Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Robin's Power Drink

After a hard day of swinging kettlebells, inline skating, graphic design, painting fine art, and attending networking events till the wee hours, South Florida artist and Reverse Magazine editor, Robin White mixes the following drink for recovery. She suggests you try one soon.

1. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes.
2. Add one packet of Emergen-C, A├žai flavored.
3. Squeeze one fresh lime into the glass.
4. Fill with Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water (high in magnesium).
5. Enjoy.

This drink includes flavinols and Vitamin C from the limes; minerals and C from the Emergen-C and Magnesium from the Pellegrino. And it tastes incredible!

Drug May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

Prostate drug dutasteride 'may cut cancer risk'

A drug already used in men with enlarged prostates seems to cut the risk of prostate cancer developing, a large international study has shown.

A four-year trial in more than 6,500 men found those who took dutasteride had a 23% lower risk of prostate cancer than those who took a dummy pill.

The men in the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were all at high risk of the disease.

UK experts welcomed the results but said longer-term research was needed.

It is not the first time that this class of drugs has been found to have potential effects on the prevention of prostate cancer.

In 2003, researchers showed a similar drug, finasteride, cut the risk of prostate cancer by a quarter in healthy men but also found that the tumours that were detected were more aggressive.

Both drugs are prescribed in men who have an enlarged but benign prostate gland - an extremely common condition that happens with age and can cause symptoms such as frequent and painful urination.

High-risk patients

The latest trial, which was funded by GlaxoSmithKline which makes dutasteride, looked at men aged between 50 and 75 years who were high risk for prostate cancer because they had high PSA scores - a blood test which may indicate disease - but had been

found not to have prostate cancer.

They were treated with a daily dose of dutasteride or a dummy pill.

Over the study, prostate cancer was found in 659 of the men taking the drug and 858 of the men taking a placebo.

Among men with a family history of prostate cancer, the drug reduced the relative risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis by 31.4%.

It will be many years before we know if the drug can provide any long term benefit to men

Dr Helen Rippon, The Prostate Cancer Charity

The researchers believe that most of the tumours detected during the trial - which tended to be moderately aggressive - would have been present from the beginning but were too small to be detected.

They say this supports the idea that the drug shrinks early prostate tumours or prevents them from growing to a size at which they would be detected and need treatment.

Study leader Dr Gerald Andriole, chief of urologic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, said the drug might potentially offer thousands of men a chance to reduce their risk of the disease.

"This means more men could avoid unnecessary treatment for prostate cancer along with the costs and harmful side effects that can occur with treatment."

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are already looking into whether dutasteride should be used for prostate cancer prevention and are due to report later this year.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK's head information nurse, said the results in the high risk population were interesting.

But he added: "Further research to see if the effects are maintained in the longer term is an important next step."

Dr Helen Rippon, head of research management at The Prostate Cancer Charity, agreed: "Of course, we don't yet know what will happen to these men in the coming years and whether they will still go on to develop the disease and it will be many years before we

know if the drug can provide any long-term benefit to men."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daily Chocolate May Keep the Doctor Away

Daily chocolate may keep the heart doctor away
By Denise Mann,

Eating as little as a quarter of an ounce of chocolate each day -- an amount equal to about one small Easter egg -- may lower your risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke, a new study has found. For best results, the chocolate should be dark, experts say.

"Dark chocolate exhibits the greatest effects, milk chocolate fewer, and white chocolate no effects," says the lead author of the study, Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, in Nuthetal, Germany.

In the study, Buijsse and his colleagues followed nearly 20,000 people for an average of eight years. The researchers surveyed the study participants about their chocolate consumption (as well as the rest of their diet), and also tracked the heart attacks and strokes that occurred in the group.

Compared with people who rarely ate chocolate (about one bar per month), the people who ate the most chocolate (slightly more than one bar per week) had a 27 percent and 48 percent reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, respectively, the researchers found.

The heart benefits observed in the study may be due in part to lower blood pressure, the study notes. Previous studies have suggested that eating chocolate can lower blood pressure, and the researchers observed a similar -- though less pronounced -- association in this study.

"The good news is that chocolate is not as bad as we used to think, and may even lower the risk of heart disease and stroke," says Buijsse. "The bad news, at least for some of us, is that the amounts that are needed to benefit from these effects appear to be quite low."

In other words, these findings don't mean that you should stuff yourself with chocolate Easter eggs. Chocolate is high in calories, and, as with any such food, eating too much of it can swell your waistline and harm your health in other ways.

"This is only one small egg per day," says Buijsse. "Eating higher amounts will most likely result in weight gain. If people start eating small amounts of chocolate, it should replace something else, preferably other high-calorie sweets or snacks."

The people in the study were part of a larger study on the effect of diet and lifestyle on cancer risk. For the current study, Buijsse and his colleagues excluded anyone with a history of heart disease or stroke, and also controlled for age, diet, lifestyle, and other factors. Still, they note that factors not recorded in the surveys -- rather than chocolate consumption alone -- could have been responsible for some or all of the health benefits they observed.

The study had some other important limitations. Most notably, the researchers did not determine whether the study participants ate dark, milk, or white chocolate.

Using one of the surveys administered during the study, the researchers estimated that 57 percent of the participants ate milk chocolate, 24 percent ate dark chocolate, and 2 percent ate white chocolate.

This data, however, came from a subset of just under 1,600 participants, so they are merely estimates that may not have been borne out in the full study population.

Experts believe that natural compounds known as flavonoids (or flavonols), which appear to promote artery health and reduce inflammation, are responsible for the cardiovascular benefits that have been associated with chocolate consumption.

Flavonals are found in cocoa, and dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate does.

"The benefits of chocolate come from flavonoids, and those are mainly found in dark chocolate, not Easter eggs, which are usually milk chocolate and have a lot of saturated fat," says Julia Zumpano, a registered clinical dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.

"I usually recommend less than one ounce of dark chocolate a day -- a tiny square -- for heart health," she adds. "The chocolate should be at least 70 percent cocoa with limited added sugar."

This study is merely the latest to point to the heart benefits of chocolate. In addition to lower blood pressure, cocoa consumption has been linked to improved blood vessel function, lower LDL (or bad cholesterol), and higher HDL (good cholesterol) in recent years.

Despite their findings, Buijsse and his colleagues caution that more research, namely randomized trials on the heart benefits of chocolate, is needed. Buijsse admits to being conservative about his own chocolate consumption.

"If I eat chocolate, which is not on a daily basis, I limit my intake to a small piece," he says.

Monday, March 29, 2010

High Protein and Bone Health

According to research published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a higher intake of protein does not have a deleterious effect on bone density in premenopausal women.

There's conflicting evidence about the role protein plays in bone health, Jeannette Beasley from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington and colleagues note in their report. Protein in the diet from animal and vegetable sources is important to the development of strong bones. Yet, when protein from animal sources is digested, chemicals known to lead to bone loss are produced.

To see if there might be a tipping point at which the risks of a diet too high in protein outweigh the benefits for bone health, Beasley's team analyzed data from two large studies that looked at diet, lifestyle, and bone density in 560 women aged 14 to 40.

A typical American diet derives 10 to 15 percent of total calories from protein. In a high-protein diet, total protein calories can range from 30 to 50 percent. Protein consumption among women in the two studies ranged from a low of about 6 percent to a high of about 28 percent of total calories.

Beasley's team found that increasing protein intake did not lead to a "significant" change over time in bone density, leading them to conclude that protein intake in the "upper range of typical consumption" in the United States does not negatively affect bone health in premenopausal women.

This study appears to extend to younger women the finding of a recent analysis of 61 studies of older women that "there is a small benefit of protein on bone health, but the benefit may not necessarily translate into reduced fracture risk in the long term," Beasley told Reuters Health in an email.

That's important because "findings in young women could be different from those in older women because bone mass is still building up before age 30," Beasley said.

In the current study, higher protein intake "seemed to be more beneficial for boosting (bone density) for women age 14 to 29 years compared to those age 30 to 40 years, who have already reached their peak bone mass," Beasley pointed out.

The population of women in the analysis was predominantly non-Hispanic white. As a result, the investigators caution against applying the results to other racial-ethnic groups "with differences in bone metabolism."

The study does not speak to the risks or benefits of popular high-protein diets such as the Atkins and Zone diets, which typically have protein intake above 35 percent of total calories, Beasley noted, which is outside the dietary recommendation of 10 to 35 percent spelled out by the Institute of Medicine.

Beasley said the study findings support adoption of a well-rounded diet throughout life.

"Protein is a major constituent of bone. Consuming a nutrient-rich diet is important for building and maintaining strong bones throughout your life," she said.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

How We Get Fat by Lyle McDonald

This is a VERY, VERY, VERY, good article on HOW we get fat. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. It breaks down the urban myths. Please read, enjoy, and consider purchasing books by Lyle McDonald. They are the cutting edge.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Robb Wolf Fish Oil Calculator

Too many times I approached via email, in person, and on the phone about how many fish oil capsules to take. Not any more. Robb Wolf has done the work for me. Click on the link above, plug in your values and figure out the amount of capsules to take. Please remember to install the amount for ONE capsule since many labels list the amount for two.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

De-Aging The Brain

This is a fascinating article on what may help keep you sharp and young. Enjoy!

Reboot Your Brain? Science Says It's Possible -A Galaxy Insight

Human_brain_receptors_2_2 Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have found that there are probably ways to regenerate brain matter.

Animal studies conducted at the National Institute on Aging Gerontology Research Center and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for example, have shown that both calorie restriction and intermittent fasting along with vitamin and mineral intake, increase resistance to disease, extend lifespan, and stimulate production of neurons from stem cells.

In addition, fasting has been shown to enhance synaptic elasticity, possibly increasing the ability for successful re-wiring following brain injury. These benefits appear to result from a cellular stress response, similar in concept to the greater muscular regeneration that results from the stress of regular exercise.

Additional research suggests that increasing time intervals between meals might be a better choice than chronic calorie restriction, because the resultant decline in sex hormones may adversely affect both sexual and brain performance. Sex steroid hormones testosterone and estrogen are positively impacted by an abundant food supply. In other words, you might get smarter that way, but it might adversely affect your fun in the bedroom, among other drawbacks.

But if your not keen on starving yourself, there are other options. Another recent finding, stemming from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Iwate University in Japan, reports that the herb rosemary contains an ingredient that fights off free radical damage in the brain. The active ingredient, known as carnosic acid (CA), can protect the brain from stroke and neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer’s and from the effects of normal aging.

Although researchers are patenting more potent forms of isolated compounds in this herb, unlike most new drugs, simply using the rosemary in its natural state may be the most safe and clinically tolerated because it is known to get into the brain and has been consumed by people for over a thousand years. The herb was used in European folk medicine to help the nervous system.

Another brain booster that Bruce N. Ames, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, swears by his daily 800 mg of alpha-lipoic acid and 2,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine, chemicals which boost the energy output of mitochondria that power our cells. Mitochondrial decay is a major factor in aging and diseases such as Alzheimer's and diabetes. Elderly rats on these supplements had more energy and ran mazes better.

Omega-3s fatty acids DHA and EPA found in walnuts and fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, and lake trout) are thought to help ward off Alzheimer's disease. (In addition, they likely help prevent depression and have been shown to help prevent sudden death from heart attack).

Turmeric, typically found in curry, contains curcumin, a chemical with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In India, it is even used as a salve to help heal wounds. East Asians also eat it, which might explain their lower rates (compared to the United States) of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, in addition to various cancers. If curry isn’t part of your favorite cuisines, you might try a daily curcumin supplement of 500 to 1,000 mg.

Physical exercise may also have beneficial effects on neuron regeneration by stimulating regeneration of brain and muscle cells via activation of stress proteins and the production of growth factors. But again, additional research suggests that not all exercise is equal. Interestingly, some researchers found that exercise considered drudgery was not beneficial in neuronal regeneration, but physical activity that was engaged in purely for fun, even if equal time was spent and equal calories were burned, resulted in neuronal regeneration.

Exercise can also help reduce stress, but any stress-reducing activity, such as meditation and lifestyle changes, can help the brain. There is some evidence that chronic stress shrinks the parts of the brain involved in learning, memory, and mood. (It also delays wound healing, promotes atherosclerosis, and increases blood pressure.)

It should go without saying that short-term cognitive and physical performance is not boosted by fasting, due to metabolic changes including decrease in body temperature, decreased heart rate and blood pressure and decreased glucose and insulin levels, so you’re better off not planning a marathon or a demanding work session during a fasting period.

As part of a healthy lifestyle the prescription of moderating food intake, exercising, and eating anti-oxidant rich foods is what we’ve long known will boost longevity, but it’s good to know that we can bring our brains along with us as we make it into those golden years without being the 1 in 7 who suffers from dementia. Keep your fingers crossed and eat some rosemary chicken.

Originally posted by Rebecca Sato

Original article HERE

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You are getting shorter and what to do about it.

The men in the image above are the same age and were the same height in their twenties.

As we age we lose height. There are several causes. One can be demineralization through osteoporosis. The skeletal mass becomes less dense and you become less tall. Also as you age, the disks in your spine are less moist and degenerate a bit. The final cause is the one we will address however, and it is posture.

A change in posture as you age is a profound cause of loss of height. Most people simply feel that loss of height is inevitable with age and point out how their parents or grandparents are so much shorter. The truth is, bad posture, is now a young person's issue and can be change through a proactive plan of exercise.

There are two to three key areas where posture changes and causes you to shrink. The first is your stance. The way you place your feet or how far apart they are will add or subtract to your height. People tend to stand with their feet placed further apart as they gain weight. A broader base is more stable than a narrow one and an increase in weight will make you feel unstable. The key here is to stay lean and mobile. Taking a narrower stance is easy, especially if you are not overweight to begin with.

The second area is the mid back. This is the thoracic or "T" spine. The is like an virus that has spread throughout the world. The use of computers like the one I am using now, and extended commuting in cars, has produced a race of humans with a hunched, shortened, posture. When the upper back begins to round, the head adjusts by tipping up. This is unnatural. The forward flexion of the torso also limits reaching overhead properly which diminishes those muscles range of motion and strength.

The third area of is the hip flexors. These are muscles in front of the hip that lift the leg up when you are climbing steps. Constant sitting and lack of squatting cause these muscles to shorten and you actually begin to bend a bit as you stand. Of course a large pot belly can also contribute to this postural defect.

The question is, "How can I get my height back?" The answer is actually simple. You undo the action that shortened it in the first place. This takes some of the most fundamental movements that humans used to do daily. Pulling, Pushing, and Squatting are all that is needed. Here are some examples of exercises that require little equipment and can add considerable height to your stressed out frame.

The first exercise is the Overhead Press. It requires some dumbbells that can be acquired cheaply. Simply hold the 'bells at shoulder height and press overhead. You need to brace your body by tightening your abdominals and buttocks to support the torso. Your arms should lock out fully with your biceps near your ears. Do not believe in the '80's fitness myth of keeping the arms unlocked to maintain tension on the muscle. Those joints need loading to keep them healthy and a full range of motion is necessary to build posture. If you find your flexibility is limited, lift the dumbbells overhead and take a short walk. This will force you to be efficient and keep your armpit muscles tight, arms locked, and torso upright. Focus on low repetitions of multiple sets to build strength and slowly increase your muscle's range of motion to correct postural issues. This exercise goes a long way to restore your thoracic spine to it's youthful condition.

The second exercise is the Goblet Squat. It's quite simple. Hold a dumbbell with two hands like a Goblet. Keep the feet shoulder width or slightly wider, with the toes pointed slightly out. Squat down while sitting BACK. Imagine the lower legs are stuck in cement and endeavor to sit back like sitting on a toilet seat. Allow yourself to sink as low as possible and for the torso to fall between the thighs. At the bottom of the squat, use your elbows to push your knees out. The heels should be flat and you should be pushing out with your thighs. After pausing for a short stretch, come erect and tighten your buttocks enough to feel the stretch on the front of your hips. This is the hip flexor stretching. By tightening your gluteus, you allow the flexors to relax and eliminate residue tension in this area. Repeat this process for several low repetition sets. It could be one of the most important exercises you do.

The last exercise is use of the chinning bar. I say "use" since there are several drills for you to do here. The first one would be chinning. Chin ups and pull ups are critical drills to strengthen the upper body. Many cannot do them. Let me give you a technical hint. If you cannot do pull ups or chin ups, there are only two reasons for it. You are either too weak or too fat. Focused efforts with a good trainer will get you there.

The other drills require less strength, but just as much focus. They are decompression drills for the spine. They focus on using muscle of the hips, torso, and shoulder girdle to activate the spine and keep it healthy. Let's run through the drills now.
1. The first drill is to hang with a pronated grip and keep the armpit muscles tight to protect your shoulder's integrity. Now tighten the muscles that start the pull up motion and pinch your shoulder blades together forcing your chest to tip towards the ceiling. It's OK to look up at the ceiling. Relax your back muscles and bring your chest and line of sight back to level. You should feel some stretching on the front of your shoulders. The idea here is to strengthen the muscle that hold the shoulder girdle down and back and to stretch the muscle on the upper chest and front of the shoulders. Repeat about 8 times.
2. Now move down to the hips. Hang with your armpits tight once again. Start to tip your belly button to the sky while bringing the knees up to the chest. Hold for a count and lower your legs while contracting your buttocks and lower back to stretch the front of the hips and abdominal muscles. Once again do this 8 times.
3. The next move is two parts. It involves mild twisting. The first one is to move the torso left and right by subtle movements of the arms. Do not bend the arms but begin the motion of twisting in the shoulders. Lead with the head by looking left and looking right. This is a very slight, but powerful action. Repeat 8 times on each side. The second part is to use the lower body in a scissoring action to activate a mild twisting of the hip region. Move your right leg slightly over your left leg and vice versa. There is no need for violent twisting. Subtle controlled movements are much more effective. This movement can also be done 8 times per side.
4. The last action is to swing the lower body side to side like a pendulum. The muscles on the sides of the waist assist the latissimus muscles in this action. Begin with mild motions before increasing amplitude. 8 times per side is recommended.

The above drills, pressing, squatting, and pulling, will go a long way towards restoring, maintaining, and developing a healthy posture. Of course adequate protein, calcium, and Vitamin D, along with weight control are also part of the big picture. After several weeks on this program, many people will be shocked about your change in appearance.