Weight Loss – How Your Basal Metabolic Rate Can Affect Your Ability to Lose Weight

Basal Metabolic Rate and Weight Loss

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The Basics:  A short list of those things that can affect your basal metabolic rate.

Your basal metabolic rate is responsible for 70% of your total calories burned every day.

Genetic and environmental factors can cause your basal metabolic rate to increase or decrease.  Those factors include gender, age, weight, height, body surface area, diet, exercise, muscle mass, and ambient air temperature to name a few.

Your thyroid and adrenal glands can increase or decrease your basal metabolic rate.

There are several natural supplements that can increase your basal metabolic rategreen tea, fish oil, capsaicin and ginger are just a few.

The Details:  Continue reading to better understanding exactly what affects your basal metabolic rate and what you might be able to do to increase the burning rate of calories.

Your basal metabolic rate can affect your ability to lose weight. Your basal metabolic rate is the minimum calorie requirement needed to sustain your life while at rest (assume that you sleep all day and all night and don’t move). Your basal metabolic rate is responsible for burning up to 70% of your total calories daily. Calories are burned to support all bodily processes (respiration, maintaining body temperature, digestion, pumping blood, maintaining your balance, etc.). Your basal metabolic rate is a combination of factorsgenetic and environmental. Your basal metabolic rate might be set too low.

Factors Affecting Your Metabolic Rate

Genetic factors mean that some people can burn calories faster or slower than others. Gender, age and weight also have an impact. The more you weigh the higher your basal metabolic rate. Men have a greater muscle mass and burn calories at a higher rate than women. You begin to lose basal metabolic efficiency at approximately 2% a year after age 20. At age 60, it is not unusual to see your basal metabolic rate significantly slower than you were at age 18.

Body surface area and body fat percentages also affect your basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic rate increases with greater body surface area. A short person can gain up to 15 pounds a year compared to a tall person with the same weight. Your basal metabolic rate increases with a higher body fat percentage. Diet and exercise have an effect also. Diet changes – from starvation to abrupt changes in eating patterns can cause your basal metabolic rate to be reduced by 20-30%. This is a serious change in burning calories in your body. Exercise can raise your basal metabolic rate when you add lean muscle which burns more calories compared to fat.

Your body temperature affects your basal metabolic rate. For every degree increase in your internal temperature (normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees) your basal metabolic rate can increase by approximately seven percent. Chemical reactions occur more rapidly at higher temperatures. The outside air temperature can affect your basal metabolic rate. Hot temperatures have little affect since your body can compensate by releasing more heat to the air. But, colder temperatures have a more pronounced affect because your body has to generate heat to compensate for the colder outside temperature.

Thyroxin and Adrenaline Affect Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Your thyroid gland produces thyroxin. It regulates the increase or decrease in your basal metabolic rate. The more thyroxin produced the higher your basal metabolic rate and vice versa. Adrenaline can also increase or decrease your basal metabolic rate, but not to the same degree that thyroxin does.

Nutritional Supplements Can Raise Your Basal Metabolic Rate

The following nutritional supplements have been shown to safely raise your basal metabolic rate. Fucoxanthin (found in brown algae), pomegranate seed oil, green tea polyphenols (epigallocatechin gallate – EGGC) in combination with caffeine, fish oil rich in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA – found in meat and dairy products), capsaicin (the active ingredient in hot red peppers), and extracts of ginger.

Each works a little differently. EPA and DHA inhibit key enzymes responsible for lipid synthesis and enhance lipid oxidation and fat burning. EPA and DHA also inhibit free fatty acids from entering your fat cells for fat storage. CLA causes increased energy expenditure, decreased fat cell differentiation and increased fat burning and fat oxidation. EGGC in combination with caffeine and capsaicin work thermogenically. Thermogenesis increases your body’s basal metabolic rate by increasing your body’s core temperature. Extracts of ginger increase your oxygen consumption and enhance fat burning.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Weight Loss – How Adrenaline Affects Weight Loss

Weight Loss - Adrenal Function

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The Basics: What you need to know about adrenaline (and cortisol) and losing weight.

Your adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisolStress and other factors cause your adrenal glands to overproduce adrenaline and cortisol.  Over time it can lead to adrenal ‘burn-out’.

Adrenal ‘burn-out’ leads to serious health problems.  Long-term high levels of adrenaline and cortisol cause your pancreas to overproduce insulin.

Insulin sensitivity is a side effect of the overproduction of adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, insulin sensitivity can lead to insulin resistance – creating further health issues.

To rebalance your hormones, you must change your lifestylereduce stress, eat correctly, etc.  Stress reduction and stress management are key to a healthy life.

The Details: Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the relationships of the different hormones in your body and how they affect your health and your ability to lose weight.

Adrenaline may be preventing you from losing weight.  The hormone adrenaline is similar to hormone cortisol in that it responds to stress.  There are times when you might not eat for a while and your blood glucose levels fall to dangerously low levels.  Your body is stressed when your blood glucose levels fall significantly.  Your adrenal glands can make both adrenaline and cortisolAdrenaline (and cortisol) can correct the condition of very low glucose levels in your body by converting glycogen and protein to make glucose.  Your body automatically converts to a new source of glucose to meet your body’s glucose needsFat is used as an energy source when you have depleted your all your glucose and glycogen stores.  The real problem arises when your body has too much adrenaline (or cortisol).

Hormonal Imbalance and Your Adrenal Glands

Hormone imbalance can arise when you allow your body’s glucose levels to fall to low levels by not eating the proper foods on a regular basis.  Your hormone levels change to the meet the lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis.  If your hormones remain constantly in flux, you may develop serious health problems.

At the beginning stages of hormonal imbalance, your insulin responsiveness begins to degrade.  Your insulin becomes more insensitive to levels of glucose in your body – it takes more insulin to do the same job compared to what it used to take.  You start out your life with high (meaning good) insulin sensitivity.  You are able to eat anything you want and never gain weight.  Your age and lifestyle choices begin to affect the sensitivity or responsiveness of your insulin.  Gradually your insulin becomes less and less sensitive (or active) to the same quantity of glucose.  Your cells become less receptive to receiving the glucose it needs because your insulin is not strong enough to do its job.

Insulin Resistance

Continuously high levels of adrenaline and cortisol can cause insulin resistanceInsulin resistance means that your body will make more insulin than is customarily needed to feed the cells in your body.  Long-term insulin resistance generally leads to excessive amounts of glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol to accumulate in your bloodstream.

Without any changes in your lifestyle (food choices, total calories, exercise, nutritional balance, stress relief, etc)  your insulin sensitivity will degrade to a level to be classified as insulin resistance.  Your body has many built-in protective processes.  When your pancreas sends insulin into your bloodstream and discovers that there is still a need for more insulin, it makes more insulin and sends more insulin into your bloodstream.  Your body doesn’t want excessive amounts of glucose building up to dangerous levels.

Adrenal Glands and Stress

Similarly, your hormones can experience similar difficultiesContinuous untreated stress can ‘burn-out’ your adrenal glands.  This typically happens when you are stressedday-in and day-out – and there appears to be no end in sight.  You are literally fatigued from the stresses in your life.  Your adrenal glands have been working overtime to address your internal biochemical needs associated with stress, and you are unable to address the causes of your stress.  People with insulin resistance typically start adding a lot of fat, especially visceral fat around their abdomen.

Your adrenal gland secretes hormones that control your blood pressure, heart rate and sweating – to name a few.  Adrenal gland burnout does not happen overnight.  It takes years of constant overproduction to enter into a burnout condition.  The longer it took to burnout your adrenal glands, the longer it will take to recover.

As with correcting stress in your life, you must start by removing the causes of your stress.  If you are insulin resistant and have adrenal burnout, you need to remove the sources of those two conditions to recover fully.  Depending on how long, and the choices you have made, it might be best to reduce rather than eliminate things such as: over exercising, smoking, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, white sugar, etc.  Cold turkey is not always the best way to start fixing a problem.

Healthy Habits

Insulin resistance can improve with dedicated healthy lifestyle.  Your adrenal and cortisol levels will heal with time and careful attention to your stress relief and stress management.  It is common to have withdrawal symptoms when adjusting to a new lifestyle.  You have trained your body to respond in a certain way to the stresses you accept and to the foods you choose.  Fatigue, irritability and depression are common symptoms when rebalancing your hormones.  Don’t be surprised if you gain a little weight or experience water retention.  These symptoms are generally short-lived and moderate quickly thereafter.

You can reestablish normal biochemical levels of insulin, adrenaline and cortisol by controlling your lifestyle.  Consider any withdrawal symptoms as side effects that changing your lifestyle is working.  As with most systems in our bodies, one cause is generally not the only cause of the symptoms you experience.  It is critical to know that the choices and actions you chose to arrive at your current hormonal imbalance will return to normal if you adopt those actions required for a healthy lifestyle.  Some people can adjust easily within thirty days – others might take ninety days to adapt to a new lifestyle.  Monitor the changes in your body and be vigilant to those persistent symptoms that won’t go away.  There may be another underlying cause producing those symptoms.

Lifestyle changes must become a new habit in your life to effectively rebalance systems that have been out of balance for a long time.  Body fat will begin to disappear as you normalize your insulin activity, cortisol and adrenaline levels.

Weight Loss – How Acupuncture Can Help You Lose Weight

 

Acupuncture and Weight Loss

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The Basics: What you need to know about acupuncture and weight loss.

Acupuncture aligns your body to reduce cravings, stress and other factors that block or impede weight loss.

Acupuncture is more effective than almost any other weight loss treatment used today.

Acupuncture improves your total health, in additional to achieving weight loss.

Acupuncture helps you to quickly adopt and maintain new habits leading to a healthier lifestyle.

The Details:  Continue reading if you are intrigued why sticking needles into your body can help you lose weight.  It’s not complicated, but it is worth knowing.

Acupuncture can be used to lose weight. Acupuncture has been used in medical practice for over the past 5000 plus years. It has been practiced in China, Egypt, Brazil, Northern Canada and Alaska, South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Acupuncture has been used to control pain, relieve addiction, reduce stress, treat allergies and lose weight. The first book on acupuncture was written around 200 BC. Ninety-five percent of everyone attempting to lose weight fails – that’s the national average in the United States. Acupuncture has been shown to be at least 60% effective in achieving weight loss.

Changing Habits with Acupuncture

Acupuncture opens the door to a lifestyle change. It is believed that physical change (weight gain or weight loss) happens because of mental and emotional habits developed over time. These habits become so strong that they block any attempt to change. That is why so many diet programs fail. You are anchored in a firm balance between your physical appearance and your mental acceptance of it.

Acupuncture helps you to break down these mental barriers. Your body has electrical forces that keep your body in balance. Over time this bio-electrical energy can become misaligned due to stress, diet, medications, sedentary lifestyle, etc. Acupuncture realigns your electrical forces and promotes balance in all the organs in your body.

Equilibrium Through Acupunture

Acupuncture sedates and calms sensory points and establishes equilibrium between your organs and your brain. Acupuncture is very effective for binge eating disorderexcessive eating brought on by stress, frustration and anxiety. If your weight gain has been exacerbated by stress, then acupuncture might be the right option to lose weight. However, acupuncture can be used with other weight loss options because it facilitates energy flow throughout your body, reduces stress and improves your overall willpower to lose weight.

Traditional Chinese Medicine – Five Element Theory

What if your weight gain was not stress induced? Traditional Chinese medicine has a five-element theory which identifies the root cause of excess weight as a disruption in the spleen and liver systems. Your spleen controls your digestive system and converts the food you eat into Qi, the fundamental essence of life. When your spleen is not functioning properly, you will have fatigue, water retention and a slower metabolism.

Your liver is responsible to keep the flow of Qi running smoothly throughout your body. Liver disharmony can trigger cravings and compulsive eating. Outside influences can disrupt both your spleen and liver functions. Chronic stress, fast foods, lack of exercise, anxiety, worry, fear, nervousness, etc can reduce your liver’s ability to function efficiently. This, in turn, causes your spleen and whole digestive system to operate at a slower rate and leads to a decreased metabolism.

Initial Consultation for Acupuncture

Prior to inserting needles, your acupuncturist should ask you questions regarding your eating habits, stress, cravings and your motivation to lose weight. Additionally, your family history of obesity might also be important to discuss. This helps the acupuncturist to focus on those areas which will bring you the best results.

Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into various points in your body. The needles may be manually or electrically stimulated. A typical session lasts around 40 minutes. Initially, acupuncture treatments might be done daily. After a short while the treatments could be moved to every other day and eventually once or twice a week until no acupuncture treatments are necessary.

Maintaining Your Change With Acupuncture

As with any weight loss program, you cannot keep the same eating and exercise habits and expect to lose weight. Your acupuncture treatments work to help you change your mindset and your lifestyle. You have to maintain your new mindset to maintain your new body weight. Some acupuncturists may also recommend that you incorporate various herbs, supplements and massages into your weight loss regimen. These herbs and supplements target the same systems as the acupuncture needles.

Acupuncture Targets

Some of the weight loss points targeted by acupuncture are the spleen and thyroid gland. The functional objective of acupuncture is to balance your hormones and reduce your craving for sugar. Treating your kidneys reduces water retention. Your endocrine system can be balanced by stimulating your nerves to achieve hormonal balance. Your ovaries and adrenal gland can be targeted if weight gain is associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause.

One of the most commonly used acupuncture points is the shenmen point on your ear. It is not associated with a specific organ, but it is akin to a microcosm of your entire body. Treatment of your shenmen point calms your mind and reduces your stress. Your ears have links to all your body systems.

Acupuncture Effectiveness

Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective – three to four times more effective than traditional weight loss programs. Acupuncture readjusts your cravings so that your appetite and anxiety are suppressed. You eat less and feel better. Additionally, your body is fully energized. It can maximize the absorption of food and regulate the elimination processes more effectively.

Choices

Acupuncture is a powerful tool in weight loss when used exclusively, or in conjunction with other weight loss programs. Acupuncture can help you to reduce stress, eat less, expend more energy, reduce your cravings, increase your metabolism and, most importantly, strengthen your willpower to succeed in losing weight.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Weight Loss – How Alcohol Impairs Your Ability to Lose Weight

Alcohol and weight loss

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The Basics:  Many of us like to have an occasional beer or glass of wine – but, is it wise when you are trying to lose weight.  Here is the overview you need to know.

Alcohol shuts down your metabolism and doesn’t allow you access to recently consumed carbohydrates or stored fat as an energy source.  You add calories without having the ability to burn fat.

White your metabolism is shut down, your appetite increasesAlcohol shuts down or slows down your body’s production of testosterone needed to build muscle mass and strength.

Alcohol increases your cortisol levels – which affect which energy source your body will use.  Increased cortisol levels cause you store more fat.

Alcohol dehydrates your body – it affects your mental and physical capacity.

The Details: Continue reading to understand why alcohol is like a poison that your body has to stop everything it is doing – putting your metabolism on hold – while it processes the alcohol by-product out of your body.

How many times have you exercised and had a beer, or other alcoholic beverage, immediately afterwards?  I have – many times.  In some of the running clubs I have belonged to, it was tradition to have a beer (or two) after the race, and reflect, with fellow runners, the trials and tribulations associated with that day’s race – or, simply, to solve the problems of the world.  Exercising and drinking appear to be linked by tradition.  For example, members of the Hash House Harriers describe their organization as a drinking club with a running problem.  However, if your goal is to lose weight, alcohol is not the drink of choice to make that goal happen.  Switch to water and you will have a much better results.

Energy Selection

Your body’s fuel of choice is carbohydrates.  All your systems are primed to start using carbohydrates for immediate energy.  Your carbohydrates not used for immediate energy are converted to fat for later usage.   Your body can operate on fat for energy when carbohydrates are not available – think of a high-protein diet.  Additionally, your body can use protein as an energy source.  Protein is used as an energy source when your body is lacking both fat and carbohydrates for fuel – think starvation.
You will still continue to store fat, but you can’t get access to it.  You will have access to carbohydrates and fats once the alcohol has been fully eliminated from your body.

Alcohol is converted into a chemical compound called acetate.  It becomes your body’s preferred energy source – above all other energy sourcesAlcohol is converted to acetate in your liver.  If you want to lose weight, consider abstaining from alcohol during your weight loss program.

Alcohol in Excess

Alcohol, in excess, can damage your liver, which creates many other problems.  Alcohol is not part of the normal human diet.  As such, your body doesn’t really know what to do with it, per se.  As a result, your body will ‘bump’ alcohol (think acetate) to the top of the list of energy sources to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Beer belly’ physiques lead us to believe that alcohol is fatteningAlcohol is not fattening by itself because it is not stored as a fat.  It adds extra calories to your daily intake without allowing you access to burn those stored fat calories.  Overtime, the extra stored fat adds up and your beer-belly physique grows.

Alcohol and Appetite

Alcohol also increases your appetite.  After drinking alcohol your fat metabolism shuts down.  You are putting ‘on hold’ the fats and carbohydrates you already consumed, and now your body wants you to eat more.  You can’t win.  What if you drink alcohol with a meal?  Doesn’t that temper the effect of alcohol?  That’s what I’ve heard all my life.  That’s why I have a glass of wine with my dinner.   Researchers have found that you will eat more food when consuming alcohol, especially wine, with a meal.  Now I find out that alcohol causes me to eat more, restricts my body’s access to burning fat, and increases my overall caloric intake – at that meal.  It also increases your craving for a snack later in the evening.

Alcohol and Testosterone

Alcohol has other effects on your overall health.  Your testosterone production slows down noticeably after consuming alcohol.  Scientists studied healthy adult males after they drank alcohol.  The results showed that alcohol lowered testosterone levels for a minimum of 24 hours and in some cases as much as 48 hours.  Is this a bad thing?  Testosterone is extremely important in your fat burning process.  It doesn’t directly burn fat, but is required in your body’s processes to build your muscle mass and strength.

Decreased testosterone levels lead to reduced muscle mass and strength, which, in turn, leads to higher fat accumulations, usually around the abdomen.  Larger, stronger muscles require more calories for daily maintenance.  This is good for people trying to lose weight.

Alcohol and Cortisol

Testosterone also blocks the receptors for cortisolCortisol is a hormone that promotes fat storage and reduces your muscle mass and strengthAlcohol causes cortisol levels to increase and interferes with your normal hormone balanceCortisol levels can also increase with stress, depression, fasting, stimulants and lack of quality sleep.

Moderation is desired with most things in life.  Cortisol is a natural steroid produced in your body.  Cortisol acts like an energy management system – it selects the right type and amount of energy source to be used to meet your daily physiological demands.  Your body prefers carbohydrates over fat for an energy sourceCortisol is responsible for that selection.  You need cortisol in moderation for a healthy body.  You don’t need excessive amounts of it.

Cortisol is responsible for delivering the right kind of energy to your working muscles.  When carbohydrates and fat sources are low, cortisol can direct your body to use protein as an energy sourceCortisol is a very important hormone.  However, an overabundance of cortisol can cause problemsincreased fat storage, increased blood sugar levels, suppressed immune system, as well as many other serious conditions.

Alcohol increases cortisol, as does stress.  It doesn’t matter what causes your cortisol levels to increase.  When stress levels are high, cortisol directly affects your ability to lose weight.  Your fat cells produce an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisolVisceral fat cells, those located in your abdominal area, contain more of this enzyme than subcutaneous fat cells, those located just under your outer layer of skin.

Cortisol and Obesity

Obesity has its own set of problems with cortisol.  Obese people have a higher percentage of visceral fat compared to the non-obese.  The visceral fat cells contain more blood vessels than subcutaneous fat cells and four times the number of cortisol receptorsCortisol, in overabundance, in your visceral fat cells causes more fat to be stored.  It is thought that cortisol is the primary cause for the enlargement of your fat cellsHigher cortisol levels affect the production of your growth hormones, as well as your testosterone production.

Excess Cortisol

People with high levels of cortisol choose to eat foods high in carbohydrates and fats High levels of cortisol have been shown to cause fat storage to be withdrawn from your subcutaneous fat locations and deposited into your visceral fat cells deep within your abdominal wall.  When cortisol levels become extremely high, you may experience muscle atrophy, poor bone repair, increased bone loss, low energy and a depressed immune system.

Many elderly people have chronic pain associated with a variety of problems.  Chronic pain causes cortisol levels in your body to riseHigh levels of testosterone block cortisol receptors, and hence, thwart the effects of cortisolHigh levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol are ideal for your overall healthLow levels of testosterone and high levels of cortisol cause you to store more fat.

Alcohol Before Exercise

Drinking alcohol before exercising has its own set of problems.  Assume you are going to eat a carbohydrate intensive meal (pasta with bread for example) to build up your glycogen reserves – the energy source your muscles use.  Many runners do this before a long-distance race.  Also assume that you decide to have a beer or glass of wine with that carbohydrate intensive meal.  What happens?

That pre-race alcoholic drink causes your body to shut down your fats and carbohydrates as an energy source.  Your stored glycogen will be used up at a higher rate than normal.  Since you can’t process the carbohydrates to restock your muscles, you have to live with the glycogen stockpile you had before you ate your pre-race meal.

Your running endurance will not be the same due to that alcoholic drink you decided to have with your meal.  The same situation (low running endurance) also arises when you are on a low carbohydrate diet.  I noticed this when I was on the Atkins’ Diet and did not know the cause.  Before Atkins, I could easily run eight miles on a practice day without much effort and felt pretty good afterwards.  While on the Atkins’ Diet my glycogen supplies were exhausted much earlier and I could barely run two miles comfortably – and, I would feel much more tired after the short run.

Alcohol and Dehydration

Alcohol acts like a diuretic – it dehydrates your body.  Hangovers are thought to be caused by excessive dehydration.  Your body needs to be hydrated to function properly.  Add exercise, especially intense exercise, and combine it with alcohol consumption and you interfere with your normal body functions.  Your body needs water to build muscle as well as to eliminate fatDehydration affects cell and fat metabolismDehydration affects your body’s ability to lose fat.  Even though you are consuming liquids (in alcoholic beverages), you are dehydrating your body.

Most people begin to think or feel that they are thirsty when they approach 1-2% loss in body weight through dehydration.  That 1-2% loss in body water weight can translate to 10-20% loss in overall performance (mental, physical and emotional).  Researches have determined that alcoholic drinks in excess of 4% alcohol (8 Proof) leads to higher rates of dehydration, especially within the first four hours.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Cardiovascular Improvement by Running and Sprinting

Running and Health

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The Basics:  What are the quick essentials to improving your cardiovascular health?

Running builds endurance, but it doesn’t build your cardiovascular health as well as sprinting.

Sprinting challenges your heart muscles to accelerate to full activity and then relax.  By adding sprints your your running program you can improve your overall health.

Dedicated sprinting days can be an effective replacement exercise to build cardiovascular health and to minimize the time required for exercise that day.

The Details:  If you want to really understand why sprinting is a great option to add to your running program – or – to replace your running program, continue reading.

For those who know me and have read my blogs in the past, they know I prefer to do fartleks than to jog.  I used to jog for years, actually decades.  I started jogging in earnest in the 70s – started running 5K (or equivalent) road races on weekends.  In the 80s, I ran a 2-mile race every Wednesday afternoon at Audubon Park in New Orleans; and, ran races every Friday, Saturday and Sunday – many times two in one day.  I didn’t run to win the races; I was beyond that capability – too many young studs out there running with me.  I ran for cardiovascular exercise because I truly enjoyed it.  I run during the summers and go on sabbatical during the colder months.  I love hot and humid weather for running or sprinting.

I was introduced to fartleks in the 90s.  A fartlek is a sprint – you run as fast as you can for as long as you can and then recover.  You do that cycle over and over again.  I would incorporate fartleks into my running schedule – an afternoon run after work, or a run during lunch – about one or maybe two times a week.  I would pick a starting point and an ending point and run between those two points as fast as I possible could.  Your heart rate goes up and then comes down as you recover – walk (or run) slowly while you catch your breath and time your pulse.  The timing of your pulse is very critical.  It gives you a quick assessment of your physical condition.

I am getting ready to start up my ‘summer’ running program.  Here are some insights into adding sprints or fartleks to your running program.  Stretch you legs before and after any running event.  I pick my starting point, slowly start running, and begin saying to myself, ‘zero’ every time my left foot hits the ground.  I start this mental process about twenty feet before I begin sprinting.  As soon as I reach my starting point, I crank up my speed and count every time my left foot hits the ground.  I start out at about 50% of my fastest speed and gradually work my way to higher and higher speeds with each fartlek.

My first fartlek is usually 30-35 steps of my left foot (about a hundred yards).  After I stop, I measure my time for the fartlek and my pulse rate.  (Note: I expect to run each fartlek faster than my previous one – and, I expect that my recovery rate will be the same or faster each time also)  I walk back to the starting line and continue taking my pulse rate.  I wait for it to fall below 120 before I begin the next fartlek. This exercise can be done while running longer distances – pick out a section of your course and make that your fartlek phase – continue running until you have recovered from the intensity of the fartlek.  Once you are stable, then do another fartlek.  In long-distance running I will run six to eight fartleks over a 5K course.  On a static course that I am just running sprints, I will run 10-15 repetitions.

I can vary my course length also.  I usually start out at 30-35 steps until I have mastered that distance.  I can then extend my fartlek distance to 40-45 steps and then to 50-55 steps.  It all depends on the goals you have set for your running program.  Measuring your pulse every minute during your recovery phase is very important.  A quick recovery – under one minute is indicative of excellent physical fitness.  Early in the season my upper pulse is measured between 150 and 160 beats per second.  A measure of performance is to have my pulse rate below 120 beats per second in less than a minute.  As the season progresses and the temperature ramps up to around 100 degrees, the readings vary by very little.  By that time I’ve built up my endurance and I start extending my running distance to 60-70 (steps on my left foot) or more.  If it’s a good day and I feel really good, I will extend my last fartlek to 100 steps on my left foot.

I drink whole-fruit mangosteen juice to eliminate, or minimize and running related sore muscles.  I’ve found that whole-fruit mangosteen juice actually eliminates any muscle fatigue or soreness, even after not running for months.  I hydrate very well and listen to my body at all times.  I’m no longer pushing just to push.  If I run a really good fartleks one day and the next day it doesn’t feel right, then I truncate my run after three or four fartleks rather than running a dozen or more.

Why is a fartlek better for you?  A jog will keep your heart rate fairly consistent –whether it is at 150 or more beats per minute (I typically run in the 150-160 beats per minute range).  A fartlek causes your heart to race upward and then it comes back down.  You are cycling your heart muscles – it puts a lot of stress on that muscle.  In less than a couple of miles you can get an exceptional workout.  Sprinting at full speed is less damaging to your knees.  I’ve never had a knee injury while sprinting, but I’ve had several knee and other leg-related injuries over the years with the constant grind of jogging.  My objective is to get the best cardiovascular exercise in the minimal time allowed.  Why go out and run five, six or eight or ten miles and come back and have no real time to do other things?  At one point in my life I was running 8+ miles daily after work routinely during the week just to keep in shape.

You heart is able to handle the stress and when cycle it up and down by sprinting, and you get a better cardiovascular workout than by simple jogging.  My daughter and grandson used to run three 5K races a year with me – around Memorial Day, around Independence Day and around Labor Day.  Before my grandson turned a teenager (several years ago) he would usually beat me.  I had been jogging and not doing anything different.  I could finish a 5K race in a reasonable time, but it’s hard to compete with youth.  On one Memorial Day race he beat me by four minutes.  I started doing sprints up hills – a variation of fartleks.  I would sprint uphill and then walk down hill and do it over and over again.  There’s not much time between Memorial Day and Independence Day, but I managed to beat him by four minutes on that race and I did not other training other than uphill sprints.

If you are like many of us who do not have the time to spend jogging for an hour or more a day, you might consider adding fartleks to your routine, even if it is just one day a week.  It’s hard to wean yourself off jogging, but you can.  Different running programs improve different aspects of our healthSprinting improves your cardiovascular health.  Long distance running improves your endurance.  You need both.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Pain Management – What Can You Do?

Pain

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I couldn’t resist posting a picture of Navy Seals enduring pain through their training program, especially having to lay in cold water (59 degrees in the summer time in San Deigo Bay).

The Basics: There are a number of processes by which pain spreads through your body. This is a brief discussion of the COX-2 mechanism.

COX-2 is a primary mechanism for pain generation in your body.

Pain medications inhibit the COX-2 enzyme.  However, they also inhibit the COX-1 enzyme, which is not good.

Curcumin (from turmeric) and gamma mangostin (a xanthone found in the mangosteen fruit) are natural inhibitors of COX-2 without inhibiting COX-1.

There are many nutritional supplements that can assist you with pain management.

The Details:  Understanding how pain progresses can give you some better insight into why some things work better than other things.

COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) is an enzyme that is typically dormant and awaiting instructions to activate to fight pain by using biological mediators – prostaglandins, protacyclin and thromboxane.  When an injury or trauma occurs in your body – assume you shut the car door on your finger – your body responds by activating the COX-2 enzyme.  It ‘turns on’ and immediately isolates your injury through swelling – the swelling minimizes any infection that can reach the injury site.  Once activated, COX-2 is responsible for the pain, redness, heat and soreness associated with swelling and inflamed joints/muscles/ligaments/tendons/etc.

Pharmaceutical companies developed NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) to fight pain and inflammation (swelling).  They found that NSAIDs inhibited the COX-2 enzyme, which is great, but they also inhibit the COX-1 enzyme, which is detrimental to your health – think bleeding ulcers in your stomach and gastrointestinal lining, not to mention other side effects.  COX-2 selective drugs were developed which were ‘selective’ in fighting the COX-2 enzyme and had minimal effect on the COX-1 enzyme.  However, the side effects became life-threatening, and the minimal effects were still stronger than desired.  Celebrex is the only COX-2 selective drug available in the United States.  Vioxx and Bextra were removed due to death, heart attacks and strokes associated with long-term use.

Common side effects of Celebrex are abdominal pain, headache, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, kidney failure, aggravated hypertension, tinnitus, blurred vision, weight gain, water retention, drowsiness, anxiety, fainting and general weakness.  Other side effects include an increase risk of heart attack, stroke and other terminal conditions.  Mix Celebrex with other drugs and you can compound the risk of many serious undesirable health problems.

My research has found that there are only two compounds that can effectively inhibit the enzyme COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) and not affect COX-1 (cyclooxygenase-1) – a medical dilemma which as led to many deaths and prescription drugs being pulled from the marketplace.  Curcumin and gamma mangostin are chemical compounds that can effectively shut down COX-2 without affecting COX-1Gamma mangostin is a xanthone contained in the mangosteen fruit (not a mango).  Curcumin is found in turmeric, a spice in the ginger family.  All the other compounds that I’ve researched have some level of impact on COX-1.

I can attest to the efficacy of the gamma mangostin in fighting pain.  I did shut the car door on my middle finger – my knuckle.  Fortunately I was in my driveway.  I went inside and drank six ounces of whole fruit mangosteen juice which contains 40+ xanthones – gamma mangostin being one of them.  I went back to the car and headed off to work.  Throughout the day I had no pain in my finger – no swellingno redness no noticeable heatnothing.  I had full range of motion of that finger.  If I squeezed on my knuckle where the injury occurred I could feel pain.

I’ve been a long-distance runner for many, many years.  I would stop running in the winter months.  In the spring/summer I would start running again and I would have many days of muscle pain following the resumption of my hot-weather running habit.  I noticed that if I drank an ounce of whole fruit mangosteen juice before a practice run, immediately following a run and again that night I could see a reduction of 95-98% of the pain I had previously endured.  Pain was essentially erased during my training phase.  I have used this pain management option for many other types of pain (headache, tooth ache, etc) with good results.

Nutritional supplements that assist a pain management program are glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, (MSM) methylsulfonylmethane, (SAMe) s-adenosylmethionine, omega-3 fatty acids, krill, unsaponified soy oil, avocado oil, curcumin, ginger, boswellia, Korean angelica, Bromelain, vitamin D3, Astaxanthin, vitamin C, green tea extract, (EGCG) epigallocatechin gallate, niacinamide, resveratrol, coenzyme Q-10, (PQQ) pyrroloquinoline quinone, (NAC) n-acetylcysteine and (GLA) gamma linolenic acid.

In and of themselves, many of these nutritional supplements don’t have side effects.  However, in the presence of prescription drugs and/or other health problems, there may be serious consequences.  As such, talk to your physician before starting a nutritional supplement to support your current pain management program.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Health – Arthritis – Fix the Cause – Eliminate the Pain

Arthritic pain

geralt / Pixabay

The Basics:  Here are the basics you need to know about arthritis and what you can do to help eliminate arthritis pain.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease.  If you treat the symptoms of arthritis (pain, swelling, stiffness, etc), you will always treat symptoms.

You must treat the cause of arthritis to control and eliminate the disease.  What you don’t know about arthritis can be painful.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease caused when human collagen is exposed to the blood stream (injury, wear-out, etc).  Your autoimmune system attacks the ‘invader’ (human collagen) and the result is swelling, pain, etc.

Arthritis can be treated with Type II Undenatured Chicken CollagenType II Undenatured Chicken Collagen is geometrically very close to the structure of human collagen – expose your immune system to the nearly identical geometrical structures, and, over time your body will accept the human collagen as a normal molecule of the human body.

The Details:  Continue reading to fully understand the nature of the disease and why you can make effective changes by treat the cause, not the symptoms.

Arthritis is a common degenerative joint disease that many people develop as you age.  In this blog, I am referring specifically to osteoarthritis, although many of the examples I use can be attributed to rheumatoid arthritis also.  In 2011, over 50 million people in the United States had osteoarthritis and/or rheumatoid arthritisOsteoarthritis has been considered to be an age-related, wear-out generated disease, whereas rheumatoid arthritis has been considered to be an autoimmune disease.  Current research indicates that both are autoimmune diseases and can be treated and controlled.

Arthritis can do structural damage to your joints and may lead to functional impairment and disability.  Excessive weight can exacerbate this disease in your weight-bearing joints.  Most treatments (corrective action) address reduction in activity of those joints involved and taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as acetaminophen.  All prescription drugs have side effects – acetaminophen and similar NSAIDs can damage your liver and kidneys, especially with high dosages and long-term treatment.  Traditional treatments do not address the cause of the disease, nor do they rebuild damage joint cartilage.

I am concerned about cause and effectCause and effect is my specialty – my niche in health and wellness.  I research what happens in the human body at the cellular level – biochemically speaking.  If you don’t know what the cause of something is, how can you effectively treat it.  Treating symptoms does not fix the problem.  It may allow the problem to be resolved over time, and make you feel better because those annoying symptoms aren’t there to bother you; but the cause of the problem exists and may recur at any time.  Find out what the problem is and fix it.  Some things are much easier than others to fix once and for all – or, fix it each time it occurs and don’t suffer for long-term symptoms that can disrupt your life.

I research cause and effect and report what the data indicates.  As with everything in life, you are free to make whatever choices you desire regarding your health.  It amazes me constantly that when offered a solution for a problem, some people prefer to live with the symptoms than to take action to fix the cause.  Choices have consequences.

Your joints connect your skeleton together.  They are composed of a wear-resistant tissues called articular cartilage, some fibrous proteins called collagen, proteoglycans and chondrocytes that produce new cartilage.  The anatomical structure of most of your joints provide a smooth shock-absorbing, weight-distributing function for your skeletal bones to smoothly operate (walk, run, lift, etc.).  There are several different types of joints in your body and all of them have limited nerve connections and blood supply, and an inability to self-repair major damage.

Advanced age, gender, genetics, obesity, hormone vitamin and mineral deficiencies, repetitive motions, injury, loss of protein content, bone spurs and other factors can cause the protective cartilage to erode.  The more erosion, the worse the situation becomes.  Since there are not many nerve endings in your joints, it usually takes a lot of damage before you begin to feel any pain.  By then, the damage is usually extensive.  Arthritis can also affect joints with minimal to no weight being activities, such as you fingers.  Scientists speculate that lifestyle, diet, inflammation, insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes and other related factors can generate the arthritic condition in these areas.

There are several metabolic dynamics that contribute to the progression of your arthritis.  Excessive inflammation, hormone deficiencies, arachidonic acid, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are interrelated and cause arthritis to worsenInflammation is typically related to lifestyle choices and nutritional balanceArachidonic acid is a precursor to pain, swelling and related joint discomfort and damage.  As inflammation increases, the amount of arachidonic acid increases which causes more pain and suffering.

Each one of the cells in your body needs mitochondria to provide the necessary core energy to operate efficiently and effectively.  Age, inflammation and other factors cause your mitochondria to become less functional and result in arthritis gaining a stronger foothold in your joints.  Excess uncontrolled free radicals generate oxidative stressDietary and nutritional choices can increase or decrease oxidative stressEstrogen deficiency typically happens with age.  There is a lot of evidence that estrogen deficiency contributes to the progression of arthritis.

Many doctors will tell you that there is no cure for osteoarthritis and they treat the symptoms – the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.  Some physicians may even recommend joint or physical therapy and exercise in combination with drugs for pain control.  Since rheumatoid arthritis is considered to be an autoimmune disease, doctors recommend treatment with corticosteroids, such as prednisonePrednisone, like all prescription medicines have side effects that are undesirablePrednisone, according to my research, has been associated with some life-threatening complications.

Chicken soup has been recommended by mothers for generations to ‘heal what ails you’.  Recent studies show that mothers might not have been that far off base in their treatment options.  Certainly, chicken soup is non-prescription and has little to no side effects.  In 2000, nutritional scientists discovered that chicken soup actually prevented or reduced the levels of inflammation associated with arthritic joints.  Further research found that the genesis of the arthritic autoimmune response in your body comes from the exposure of collagen.

Collagen is a molecule that is hidden from your body because of its physical location – hidden inside your joints.  Your immune system doesn’t physically recognize collagen when it is exposed to your blood stream.  As a result, it is viewed as a risk and your autoimmune response attacks the collagen so that it doesn’t affect your overall health.

A soluble component of chicken soup was found to prevent or inhibit the inflammatory response of your autoimmune system in attacking your collagen.  After extensive research, the component of chicken soup was discovered to be a form of undenatured type II chicken collagen.  The strength and effectiveness of the undenatured type II chicken collagen is dependent on the method of soup preparation.

It is the molecular structure of undenatured type II chicken collagen that actually begins the healing process for arthritis.  In order to shut down your autoimmune system, you have to train your immune system to recognize the geometric shape of the human collagen moleculeUndenatured type II chicken collagen actually resembles the human collagen molecule very closely.  Close enough that your autoimmune system will stop attacking your collagen, thus stopping the progression of your arthritis.  It doesn’t happen overnight though.  It takes months for your body’s immune system to recognize and shift into a non-attack mode every time it encounters your human collagen.

If you can stop your immune system from creating the problem to start with, then you can treat the residual inflammation and joint damage.  You treat the cause of the autoimmune response and eliminate the from interfering with your overall therapy.  It wasn’t until 2011 that the autoimmune response was found to be present in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Most disease starts out as low-level inflammation that is left unchecked.  Low-level inflammation can be detected in many cases by a simple highly sensitive c-reactive protein blood test.  If you keep your low-level inflammation under control, then you stand a good chance of preventing or reducing the severity of any disease you might encounter.

I have glossed over the specifics associated with many of the aspects of arthritis – its causes and treatments – in order to present this topic in a fairly easy to understand manner (although I know several of you would disagree).  The bottom line is that you need to stop the cause of the your autoimmune response before you can make any progress in treatment that works.

Google Type II Undenatured Chicken Collegen – it’s available from many sources – inexpensive and in pill form.  It takes your immune system about 90 days or more to fully recognize the geometric shape of the human collegen.  Once recognized, your immune system determines it is no longer a threat to you.  Once the source or cause of arthritis is under control, then you can treat the swelling, pain, etc effectively knowing that it will not return.

Inflammation can be treated with anti-inflammatoriesprescription and natural.  I am not a medical professional and do not (and cannot) recommend any prescription or natural remedies.  I can make you aware of them – provide factual data.  You are responsible for you health and you need to be armed with the right questions and literature to help you and your doctor come up with the best plan of treatment for your specific needs.

Red O’Laughlin  aka The Prosperity Professor

Cancer – Can You Design Your Own Cancer Treatment?

Cancer Treatment Options

jarmoluk / Pixabay

The Basics: What is important to know when discussing cancer treatment options with you doctor.

A primary tumor controls the growth of cancer seeds in your body – they are kept dormant.  Remove the tumor and there is no further control over the growth cycles of cancer seeds already in your body.

How many cancer seeds do you have?  It cannot be determined – many are microscopic.  The big question, are they genetically the same as the primary tumor you had removed?  Again, it cannot be determined.

Cancer treatment after surgery is a fight at the cellular level.  The more you know about the tumor you had removed and what each cancer treatment drug does, the better armed you are to make intelligent decisions.

Find and develop a good rapport with your oncologist and discuss the details to your satisfaction.  It is your decision – there are many options.

The Details: Not all cancer cells react the same to treatment options.  This brief blog will attempt to give you some insight into the myriad of cancer treatment options.

Cancer seeds are in your body.  Some are circulating in your blood stream.  Others have found a home buried in an organ, node or other body part.  The cancer seeds are kept in a state of dormancy by the primary cancer tumor.  It doesn’t want competition for the resources to continue growing.  Remove the primary tumor with surgery and the biochemical controls are removed for all the cancer seeds.

Not all cancer seeds do not develop into a cancer tumor.  Some die – wither away because they can’t get the nourishment needed for growth.  Circulating tumor cells (CTC) are removed from your body if they can’t find a home; and, it is difficult to find one in many cases.

The two key concerns you should have are how many cancer seeds or CTC are flowing throughout your body; and, secondly, how genetically different are they? There is a strong likelihood that you have cancer seeds in your blood stream, and that those cancer seeds are genetically different than your primary tumor.

Let’s explore the defenses that your tumor has to fight conventional chemotherapy. Two-thirds of all breast cancer cells are HER2 (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2) negative and estrogen receptor (ER) positive. A standard chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer is a combination of three chemo drugs – Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol. Taxol has been shown to be minimally effective, if at all, if HER2 is negative and the patient’s ER is positive. So, what about the other two chemo drugs used in that combination treatment? Adriamycin is also ineffective in treating breast cancer patients with a negative HER2 (which is approximately 80%). Four out of five women would receive no benefit from Adriamycin. Taxol and Adriamycin have some serious side effects. Why give it as part of your treatment if it is not effective?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time what the genetic disposition of your cancer is before starting your cancer treatment? To confuse thing further, your primary tumor can be the reverse of your circulating cancer cells – you treat the primary tumor and the circulating cancer seeds are not impacted at all by the chemotherapy regimen. My wife is going through chemotherapy now and is receiving Adriamycin and Cytoxan.  She is barely HER2 negative and ER positive.  We asked lots of questions regarding the efficacy of this treatment before starting it.

The battle against cancer must be fought at the cellular level. You need to know as much as possible about the primary tumor and the circulating tumor cells as possible before treatment. The chemo drug fluorouracil (5-FU) requires activation by the cancer cell by the enzyme uridine phosphorylase. There are cancer cells that are resistant to 5-FU. Why use 5-FU if you know ahead of time if the cancer cell is resistant to that particular chemo drug? Gemzar is another chemo drug which requires activation by the cancer cell by another enzyme – deoxycytidine kinase (DCK). Cancer cells vary the amount of DCK they produce – hence, if you know that your primary and/or circulating cancer seeds are deficient or have little DCK, why use Gemzar as the prescribed treatment? Adriamycin (doxorubicin) targets an essential enzyme, topoisomerase 2 to be effective. The level of topoisomerase 2 varies in the tumor. Those with high levels of this enzyme respond well to Adriamycin.

Note:  I’ve used 5-FU in several treatments over the years as a topical treatment for skin cancer.  I’ve found it to be very effective with no side effects (none that I noticed).  If you are light-skinned and have been in the sun a lot in your youth, you might want to talk to your dermatologist about the benefits of 5-FU or other drugs in the proactive treatment of skin cancer.

There are some tumors that can actually take the chemo drug and modify it or make it nearly ineffective. 5-FU is degraded by dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD). Some cancer cells have very high levels of DPD and render 5-FU useless. Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) requires the cancer cell to produce the enzyme gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS). Tumors produce varying amounts of GCS – those tumors with higher levels of GCS negate a large effect of Cytoxan in attempting to kill the cancer cell. There are a series of platinum chemo drugs (cisplatin, carboplatin, oxaliplatin, etc.). Platinum chemo drugs work effectively when they can attack the cancer cell’s DNA. Some cancer cells produce a ‘repair mechanism’ to combat platinum chemo drugs. It is called excision repair cross-complementation 1 (ERCC1) protein. Cancer cells with high levels of the ERCC1 protein can repair the damage done by the platinum chemo drugs to the cancer cell’s DNA making the tumor nearly immune to platinum chemo drugs.

Methotrexate works by blocking an enzyme (dihydrofolate reductase – DHFR) inside the cancer cell. Some tumors can recognize the presence of an enzyme blocker and produce more DHFR to reverse the effect of Methotrexate. An interesting cancer capability is seen when MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1) gene is used to convey certain chemo drugs completely through the tumor without allowing any activation while the chemo drug was present inside the cancer cell. Tumors that have high amounts of MDR1 are very resilient to the chemo drugs, vincristine, Taxol, mitimycin C, and Adriamycin. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how much MDR1 is present in the cancer cell before beginning treatment?

There are some natural supplements that can be used effectively to help combat some of the cancer cell’s defenses. Nuclear factor-kappaB (Nf-kB) is used by some cancers to grow. Curcumin inhibits Nf-kB. A patient with cancer cells containing high amounts of NF-kB would probably benefit from using the natural supplement, curcumin. Several cancer cells produce glutathione S-transferase pi (GST-pi). GST-pi is used to withstand the effects of numerous chemo drugs. Pomegranate contains ellagic acid which prevents the effectiveness of GST-pi.

Why do so many people develop the same or different cancer five or ten years after cancer surgery?  It is difficult to determine the reason why.  There are many causes of cancer.  If you do not change something in your lifestyle to prevent the disruption of your DNA that will cause cancer cells to find life, then you most likely will develop more of the same kind of cancer.  If you are treating cancer seeds based on the analysis of the primary tumor and the cancer seeds are genetically different, then the chemotherapy treatment is not as effective as it can be.

The traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to treat cancer has new hope in CTC (circulating tumor cell) analysis. CTC analysis can tell the details your doctor needs to know before recommending a treatment. CTC analysis examines the nuances of the circulating cancer seeds and provides a better, more viable option in the total treatment of your primary and any floating metastatic cancer cells. Don’t accept the ‘standard’ treatment. Demand to know what kind of cancer cell you have and whether a particular chemo drug is effective against the cancer cell’s defenses.  Google CTC analysis if you want more details.

Red O’Laughlin – aka The Prosperity Professor

 

Weight Loss – How Grehlin Helps and Hurts You

Ghrelin and Hunger

DasWortgewand / Pixabay

The Basics: What you need to know to understand and combat ghrelin and lose weight.

Ghrelin is a hormone.  It sends signals to your brain telling you it is time to eat.  Once your stomach and intestines have processed the last meal you ate, it is time to fill up again.

Leptin is a hormone.  It sends signals to your brain telling you that you are full and to stop eating.

Eat slowly and pay attention to what you are eating to reduce your ghrelin levels.  A pre-meal is a good idea to reduce the overall effect of ghrelin on your appetite.

Fructose stops leptin from signaling your brain to stop eating.  Unsaturated fats boost your leptin levels so that you will feel fuller faster.  Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.

The Details:  What you need to know if you really want to understand more about what makes you hungry and what you can do about it.

Ghrelin is a hormone, secreted in your belly and intestines.  When your stomach is empty ghrelin makes you want to eat. And if you ignore the signals, which typically come every half hour or so, then your belly sends out more ghrelin. “And not just a little bit more,” says Dr. Oz. “A ton more until you’re absolutely famished and have to eat whatever you see.” This is why deprivation dieting or starvation dieting doesn’t work.  Fasting, with the right mindset going in – a designated period of time – or type(s) of foods – makes more sense than depriving yourself of food.  Ghrelin is an extremely powerful hormone.  It is very difficult to ignore, but you can fool it.

Eat something small and light a half hour or so before you sit down to eat your main meal.  This might include nuts, fruit, or even a glass of water with some soluble fiber.  I prefer to take two or three tablets of glucomannan if I know I will be eating a lot of pasta when I go out to eat.  When you have no food in your stomach or intestines, your ghrelin levels will rise.  A pre-meal shuts down the level of ghrelin intensity since you have some food in the digestion process.  Smartly planned, your main meal should be less than you would normally eat.

Your ghrelin levels dissipate when food is being processed in your body.  Eating slowly extends your digestion time.  Put your fork down after each bite.  Taste you food – feel the texture of your food.  Chew it completelyHorace Fletcher and Dr. Hendrik Smit popularized the practice of chewing each bite of food at least 33-35 times before swallowing.  When food is being processed slowly in your stomach and intestines, it limits the amount of ghrelin that can be made.  You are winning the battle against ghrelin.

Leptin, which is a hormone that’s secreted by our bodies’ own fat.  As your body is digesting food, the fat being consumed slowly turns on the production of leptinLeptin controls how full you feel as you eat.  There is a satiety level that all of us have – a temporary feeling of fullness about one-third to one-half way through a typical meal.  If we stopped, we would be full and sated.  However, we justify our action to continue eating by telling ourselves that it is just a little bit more; or, I don’t want to send that much food back to the kitchen; or, I paid for this meal and I’m not going to leave any.  We rationalize eating more when we should stop eating.  We have developed habits over our lives and this is a hard one to break.

Fructose, found in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is harmful in many ways.  It blocks leptin from telling your brain that you are full, so you keep eating.  Avoid foods rich in high-fructose corn syrupUnsaturated fats are healthy for you.  Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help to boost your leptin levels – you feel fuller faster.  Saturated fats do not boost your leptin levels.

Ghrelin and leptin oppose each other – one wants you to eat and the other wants you to stop eating.  Ghrelin is much more powerful than leptinGhrelin also permeates the pleasure center of your brain – the same center that is stimulated by opiates.  This is why it is so difficult to have just ‘one’ cookie; or, one of anything.  If that first one tasted so good, the next one will taste even better.  Knowing ahead of time that your brain will try to get you to have seconds is to be well-armed in fighting the battle of extra calories.

Red O’Laughlin aka The Prosperity Professor

Improving Brain Health

 

Age-related nutrient deficiencies can be supplemented.

ColiN00B / Pixabay – Age-related nutrient deficiencies can be supplemented.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an essential fatty acid.  Our bodies produce essential fatty acids from the food that we eat.  As we age, the chemical processes in our bodies slow down. They lose efficiency.  PS levels begin to decline as we reach middle age.  This is exacerbated by lowering levels of other essential fatty acids, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

PS is required for successful neurotransmission.  PS deficiency has been noted for various types of mental impairment – Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression and Parkinson’s disease.  The scarcity of PS in patients with psychological impairment led some investigators to believe that PS supplementation could reverse memory loss if PS levels were brought up to normal levels.

In various studies, PS supplementation has raised levels of PS in our brains.  It has boosted nerve chemical activity, stimulated nerve cell growth and lowered levels of stress hormones.  In many cases, PS appears to reverse age-related memory loss in clinical studies.

I have looked at several studies with successful outcomes when patients were treated with 100 to 400 milligrams of PS a day for an average of three months.  The patients were typically elderly with various degrees of age-related memory loss. I have seen very positive results in my own family with dosages in this range.

Is a deficiency in PS the only cause for age-related memory loss?  No.  Some studies have shown that hypertension, diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, heavy metal poisoning, menopause, multiple medications, depression, lack of mental activity, stress and atherosclerosis have an effect on cognitive impairment.  In fact, one study was done by Larrabee & Crook in 1994 estimated that more than half of people over age 60 have some age-related memory impairment.

Age-related memory impairment can be as slight as a perception of memory loss.  You say to yourself, “Where did I put my car keys?”  Many times, this slight level of perceived memory impairment can be overcome by looking at the location of where you placed your keys, glasses, or other items that you use frequently. Say to your brain, “I left my keys on the counter next to the phone.”  This reinforces your brain to remember where you left something.

PS supplementation has been shown to be more effective with lower levels of age-related memory loss.  There are few side effects from PS supplementation – nothing more significant than an upset stomach.  The longer you had impaired memory problems, the longer it takes to return to normal.

There has been a noticeable change in memory loss in most patients, even if they don’t return to the full memory level.  There seems to be a gradual build-up of PS to required levels in your brain.  The longer it is taken, the better the results.

Professor Parris Kidd from the Memory Loss Institute has reviewed over 3000 peer-reviewed research papers on PS and found remarkable benefits.  PS supplementation has been established as very safe to take.  Professor Kidd believes that PS supplementation (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) is the single best means for conserving memory and other high brain functions as we age.

Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne are cholinesterase inhibitors. They are prescribed by doctors to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers believe that preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain fights the onset of Alzheimer’s. The side effects of these drugs are typically nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, dizziness, overall weakness, muscle cramps and more are reported side effects. Another commonly used dementia drug is Namenda. It works to inhibit the stimulation of nerve cells by glutamate.

Retaining proper brain function in later years can be as simple as using your brain more.  But, there is a supplement that can help you if you are interested. PS is only one of several factors that influence age-related brain dysfunction. Talk to your physician about taking supplemental PS. Some studies show it is more effective than Aricept and similar drugs. The side effects are significantly less than prescribed medications.