistance training program with the addition of resistance bands. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Because the exercise is done with such low weights, there’s far less muscle fiber trauma and damage; especially relative to conventional strength training. This means you are able to recover much quicker, so you don’t have to dig yourself out of a hole the next few days. In most cases, you can exercise different body parts nearly every day and rapidly attain the metabolic and physical benefits.

type I and II muscle fibers

High-intensity training such as sprinting or heavy weight training have typically been recommended for increasing muscle size because they activate the fast twitch Type II muscle fibers.

In order to increase muscle mass and strength, it is important to activate fast twitch Type II muscle fibers during training, since these fibers have been shown to be more responsive to increasing muscle size than Type I fibers13 and these fibers are generally much larger.

Weight training using low weights without resistance bands will not activate Type II fibers. The reason for this is because the slow twitch Type I fibers become exhausted in the hypoxic conditions created by BFR, which then allow the Type II fibers to kick in and generate high levels of lactate, which are responsible for much of the metabolic magic.

During BFR training, the Type I fibers become highly fatigued during the first set due to the lack of oxygen, thus necessitating the recruitment of Type II fibers that create energy without oxygen as the exercise progresses.14 Simply moving light weights with high repetition without BFR will not engage Type II fibers because there is plenty of oxygen for the Type I fibers to work. Hence the fast-twitch Type II fibers just aren’t called into action.

BFR is the type of training that will not only add solid muscle mass, but also significantly increase your strength and endurance, while reducing your body fat.15,16 For most people who are not competitive athletes, it’s really the only form of resistance training they need.

Competitive athletes also seem to benefit from BFR but they would need to combine it with conventional strength training.17 In short, BFR works on a very simple principle: It tricks your body into believing that it is moving far heavier weights than you’re actually using, and as a result generates many powerful compensatory metabolic responses detailed below.

Local and Systemic Effects of BFR

If you are elderly, what is really amazing is that your muscle growth with BFR is beyond what strength training with heavy weights can do. This is because you need good blood flow to your Type II muscle fiber stem cells, and virtually everyone’s microcirculation decreases with age. So even if you send the signal to grow by doing conventional strength training, it won’t work as well if there isn’t enough capillary supply to your Type II fiber stem cells.

BFR increases your microcirculation, your capillaries and venules and arterioles that are associated with them (see image below), largely because your muscles are working in a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment.

local systematic effects bfrMicrocirculation

This low oxygen tension causes the release of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1 alpha),18 that then increases the hormone vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is one of the most powerful angiogenic or blood vessel producing signals in your body. BFR has been shown to raise VEGF levels by 410% in young adults.19

An interesting aside is that the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine was awarded for pioneering work in HIF-1 alpha and VEGF in early October 2019. Essentially VEGF acts as “fertilizer” for growing new blood vessels and capillaries to your muscle stem cells. BFR training has been shown to increase muscle stem cells by 300% after eight days of training.20

But it gets even better as VEGF not only increases microcirculation in your muscle stem cells but also in your brain and heart. In Japan, BFR is frequently used for stroke and cardiac rehab precisely for this purpose.

BFR not only stimulates VEGF but also increases the production of the important regulatory free radical, nitric oxide, which further contributes to an increase in VEGF.21 Nitric oxide is an important signaling molecule produced at high levels in muscle by neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). BFR, by way of increasing nitric oxide, has been found to stimulate muscle satellite stem cells and proliferation.22

BFR Is a Powerful Myostatin Inhibitor

But here’s the real winner: BFR also downregulates a hormone called myostatin, which is a negative regulator of muscle growth and mass.23,24,25 In other words when your myostatin levels are high you simply are unable to grow muscle.

This is important because the elderly typically have myostatin levels twice as high as the young,26 which makes it really difficult to increase muscle size and strength.

In the past, lactate was traditionally viewed as a metabolic waste product, but today it is understood that lactate is an important molecule that is responsible for many metabolic processes and results in many structural adaptations. It is even referred to as a pseudo-hormone.27

When you apply the bands and engorge the working muscle, the Type I muscle fibers which require oxygen, glucose and fat to create energy in the mitochondria rapidly give out and your muscle switches to Type II fibers that run on burning glucose without oxygen by the glycolysis pathway illustrated below.

bfr myostatin inhibitor

The lactate that your Type II muscle fibers generate during BFR actually down-regulates the production of myostatin and helps improve skeletal muscle loss. Amazingly, one study shows that with BFR “the decreases in myostatin were 41% and 45%, respectively,” which has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis.28,29,30,31

But the benefits from the lactate don’t stop there. Once you release the bands, the lactate travels from your muscles and is released into your blood stream, then travels to your brain, where a monocarboxylate transporter shuttles it into your brain to use for fuel,32,33

Once the lactate reaches your brain it increases a powerful hormone called brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).34 BDNF is a member of brain growth factors that contribute to neuroplasticity, which greatly enhances cognitive performance.35,36

Correct Band Pressure Is Crucial

woman carrying rock

As mentioned previously, the restriction bands need to be tight enough to lower the oxygen level in the exercising muscles. Arterial occlusion pressure (AOP) is defined as the pressure needed to restrict 100% of the blood flow from the limb,37 which is essentially a tourniquet. This is a dangerous scenario and needs to be avoided.

Recent research38 has shown the pressure only needs to be 60% of the AOP. Pressures higher than this don’t seem to provide any additional benefits and can be associated with increased risk for injury. The level needs to be at least 40% of AOP; otherwise, the level of muscle oxygenation and deoxygenation is not substantially different from that seen during non-BFR exercise.

Recent studies suggest that the ideal range is about 60% of AOP,39 although this is highly dependent on numerous factors such as fundamental vascular elasticity and the type of exercise being performed (e.g., anaerobic versus aerobic). There are no additional benefits of combining higher exercise intensities with higher occlusion pressures to muscle hypertrophy.

Again, the bands should not be too tight as you definitely must avoid cutting off the arterial supply to your muscles. They need to be loose enough to supply your muscle with sufficient blood flow and oxygen.

When manually applying the bands, tighten them so your skin color becomes more pink or red compared to your normal skin tone. You may also see your veins become slightly distended (popping out a bit). They should not feel uncomfortable and your skin color must not become whiter or have a bluish or grayish tone; this means that arterial flow is being restricted.

It is important to realize that your arms will swell during the exercise, which will actually tighten the bands more. Remember, another simple way to determine good “base pressure” is to have the bands tight enough that you cannot fit two fingers under the band, but loose enough that you CAN squeeze one finger under the band.

However, if the pressure is below 40% of AOP you will not occlude your veins. This will prevent the lactic acid produced during your exercise from accumulating, and you will not get the benefits.

One of the ways you can confirm that your bands are tight enough is to measure the circumference of your limb before and after the exercise. You should notice an increase of at least a one-half inch to 1 inch after your exercise, up to as much as three or four times that.

How to Confirm Proper Pressures

confirm proper occlusion

If the bands are too tight you can actually cause damage to your muscle. It’s important to carefully monitor your capillary refill times to confirm you are getting enough blood flow to your exercising limb. You can confirm that you have enough arterial flow by checking your capillary refill time.

When checking proper band pressure on your arm, it is most easily determined by pressing your index finger firmly into the palm of the opposite hand (on the arm that is under restriction) into the area just under your thumb, then quickly releasing and seeing how long the white blanched area takes to turn pink.

If it takes longer than three seconds, the bands are too tight. If the white spot turns pink immediately while the pneumatic bands are inflated (i.e., under one second), the band tightness is close to optimal. You can also check the capillary refill time on the tissue right above your knee while the pneumatic bands on your legs are inflated. Ideally it should be about two to three seconds.

If you have peripheral artery disease, this could affect these readings. If it is less than two seconds the bands are likely too loose, if the time is greater than three seconds the bands are likely too tight.

!Warning

To avoid any muscle damage from your limbs being deprived of oxygen, the bands are only put on the arms for 15 minutes at a time and 20 minutes on your legs.

Only put the bands on the extremities you’re actually exercising, and remove them before moving on to the next area. In other words, you must not conduct simultaneous BFR on both your arms and legs, as this could decrease your blood pressure enough that you might pass out.

Remember, whatever bands you use, KAATSU or less expensive BFR bands, the pressure that the cuff is inflated or tightened to should not be painful or cause any numbness. You will know if it is too tight as they will likely hurt. They are not supposed to shut down your arterial supply. If it is too tight you need to lower the pressure or loosen the bands.

How to Determine Your Ideal Level of Resistance

determine ideal level resistance

Instead of using heavy weights that can increase your risk of injury during conventional strength training, BFR is much safer, since it requires just 20% to 33% of the resistance used in conventional resistance training.

This light weight is then combined with a high volume of repetitions while externally applied compression mildly restricts blood flow to the active skeletal muscles in the legs or arms.40

As for weight, your goal is to find the “sweet” spot. If you are elderly or have not been exercising regularly, this may mean no weights at all.

Ideally, you would have access to a variety of progressively increasing resistance movements to choose from, including body weight exercises. You typically won’t need to go higher than 25 pounds, though.

Once you have access to the weights you can find the heaviest weight you can do just one repetition of your planned exercise with. This is your one rep max (1RM). Then you divide that weight by five (20%), four (25%) or three (33%). For example, if your max weight for a bicep curl is 25 pounds, you would select a 5-pound dumbbell to start.

If you don’t know your one rep maximum, then it is always better to start too low, especially if this is your first time, as your tissues will need time to adapt to these pressures and movements. Eventually you will want to increase your weight so you notice the following signs during your BFR session:

Signs That You Are Using the Correct Weight

  1. You are sweating profusely. In fact you should be sweating so much that you need a towel.
  2. Your heart rate and breathing can significantly increase, especially if you do intense BFR or any kind of vigorous aerobic exercise.
  3. The first two signs are an indication that you have activated your sympathetic nervous system by firing your Type II muscle fibers. This is because properly performed BFR is a high intensity exercise.

You can measure the circumference of your limb before and after the exercise. You should notice an increase of at least one-half inch and possibly 1 inch or more — or alternatively, the muscle will most certainly feel tighter and appear more toned.

Another great indication is that you will be able to do 30 reps the first set and then 15 to 20 reps the next and, most likely, are unable to do five to 10 reps in the last set because you are in muscle failure. It is important, though, to not fool yourself and stop just because it is hard. Muscle failure means that you are unable to do another rep if your life depended on it.

Unless you are just starting (see warning box below), it is best to start by limiting your weight to only 20% of your one rep max and build up from there if your goal is muscle hypertrophy. By starting at a lighter weight it will give your body a chance to adjust to BFR and avoid potential injuries.

An additional benefit is that if you stick with lighter weights you can train more frequently because you won’t cause as much muscle damage. For those interested in greater strength or muscle gains, you can increase to one-quarter and then to one-third the weight of your 1RM. If you are doing the exercises correctly it will likely take you about three months to progress up to 33% of your 1RM. There is no need to go any higher than this.

If you don’t know your 1 RM, then all you have to do is pick a weight you believe you can easily do 30 reps with and start there.

If you can easily do all three sets at that weight, then it’s clearly too low a weight and you would benefit from increasing the resistance, especially if you don’t notice an increase of at least one-half inch in the circumference of your biceps after the exercise. Conversely, if you are unable to complete 20 repetitions on your first set, the resistance is likely too high and needs to be decreased.

!WARNING FOR FIRST TIME USERS

THE only exception to these weight recommendations and initial pressure of the bands is when you are first starting out. It is important to realize that your tissues need time to adjust to BFR training. For the first session you want to start with a light pressure, likely under 40%, and use only 10% of your 1 RM. Then over the next two sessions increase to the minimum recommendations.

Important: You Need to Push Hard to Get the Benefits

push hard to get benefits

It is important to recognize, though, that the level of intensity you use is key. Muscle growth is highly dependent on metabolic factors, and training sets are ideally done to failure to achieve this.41,42

The number of repetitions completed during a training session is less important to cause long term changes in hypertrophy and strength than doing repetitions to failure which likely causes greater metabolic stress.43,44,45

Perceived exertion is a major element here. You really need to push hard to muscle failure. This is a very subjective determination, but I hope the featured video will give you an idea of the amount of intensity and effort one needs to put into this short exercise.

You can also notice if you are sweating and you are out of breath. Since BFR is a high intensity exercise and stimulates your sympathetic nervous system if done properly, this is precisely what you should be experiencing when you do BFR training.

A recent study in the elderly showed that physical weakness in aging may be due, at least in part, to impairments in brain and nerve function, rather than changes in the muscles themselves.46

The researchers did the study by asking participants to push to failure and once they said they had, they stimulated the muscle electrically and where still get the muscle to contract which indicated that the muscle was not at full failure. In fact in most cases the muscle was still able to contract about 25% more.

If you are unable to push to failure, you will not receive the maximum benefits possible from BFR. Also, shorter recovery periods between exercises and sets will heighten the metabolic stimulus to enhance your body’s ability to build muscle and strength.47

Remember, you can start slowly and work your way up over time. Building muscle is a marathon, not a sprint. This is especially important if you are elderly or if you have been mostly sedentary; you likely will not need to use any weights.

You can start with just the weight of your body and gradually progress to 1- and 2-pound weights. But if you really are interested in triggering the benefits of reversing sarcopenia, then it is key to push hard — otherwise you will not achieve all the wonderful metabolic benefits that BFR has to offer you.

General BFR Workout Guidance

Although you can adapt BFR training to many types of resistance training including machines, it seems the ideal way to implement it is by using simple dumbbells. Because you are using such low weights, it is unlikely you will need weights more than 25 pounds. If you are elderly and weak you may only need a set of weights under 5 to 10 pounds.

Please be certain that you can increase weights in very small increments. You will not want to increase an exercise from 5 pounds to 10. That is a 100% increase in weight. It is far better to go up by 1 or 2 pounds.

Number of Repetitions in Each Set

1st set = 30 reps with 20 seconds rest for arms and legs

2nd set = 20-30 reps with 20 seconds rest for arms and legs

3rd set = 10-20 reps with 20 seconds rest for arms and legs

4th set = 1-10 reps with 20 seconds rest for arms and legs and 60 seconds maximum before moving to next exercise

A common beginner mistake is to remove or loosen the band during the workout to allow the blood to flow back to your muscle and then tightening it again. This does not improve results, and in fact decreases your results, so it is best to leave the band on during the entire workout.

Just remember to remove the bands after 15 minutes on your arms and 20 minutes on your legs. You can reapply the bands after a minute and exercise if you want to do more exercises.

If there is pain or numbness or a whiter appearance in your skin color, of course you’ll want to remove or loosen the band at once, but that should be unusual if you have done your preparation properly and paid careful attention to these instructions.

Typically, upon starting BFR, you will notice a high perceived degree of difficulty. However, over a few weeks this perception of difficulty dampens as adaptation to training occurs.48 At that point, it becomes important to continue to push with the same level of intensity.

Training Frequency

One of the major advantages of BFR versus high load resistance training is that you cause far less muscle damage and this allows you to train more frequently. The frequency of training needs to be individualized as it varies widely. It can range from as little as twice a week up to three times a day, depending on your fitness and training goals.

Typically, the lower the percentage of 1RM used, the more frequently BFR can be done.49 Heart rate variability and the Oura ring can also be used to determine your ideal recovery periods. The Oura ring measures your heart rate all night and will tell you not only your lowest heart rate but also at what time it occurs. The higher your heart rate and the closer your lowest heart rate time is to awakening, the more recovery you need.

This is also an indication you likely need to lower your training frequency. Oura also provides a comprehensive recovery score called the Readiness score, and the higher that number on a scale of zero to 100, the better. I highly recommend the Oura ring if you don’t have one already. I have used one for many years and find it to be a very valuable tool.

Less Expensive Alternatives

Although KAATSU was the pioneer in BFR, their units are relatively expensive. The advanced KAATSU Master unit used by professional teams, the U.S. military, hospitals and medical professionals costs up to $6,000, while their newest consumer version is available beginning at $800.

This is because they use thin, algorithm-controlled, pneumatic bands that automatically pressurize around your upper arms and legs to slow the amount of blood flowing back from the muscles in your extremities. These bands may look like very thin blood pressure cuffs but they serve an opposite function.

The major advantage of the KAATSU automated system is that it can do cycle compressions — compressing the limb for 30 seconds and then relaxing for five seconds. Over the course of eight rounds of compressions, the device will progressively increase the pressure for each cycle. The pressures can also be easily adjusted from very low to high.

If you can afford the KAATSU set, that would be ideal as it is far easier to dial in to the correct pressures. With the KAATSU system you can control the tightness in two ways. The initial tightness is after you manually tighten the bands.

This is the base pressure and typically around 10 to 25 mm/Hg for the arms and 15 to 35 mm/Hg for the legs depending on your age, vascular elasticity and physical condition. The inflation pressure is what you set the compressor to pump the cuff up to. This ranges from 80 to 400 mm/Hg for both the arms and legs.

kaatsu cycle 2.0

If the KAATSU system is outside your budget, there are a wide range of inexpensive BFR bands available. Just be aware there are many inferior versions out there. You need to be careful and make sure the material is elastic and can stretch. Additionally, make sure that the bands are only 1 1/2 inches wide for the arm bands and 2 inches for the leg bands.

Remember, while there are many 2-inch BFR bands for the arms for sale. These bands are too wide and may cause ischemic injury and must be avoided. Also, wider cuffs require significantly less pressure to achieve arterial occlusion pressure,50 so it’s easy to end up with excessive arterial occlusion with wider cuffs which, again, is not recommended.51

The other danger of using bands that don’t stretch or are too wide is that they will increase your blood pressure far higher. Under these circumstances BFR can be dangerous and increase your blood pressure too high and may actually cause a stroke.

No worry, though, because if you use the elastic stretchy bands that are the correct width (1 1/2 inches for the arms, 2 inches for the legs), there is essentially no risk of stroke. This is because correctly performed BFR will actually lower your blood pressure. It is the finest exercise I know of to release nitric oxide and is far more effective than the nitric oxide dump I used to do.

How to Perform BFR

how to perform bfr

Begin by applying the bands to your upper arm, very close to your armpit, just where your bicep muscle begins and deltoid muscle ends. On your legs, you can apply them right below your hips at the top of your quads, close to your groin.

There are misconceptions that you need to put the bands close to the muscle you are seeking to focus on, but this is unnecessary and a mistake.

There is a crossover training effect and your muscles that aren’t blood flow restricted will also receive benefit once you release the bands after training. In other words, you will gain benefits in your chest muscles even though you are only restricting your arm muscles.

Also, do not put the bands over your knees or elbows, as this could cause nerve damage. Only put the bands on your body as described above because the goal of BFR is to increase your vascular elasticity and elicit a metabolic and hormonal response that ultimately leads to aesthetic and muscular improvement.

When you engage in the exercise properly, lactic acid will accumulate in the muscle, which will be associated with a burning-like pain due to the excess hydrogen ions being produced. It will clearly be uncomfortable, especially as you push to muscle fatigue. It is important to understand that this subjective sensation of discomfort will improve with time.

It will likely take four to six weeks to develop the strength and hypertrophy gains, although most people notice a dramatic difference even in the first two weeks. Once achieved, a study52 in elderly subjects showed that doing BFR training twice a week was sufficient to maintain the gains. When training decreased to once a week, the gains failed to be maintained.

If you are able to there is benefit to doing BFR every day. You can just vary the number of exercises you do per day. It could be as simple as applying the bands to your legs and walking for thirty minutes, or putting them on your arms and swimming. It doesn’t have to involve weights as you can also use them in your favorite sport; you just need to use the same time restrictions discussed above.

Sample Workout

You will exercise your arms for 15 minutes, which gives you enough time for three different exercises as each set of exercises — if done properly — will take about five minutes. Again, it’s not recommended to simultaneously use the bands on both arms and legs. In this case, too much blood becomes engorged in your limbs and there is an unsafe amount of blood in the rest of your body.

For example, a good and simple exercise to start with are bicep curls and tricep and shoulder presses, but any exercise that you can do 30 reps while you have the bands on would work.

sample workout 01

Ideally, it is best to combine agonist and antagonist muscles in the same workout. So, do biceps and triceps together, and chest presses and bent-over rows for your back. You could do walking lunges, squats, calf raises and deadlifts for your legs. I demonstrate and provide a number of suggestions in my video but there are many other combinations you can use.

sample workout 02

As your lactic acid concentration builds toward the end of your first set of reps, you will notice some burning and a slight amount of discomfort. This is normal and is actually what you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t notice this, you are likely not doing the exercise correctly. It is important to push as hard as you can. If you are unable to do 30 reps on the first set, the weight you selected is likely too high and you need to decrease it.

I provide some other recommendations in the video above, but recognize that there are hundreds if not thousands of options, and these are only a few examples. As long as you are following the guidelines above you will be safe and will obtain the benefits of BFR.

You do not even need to lift weights with your legs, as simply walking with the bands on can improve cardiac autonomic control by improving your heart rate variability.53 It also has been shown to increase thigh muscle size and strength in both the young and elderly adults.54

Conclusion

Without a doubt, 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.

I have spent six months compiling these recommendations, but it is likely I will revise them in the future so please be sure to check back periodically for any updates. I am very excited for you to reap the benefits of this magnificent tool.

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Protect yourself from liver damage with phosphatidylcholine

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/phosphatidylcholine-liver-damage-3239.html
by: | December 31, 2019
liver-damage
(NaturalHealth365)  Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – defined as excess fat in the liver in the absence of chronic alcohol abuse – is fast becoming a pandemic in the United States. According to recent research, the national prevalence of NAFLD has soared from 18 percent of the population (in 1991) to an astounding 31 percent in 2012 – and death rates from chronic liver disease are on the rise as well.Fortunately, a natural nutrient known as phosphatidylcholine is showing the potential to slow and even reverse fatty liver damage, while protecting against damage from a variety of toxins.

In spite of decades of clinical trials demonstrating phosphatidylcholine’s protective effects, this lecithin-like nutrient still seems to be relatively little-known – and underappreciated – by most people.

Essential NEWS: Phosphatidylcholine makes up 65 percent of all cell membranes

In addition to functioning as the body’s major detoxifying organ, the liver also stores vitamins, assists in the absorption of nutrients, secretes hormones and metabolizes body waste and toxins into water-soluble compounds to be eliminated.

Researchers have learned that most of the life-sustaining activities performed by the liver actually occur on the membranes of the parenchymal cells (known as the “workhorses of the liver”).

Phosphatidylcholine – which is produced by the liver – is absolutely essential for the structure and function of these cells.  Although the parenchymal cells are normally protected by antioxidants such as glutathione and cysteine, exposure to environmental toxins, viruses and bacteria can deplete these protective enzymes and jeopardize levels of phosphatidylcholine (PC).

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And that’s where the trouble really begins.  Protective cell membranes lose their integrity and develop holes, leading to leakage of vital enzymes and, eventually, cell death – which in turn causes inflammatory and necrotic damage to liver tissue.

In order to avoid this scenario, and to continue to carry out its life-sustaining duties, the liver must create new cell membranes – for which PC is a key ingredient.

In a groundbreaking German study conducted in 1973, researchers began to evaluate PC’s therapeutic effects on liver disease in humans – and evidence of PC’s benefits has continued to accumulate ever since.

Phosphatidylcholine can reverse alcoholic liver damage, study says

To conduct the five-year study, the team gave PC daily to 650 subjects with varying degrees of liver damage, then regularly assessed them through biopsies, blood analysis and clinical tests.

Participants’ liver disease ranged from mild to severe – and included fatty degeneration, aggressive inflammation and advanced fibrotic damage.

The subjects were first given PC both orally and intravenously – then were switched to oral supplementation at 450 to 700 mg a day.  The results were striking!

Over 50 percent of participants with mild liver damage showed “excellent” improvement – and even experienced reversal of fatty deposits.

In participants with persistent inflammation, PC returned enzyme parameters to normal after 30 days.  And, of those with the most severe and aggressive chronic inflammation, more than one-third experienced a benefit.

PC supplementation even benefited 17 percent of those with advanced liver scarring – an impressive finding in light of the fact that some of the participants had failed to benefit in the past from other treatments, including steroid drugs and milk thistle extract.

The impressed researchers concluded that PC was the “best single means” for managing liver damage – quite an endorsement!

Warning: Alcohol strips much-needed PC from cell membranes and triggers the development of a fatty liver

PC seems custom-designed to help protect the body from the harmful effects of ethyl alcohol (the type found in beer, wine and liquor).  These damaging effects include damage to mitochondria – the “power centers” of the cells – oxidative stress, antioxidant depletion and inhibition of the liver’s detoxification system.

In addition, alcohol molecules are metabolized to become acetaldehyde (the harmful toxin that is responsible for hangover misery).

Perhaps most alarmingly, alcohol dissolves phosphatidylcholine from the parenchymal cell membranes – jeopardizing their ability to metabolize triglycerides (fat) and setting the stage for inflammation and deposits of fat in the liver.

In fact, so effective is PC at metabolizing lipids that it is used in cosmetic injections to dissolve fat.  Clearly, supplementation with PC is a valuable tool in addressing liver dysfunction.

In an article published in Alternative Medicine Review, the author notes that extensive animal studies have shown that PC slows the progression of fatty liver disease and helps reduce liver fibrosis, or scarring.  And, the German study is one of many showing that PC’s fat-burning and liver-restoring effects translate into therapeutic benefits for human patients with fatty livers.

Additional studies have shown that 1,000 to 3,000 mg a day of phosphatidylcholine can protect the liver by reducing the leakage of enzymes, decreasing the harmful oxidation of fats, slowing membrane damage and preserving membrane integrity.

A liver “MVP,” phosphatidylcholine also protects against damage from medications, pollutants and viruses

Of course, alcohol is far from the only threat to liver health.

Over-the-counter and prescribed medications – including acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, antibiotics and benzodiazepines – also take a toll on the liver, as does exposure to herbicides, pesticides and electromagnetic radiation from smart phones and laptops.

Animal and clinical studies have shown that PC defends the liver against these, as well.  In one study, PC was even found to be effective against Amanita phalloides, the notorious “deathcap” mushroom.

In other research, PC helped to resolve liver damage from hepatitis A and B, while improving general well-being.  Note: In 20 percent of the PC-treated patients, the virus was found to be “inactive” – a truly encouraging result!

Support liver health with phosphatidylcholine supplementation

Phosphatidylcholine is produced in the liver, and is also found in some foods – including cage-free eggs, organic soybeans, mustard and sunflower seeds.

Clearly, supplementation could be a wise move for those dealing with fatty liver disease.

Natural healers may recommend dosages in the area of 500 mg to 3,000 mg of phosphatidylcholine a day. Of course, check first with your integrative doctor before supplementing with PC.

As a “bonus tip:” PC is not only highly bioavailable – with about 90 percent absorption over 24 hours – but it also enhances the bioavailability of other nutrients, such as flavonoids, that are taken along with it.

No doubt, researchers are hailing PC as an “effective and safe nutrient for liver damage of all levels of severity.”  And, with fatty liver disease becoming rampant in the United States, PC’s ability to reduce and prevent fatty deposits and fibrosis is certainly good news.

Editor’s note: LuvByNature Liposomal LiverLuv is my number ONE pick for supporting liver health, detoxification and glutathione levels.  Click here to order today!

Sources for this article include:

Semanticscholar.org
Naturalhealth365.com

Choose Avocados to Help Reduce Risk for Obesity and Diabetes


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/06/avocados-help-reduce-obesity-diabetes-risk.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  — Fact Checked
avocado diabetes

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Avocados may help with weight management and blood sugar control, reducing your risk of obesity and diabetes. Avocados help you feel full longer, are packed with fiber and are high in amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals, including the B vitamins, potassium and vitamin K
  • Researchers have discovered a unique fat molecule in avocados, avocatin B (AvoB), which demonstrates a positive effect on reducing insulin resistance by assisting the body in the complete oxidation of fatty acids in mitochondria. Results were positive in an animal study and human subjects
  • Factors affecting your risk of diabetes include obesity, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, depression and a history of heart disease or stroke. Additionally, low levels of vitamin D and magnesium are associated with a higher risk of diabetes
  • The practice of intermittent fasting, during which you restrict calories for several hours or days, has a positive effect on metabolic flexibility, reducing your risk of diabetes. Consider one of several ways to incorporate this practice in your routine

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat your body burns easily for energy. They may be one of the healthiest foods you can eat every day as they help protect your heart and optimize your cholesterol. They also are rich in fiber.

Together with high amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals, including the B vitamins, potassium and vitamin K, the avocado is a fruit you may want to consider for more than guacamole. Adding avocados to salad also helps your body to absorb three to five times more carotenoids, helping your body fight against free radical damage.

An average sized avocado also contains about 10% of the recommended daily value of magnesium, a mineral used by every organ in your body. Insufficient levels may lead to unexplained muscle fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or muscle spasms.

Avocados are also surprisingly high in fiber, which plays an important role in digestive, heart and skin health. Fiber is also important in helping to regulate blood sugar and weight management. One study found eating one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may help you feel full longer and prevent snacking later.

Avocados don’t ripen on the tree, but only after they’re picked. Choose firm avocados, as they will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, ripening slowly. On your counter, they will ripen within a few days. After you cut it, an avocado will turn brown from oxidation.

If you don’t eat it all, you can keep it fresh longer by leaving the pit with the avocado and storing in an airtight container. Brush lemon juice and olive oil over the cut flesh to help inhibit oxidation. Be aware, though, that the oil can add oiliness to the texture, while the juice will give it a slight lemon flavor.

Avocados at Breakfast May Reduce Hunger Through the Day

Being overweight increases the risk of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, and it’s possible that eating avocados may help address these conditions. When it comes to weight management, some ethnic groups may be more prone to developing both prediabetes and Type 1 diabetes, for example, Hispanic/Latino Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1

Although this is “a diverse group that includes people of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican and South and Central American,” they all have a higher potential risk of developing diabetes than nonHispanic whites, the CDC says. The increased risk may come from general risk factors including genetics, foods you eat, your weight and your activity levels.

To gain insight into how to affect change, one survey of Hispanic millennials showed that they would be interested in learning about lifestyle changes they could make that could reduce their risk for diabetes without medication.2 The investigation was spearheaded by the Hass Avocado Board, which runs Saborea Uno Hoy, a self-described research program3 that promotes avocados for their health benefits.

A clinical study published in Nutrients4 sought to evaluate how well avocados could satisfy hunger and replace carbohydrates in a meal. Using 31 overweight or obese adults, the researchers used a visual analog scale that matched against serum levels of ghrelin, a hormone associated with appetite, to measure how full the participants felt after consuming one of three different meals.

There was greater suppression of hunger after the participants consumed a whole avocado as compared to the control meal high in carbohydrates and low in fat. They also felt more satisfied after a meal with a half or whole avocado as compared to the control meal.

The researchers wrote, “Replacing carbohydrates in a high-carbohydrate meal with avocado-derived fat-fiber combination increased feelings of satiety …” Although the study size was small, the findings support a growing body of research that eating healthy fats, including those found in avocados, has a positive impact on weight management and glucose control.

A Fat Found Only in Avocado Associated With Glycemic Control

Another intriguing study found that avocados have yet another impact on glucose control and the management of diabetes.5 Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, discovered a fat molecule found only in avocados, avocatin B (AvoB), has a positive effect on reducing insulin resistance.6

The researchers wrote a diabetic’s inability to properly utilize blood glucose is associated with mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. When the body completely oxidizes fatty acid, the body can use fat for fuel. However, obesity and diabetes inhibit the body’s ability to completely oxidize fatty acids.

AvoB counters this incomplete oxidation in the pancreas and skeletal muscles, improving insulin sensitivity. As detailed by Science Daily, scientists fed mice fed high-calorie meals for eight weeks to induce obesity and insulin resistance. Then, in the following five weeks, they added AvoB to the diet of half the group.

At the end of the study the treated animals weighed less than those in the control group, demonstrating slower weight gain during the intervention, and exhibiting improved insulin sensitivity. The researchers also engaged human subjects and found AvoB supplement was absorbed safely without affecting kidney or liver function.

The human subjects also enjoyed weight reduction while eating a typical Western diet. The beneficial effects of consuming monounsaturated fats from avocados shown in recent studies support past research7 comparing a diet rich in complex carbohydrates against one rich in oleic acid from avocado and olive oil.

Data revealed replacing complex digestible carbohydrates with monounsaturated fatty acids in those with noninsulin-dependent diabetes improved the participants lipid profile while maintaining glycemic control.

Certain Lifestyle Choices May Increase Risk of Diabetes

In 2015, 9.4% of the U.S. population had been diagnosed with diabetes.8 This is slightly higher than the 8.5% of global prevalence among adults over 18 years of age recorded by the World Health Organization9 in 2014.

Your potential risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is dependent on your lifestyle choices and genetics. While you can’t change your genes, there are certain risk factors over which you have control that can affect your chances of getting diabetes, including:10

Being overweight or obese Having high blood pressure Dealing with depression
Having an imbalance in your cholesterol levels Having a history of heart disease or stroke Being physically inactive

In addition to these risk factors, low levels of vitamin D also affect your risk for developing metabolic syndrome, characterized by high triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, large waist circumference, high blood pressure and high blood sugar and/or insulin resistance.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone responsible for influencing virtually every cell in your body. Studies have found those who have lower levels of vitamin D have a greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Low levels of magnesium also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

One review found magnesium deficiency may be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and that even subclinical deficiency may compromise your cardiovascular health. Studies have found those who have Type 2 diabetes are more prone to magnesium deficiency; depletion has been found in 75% with poorly controlled disease.

In addition, magnesium plays an important role in the regulation of high blood pressure, another risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Studies have also demonstrated supplementation may lower your risk and improve your condition if you currently have diabetes.

You can boost your magnesium by eating foods rich in magnesium, using Epsom salt baths or taking an oral supplement. My personal preference is magnesium threonate, since it appears to be efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including the mitochondria and blood-brain barrier.

Intermittent Fasting Helps You Achieve Metabolic Flexibility

When your body is resistant to insulin it lowers the cells’ ability to use glucose for energy. In response, the pancreas secretes more insulin to overcome the cells’ weak response and maintain blood glucose in a healthy range. Additionally, animal studies have demonstrated that repeated fasting may induce pancreatic beta cell growth accompanied by a marked improvement in blood sugar control.

In one animal study, researchers found pancreatic fat plays a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, but intermittent fasting helps prevent these fatty deposits. The team found mice undergoing intermittent fasting every other day exhibited better glucose control and less fat in the liver and pancreas than the control group that was allowed unlimited food.

Intermittent fasting encourages your body to burn fat for fuel. By not relying exclusively on carbohydrates, it reduces insulin resistance that can develop in tissues and organs. Your skeletal muscle burns 60% to 80% of glucose thought to be related to the interaction of skeletal muscle and insulin resistance in those with Type 2 diabetes.

An overall metabolic inflexibility may be overridden by fasting and improving mitochondrial capacity. In other words, the ability to use both fat and carbohydrates for fuel is necessary to reduce insulin resistance, maintain weight and achieve optimal health.

What Is Intermittent Fasting and How Do You Practice It?

There are several ways to integrate intermittent fasting. The idea is to forgo food for a specific amount of time. The method you choose will vary by the number of days, hours and calories you allow.

There is no one plan that works for everyone, so it’s likely you’ll find a way to fit it into your lifestyle preferences to improve your metabolic flexibility. I recommend starting with a 12-hour fast from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Once you have achieved this for a week, try adding one hour every week for a month. This will help you easily move from a 12-hour daily fast to a 16-hour daily fast.

Before starting, remember intermittent fasting is not necessarily a form of calorie restriction but, rather, eliminating food sources to improve metabolic flexibility. Sugar and hunger cravings will disappear as your body begins burning fat, so the quality of your diet does play an important role in your health.

Reduce or eliminate as much processed food as possible and practice fasting under your physician’s care if you have an underlying medical condition. Here are several different ways of incorporating intermittent fasting into your daily routine:

  • 12-hours-a-day fast — This is often used as a jumping-off point as described above.
  • 16-hours-a-day fast — This is sometimes referred to as the 16/8 method and is a graduation from the 12-hour fast. Many people choose to finish eating by 7 p.m. and do not eat again until noon.
  • Two days a week — For some it may be easier to restrict food for 24 hours twice weekly as opposed to each day. Men may eat up to 600 calories on the fasting days and women up to 500 calories. To use this type of intermittent fasting successfully, there should be at least one nonfasting day between your fasting days.
  • Every other day — There are several variations of an every-other-day plan. Some completely avoid solid food and others allow up to 500 calories on fasting days. The authors of one study found this type of intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss and heart health for both normal and overweight adults.
  • Meal skipping — This is a more flexible approach that works well for those who respond to hunger signals and normally eat when they’re hungry and skip meals when they’re not.
– Sources and References

Blood Flow Restriction Trainer Educator Interview


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

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola – Fact Checked

December 01, 2019

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

Download Interview Transcript

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Visit the Fitness Video Library

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is BFR?

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

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

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

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

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

BFR — Low-Intensity Exercise With High-Intensity Rewards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerobic Improvements With BFR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BFR Improves Bone Density

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

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

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

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

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

Wide Rigid Cuffs Versus KAATSU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Case for Wide, Rigid Cuffs

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

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

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

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

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

BFR Provides Full Body Benefits

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

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

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

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

Risk Factors and Contraindications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits of Cellular Swelling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample Workout Protocol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building Bulk

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

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

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

More Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Synthetic Thyroid Hormones Work?

© 19th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC.
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Reproduced from original article:
https://www.greenmedinfo.health/blog/do-synthetic-thyroid-hormones-work

Posted on: Tuesday, November 19th 2019 at 11:45 am
Written By: Kelly Brogan, M.D.

Originally published on www.kellybroganmd.com
If you walk into a doctor’s office and tell a conventional doctor that you’re depressedgaining weightfatigued, having trouble concentrating, cold, and constipated, chances are that the doctor would tell you that it’s depression, aging, or just stress, and that’s why you’re feeling the way you do. They might prescribe you some medication and off you go.

But one thing that the doctor might fail to realize is that those very symptoms of depression also double as symptoms of a commonly underdiagnosed condition–namely hypothyroidism. An underperforming thyroid (hypothyroidism) is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in America, yet it’s incredibly common–especially in women. Over 20% of all women have a “lazy” thyroid but only half of those women gets diagnosed. Science has known about the relationship between a dysfunctional thyroid and symptoms of depression for a long time.1 2 Depression often occurs concurrently with changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, which is a hormonal feedback control loop that regulates metabolism.3

So exactly how many patients are told they have depression when it’s really a thyroid problem?   A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Psychiatry is shedding a bit of new light onto that very question.

New Insight into Subclinical Hypothyroidism

In a 2019 study, researchers from several Malaysian universities used a meta-analysis technique to evaluate the association between subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and depression amongst 12,315 individuals, hoping to further clarify the prevalence of depression in SCH and the effect of levothyroxine therapy, the most common synthetic thyroid hormone drug that is sold under the brand names of Synthroid, Tirosint, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Levo-T.4

Though the relationship between depression and hypothyroidism has been evident to scientific research since around 200 years ago, the association between depression and hypothyroidism‘s sneakier and more subtle cousin, subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) has historically been more controversial. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an early, mild form of hypothyroidism where free hormones are low, but TSH is normal, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.5 It’s estimated that a whole 3-8% of the general population (usually more women than men) is affected by SCH.6

In the study results, which the researchers found by compiling the data of many other studies, researchers found that:

Patients with SCH had higher risk of depression than patients with normal thyroid function controls, which means that patients with SCH were more likely to have depressive symptoms.

In individuals with SCH and depression, levothyroxine therapy didn’t help improve their depression or symptoms.

What does that mean? The researchers found that thyroid imbalance seems to be a driver of depression–and that trying to replacing those missing hormones with the most commonly prescribed synthetic T4 hormone, levothyroxine, doesn’t actually help alleviate depressive symptoms.7

This is an interesting finding because around 20 million Americans, mostly women, have some type of thyroid problem and are prescribed synthetic thyroid hormones such as Synthroid, a brand of the levothyroxine.8 Instead of using synthetic chemicals to “fix” our bodies, which apparently isn’t really working, we should be finding the root cause of the thyroid dysfunction and take a more holistic approach in healing our bodies.

The Thyroid

To better understand why this study was interesting, we first need to understand more about the thyroid in general. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at your throat just a little under the Adam’s apple. The gland produces a range of hormones, but its two most active substances are T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, and T4, the storage form of thyroid hormone. A healthy thyroid regularly secretes T3 and T4 into the bloodstream so that most of the T4 can be converted into its active form, T3, around the body, including the brain.9 To do that, the process depends on a wide variety of factors: the amount of available specialized enzymes, optimal cortisol (your stress hormone) levels, and certain nutrients such as ironiodinezincmagnesiumselenium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

But thyroids do much more than pump out hormones; they also take information in from the body to adjust its own pace. The thyroid sits in the middle of a complex and dynamic web of hormones and chemicals that controls metabolism, which is how fast and efficiently cells can convert nutrients into energy. In conversation with the brain, adrenal glands, and more, the thyroid indirectly affects every cell, tissue, and organ in the body–from muscles, bones, and skin to the digestive tract, heart, and brain.

One major way that thyroids affect us is through our mitochondria, the organelles in most cells that are widely considered to be the powerhouses of the cell. Mitochondria not only help generate energy for our body to do things, but they also determine the time of cell death and more. Our mitochondria are maintained by our thyroid hormone–which is why patients whose thyroids are underperforming experience an array of symptoms, including fatigue, constipation, hair loss, depression, foggy thinking, cold body temperature, low metabolism, and muscle aches.10 That’s partially why thyroid problems have such resounding and far-reaching effects on the body. When your mitochondria aren’t being properly cared for by your thyroid hormone, everything in your body has less energy to do the work it needs to do, and everything slows down.

What Makes the Thyroid Misbehave?

It’s no surprise that so many factors go into keeping the thyroid happy. The thyroid can be thrown off balance by all sorts of reasons: chemicals and food additives, like emulsifiers (found in commercial soda), synthetic plastic chemicals, fluoride (found in much of our tap water), and mercury (from large fish), or immune responses. Importantly, this circuitry is also influenced by another hormone, cortisol,11 which is produced by your adrenal glands at the command of your brain.

When we look at adrenal function, we have to take our analyses one step farther and understand what is causing adrenals to be stressed out.12 From there, we know that the adrenal glands are affected by gutdiet, and environmental immune provocation and that many lifestyle and environmental factors can influence this relationship, which in turn, can disturb the thyroid.

Thyroid Disease is a Psychiatric Pretender

The point of all of this is to say that because of how interconnected the relationship between the thyroid and other parts of the body are, thyroid imbalance often leads to the symptoms of depression when the culprit is an unhappy thyroid. The study that we talked about earlier is helping us better understand just how prevalent mistaking thyroid imbalance, particularly subclinical hypothyroidism, for depression is.

Of course, it doesn’t help that symptoms listed above are a vague bunch and could have many causes, so conventional doctors frequently write them off as a symptom of aging, depression, or stress in the few minutes they usually spend talking with patients. The way that lab tests for hypothyroidism (both subclinical and hypothyroidism) are run and the way reference ranges are established aren’t very accurate.

Keeping a thyroid healthy is an exercise in holistic medicine that requires you to pay attention to all aspects of your lifestyle. Check out our free symptom checker to see if your thyroid might be affected, or if you have any of the other Top 5 “Psychiatric Pretenders” (common physical imbalances that show up as mental or emotional symptoms).

Interested in step-by-step support to help you optimize your health?

Vital Life Project is a community for like-minded wellness seekers in search of a better way to live with vitality in a world that can make it challenging to move toward this goal.

This monthly membership provides guidance and accountability to help you make small changes in mindset and daily routine that can lead to radical shifts in health reclamation.

Click below to be the first to know when our doors open this Spring!


References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15745924?dopt=Abstract

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16723325?dopt=Abstract

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246784/

4. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-2006-2

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664572/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664572/

7. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-018-2006-2

8. https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/

9. https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00009.2005

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11174855

11. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/19/mental-illness-hypothyroidism.aspx#_edn4

12. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-abstract/75/6/1526/2655345

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 high blood pressure, insulin resistance and obesity are telling you about your liver health

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/obesity-fatty-liver-3202.html
by:  

(NaturalHealth365) According to the Fatty Liver Foundation, more than 100 million people in the U.S. have a fatty liver, and most of those people don’t even know it.  And with 2/3 of the population suffering with obesity … these numbers are expected to soar in the coming years.  Keep in mind, this health condition leads to millions of people developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis plus liver cirrhosis and failure.

Here’s the point: Since most people don’t realize they have fatty liver disease, it’s critical to understand liver health, other conditions linked to liver disease, and how you can prevent it.

For example, recent studies have discovered a link between fatty liver and metabolic syndrome – which includes components like high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, and insulin resistance along with high blood sugar levels. This means that your blood pressure, blood sugar, and even your weight could be telling you a whole lot about your liver health.

The link between fatty liver, high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance

Fatty liver has a strong association with obesity, a condition that is well-known for increasing your risk of dying from other diseases. Obesity, especially visceral fat around the abdomen, is a significant component of metabolic syndrome, a grouping of disorders that may include hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia.

Recently, researchers have brought attention to the relationship between fatty liver and high blood pressure, as well. Experts took a look at the livers in individuals with high blood pressure that had normal liver blood tests and no risk factors for poor liver health.

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Even without apparent risk factors for liver disease, an incredible 30% of these hypertension people studied also had a fatty liver. The results show a clear link between fatty liver and high blood pressure.

Interestingly, researchers discovered that while none of the subjects were overtly diabetic or obese, individuals with high blood pressure and fatty livers had higher body mass indices, insulin resistance, and glucose levels than the people who had high blood pressure without fatty liver.

The importance of early screening for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Generally, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a silent disease that presents no symptoms. Even when cirrhosis develops, there are rarely symptoms until the liver sustains so much damage that a liver transplant is needed.

For this reason, it’s essential to pay attention to other conditions linked to fatty liver disease, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and obesity. If you have any of these components of metabolic syndrome, talk to your doctor about early screening.

The Fatty Liver Foundation advocates for early screening, and new technology offers a quick, economical, and easy method for early screening known as a FibroScreen. While many insurance companies may not pay for the scan unless you’re displaying symptoms, talk to your doctor about the option of early testing if you have metabolic syndrome.

The key to preventing liver failure is early detection (and immediate changes in lifestyle), so addressing this issue early can certainly save your life.

Sources for this article include:

BMJ.com
TheClinics.com
FattyLiverFoundation.org