Month: December 2012

The 3 Fundamentals for Increasing energy Levels

There are three basic fundamentals, which lie at the base of all health and longevity. Surely, a large part of your health is genetics. In fact, genetics make up more than 60% of what will happen to you health-wise. However, the remaining percentage depends on your eating habits, stress and other factors. Let’s explore them:
Eliminating harmful habits/exposure to toxins
No amount of healthy eating can balance a bad habit like smoking for example – it depletes Vitamin C from the body at a rate, which cannot be kept up with. However, there are harmful substances everywhere and at not so obvious places. For example, if you live in an older home, you can have a variety of  general and unspecific symptoms, all related to exposure to mold spores. The common mold Aspergillus for example is found in most homes, where the humidity levels are high. It’s spores can cause a variety of health problems, including difficulty breathing, poor concentration and much more. Most mold spores are carcinogenic also and therefore – you should do your best to avoid exposure to them.
Exercise
Almost all healthy people who live long and happy lives have one thing in common – they exercise. This may not be the obvious type of exercise, like going to the gym. They might just be an active person overall, and use less transportation, substituting it for walking. Exercise keeps your circulatory system in check, and we know that circulatory and heart conditions sit at the top of death causes. It’s not necessary to be extreme – a 20 minute run several times per week will put you way ahead of most people. Make sure to exercise away from big roads or other polluted areas as this may do you more harm than good – we will talk about this in other articles as well.
Diet
Your diet is more important than most people think. Switching to a good diet may take some time in order to see tangible results, which is why many people disregard the effectiveness of a healthy diet. You don’t have be extreme when it comes to your diet also – excluding soft drinks, bread and MSG-ridden meats from your diet will put you way ahead of most people and you will avoid some of the most obviously harmful toxins. In addition to that, I always recommend taking a good quality multivitamin and fish oil – achieving a 100% RDI of most vitamins is very hard through diet alone. The same applies to fish oil.

Low Fat vs. Low Carb – Which is Better for Lowering Blood Pressure?

A low carb and high fat diet is the base of most successful weight loss programs, including the Atkins diet. The mechanism behind weight gain on a high-carb diet is now pretty clear – eating carbohydrates causes spikes in blood sugar, which releases insulin. As a result, any excess sugar is stored by the body as fat. This mechanism is so effective that you can easily gain 5-10 lbs of fat in a few days and more importantly – quickly undo any progress that you have made. Therefore, it is important not to indulge in carb binges soon after you have successfully lost weight. Regardless, lets look at the differences between a low fat and a low carb diet:
Low fat diets and blood pressure

A low-fat and a high-carbohydrate diet is based on the obsolete theory that fat is bad because it is high in calories. It also causes cholesterol and blood lipid problems. At least that’s what we thought. We now know that fat is the main source of energy for the body, and it makes up nearly 100% of cellular walls. Therefore, a low fat diet is generally speaking not a good idea, unless you are trying to deal with a specific medical condition, which requires it.
Losing weight on a low fat diet is also difficult – in order to do so, you would have to eat very frequent and small carbohydrate-rich meals. Eating anything more than can be stored in your muscles and liver (which is about 800 kcal) will result in a fat gain, especially if you are predisposed to gaining weight (which you probably are, since you are reading this article).
High fat, low carb – does it really cause hypertension?

This is the most effective strategy, when it comes to losing weight. But wait, isn’t fat high in calories? It is. In fact, it has more than twice the calories of carbohydrates per gram. However, there are countless examples that support the fact that caloric intake and weight loss are connected only partially. You can easily lose weight while consuming 3000 kcal per day. You can also keep staying overweight, despite your best efforts to starve yourself. It is all in the source of your calories and not the amount.
But what is the best way to lower your blood pressure? Your diet has a big impact on this, but most of the things you have probably already heard about this are wrong – high fat diets do NOT raise blood pressure on their own. To learn more about how to lower your blood pressure, read this report.

The Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most commonly taken vitamins. However, there is still a large percentage of people who don’t get enough. Vitamin C is the primary antioxidant in the body and protects it’s cells from free radical damage. In addition to that, it is also used by the body to produce collagen – an elastic substance, which makes more than 50% of your skin and blood vessels.
Long-term effects of a chronic vitamin c deficiency
Many people today are afraid of high cholesterol. Why? Because it leads to heart disease and arteriosclerosis. However, this is not the whole truth. The reason why high cholesterol is suspected to increase the chance of dying from a heart attack is simple – the cholesterol builds up on the walls of your arteries and as a result – a plaque forms. This causes blood vessels to become more and more narrow, until they barely let any blood through.
Vitamin C has a big implication in this – cholesterol doesn’t build up on the arterial walls, just because it is ‘high’. It does so in order to repair a damage in the structure of the wall. One of the most common causes of such damage is a chronic low-level deficiency of vitamin c, which in turn slows down your body’s production of collagen and other several other, vital to the circulatory system organic chemicals.

Multivitamins vs. Taking Vitamins Separately

I am a big proponent of taking vitamins separately. There are many reasons for that and I will now list some of them:
Zinc or Zinc Aspartate?
Many people don’t look at the form of the vitamins in most multivitamin supplements. For example, zinc aspartate and magnesium aspartate are two often used forms of magnesium. Unfortunately, they break down into aspartic acid, which is certainly not the best thing for you. When buying your vitamins separately, you can choose exactly which form of which vitamin or mineral you want.
Dosage
Most people don’t need doses as high as in most multivitamins, especially when it comes to B-vitamins. Although those vitamins are water-soluble and have no established toxic levels, Is taking 50 times the normal dose of a certain vitamin healthy? By normal dose, I mean the dose you can obtain from food. I don’t think so and don’t see a point in doing so. In addition, many multivitamins will have low levels of magnesium and vitamin D, which are both extremely important. A part of the reason why is cost – B complex vitamins are the cheapest and it is no coincidence that many multivitamins include more than 3000% RDA of them, especially if they are designed for athletes.
Minerals?
On the other hand, taking minerals together seems to cause no issues at all. I would advice against men taking iron supplements, as they have been linked to a variety of complications and liver problems. Women on the other hand menstruate, which is ho why get rid of excess iron in their body.  The problem with getting your minerals from food is the depleted soil, especially in the US. Magnesium is a prime example of this and less than 30% of people get their RDI.
 

Anti-aging and Age Reversal – To What Degree Is It Possible?

When it comes to anti-aging and age reversal, there are two components – the way you feel and the way you look. It is an indisputable fact that the first component is easily affected by your diet, sleep, exercise and levels of stress. The second component however, has been a focus of many new products on the market. Let’s look at what causes aging in the first place, what are it’s signs and can it really be reversed:
DNA multiplication errors
This is the main reason why we age and why the rate of cancer increases exponentially with age. Since we don’t yet understand the mechanics behind this, we are still unable to influence it. Therefore, we can assume that correcting DNA multiplication errors is outside of our control for now.
Collagen synthesis & anti-oxidants
This is where the magic happens. The older we get, the harder it becomes for our skin to synthesize the elastic substances needed for it to be wrinkle-free. This is also connected to lower vitamin C levels. Many anti-aging products use a simple topical vitamin formula in order to replenish the vitamin stores of the skin cells and aid collagen synthesis. Surprisingly, this can work quite well and in a very short amount of time. When it comes to deep wrinkles however, it is still not clear how much we can reverse them, as they have already became a structural defect in the structure of the skin.
Slowing aging down
Slowing aging down is clearly possible. However, the most results often come from your diet and not from a topical cream you use. Smoking, drinking and sun exposure are all contributing factors to skin aging and eliminating them can greatly slow down aging. In addition to that, antioxidants can temporarily protect us from those ‘free radicals’. When it comes to skin aging, vitamin c and vitamin a are the most important anti-oxidants, as we know for a fact that they take part in collagen synthesis.
 

Burning Calories Through Exercise – Not As Easy As You May Think

We all know the benefits of cardio exercise – a low to moderate pace exercise for a long period of time, usually more than 20 minutes. These benefits include improved mental function, feeling better overall, increased levels of energy, low resting heart rate and weight loss. Wait, weight loss? Can running, or any activity for that matter, really help you lose weight? Sadly, the answer is NO.
Why cardio exercise is not a good way to burn calories
Cardio exercise is an extremely inefficient way of burning calories. Most of your caloric expenditure is in the form of heat – heating up the body. That’s why sitting on the couch, watching TV will burn you about 100 calories per hour, compared to about 130 if you spent that time running or walking.
Why cardio exercise might help you lose weight
However, as we also know, burning calories does not equal losing weight and there are plenty of examples to support that. Cardio exercise helps you lose weight by improving your overall health, including circulatory system, insulin sensitivity and serotonin levels. The reason why being lean is considered attractive is because it is healthy. This often means that becoming more healthy will result in weight loss, if you are currently overweight.
Diet vs. Exercise
When it comes to weight loss, your diet is infinitely more important than exercising. If you regularly consume a lot of bread, pasta, sweets or other insulin-spiking foods, you will have a hard time burning off fat through exercise. Making your diet a high-fat one, will quickly lower those blood sugar spikes and will put your body into fat-burning mode – even if you don’t exercise at all. That said, exercise is recommended and even only the increased mental performance is worth it.

Fish Oil – Why You Should Take It

Fish oil is one of the most well-researched supplements and has many functions in the body. Unfortunately, it is now losing it’s popularity and people are starting to look for the new and shiny thing, ignoring the fundamentals, like this one. If you are serious about your health, taking fish oil is one of the best things you can do.
Recently, the frightening theory that fish oil may increase prostate cancer risk in men has been discussed on various forums. This came as a result from a research, published on PubMed, which stated that men with higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in their bloodstream seemed to have higher risk for developing prostate cancer. The first obvious flaw here is that blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids are not necessarily correlated with higher omega-3 diet intake. In fact, the reverse seems to be the case. I’m not going to make this post all about this research, as there are plenty of people out there who have already debunked this myth. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids will not increase your risk for any type of cancer. Period.
I personally began taking fish oil a little over a year ago. After the first month, I really did start to see certain health benefits, especially improved joint health. The results from any fatty acid supplementation come so slowly that it can be easy not to notice them. It’s the same process, by which people get unhealthy and overweight – the change happens so slowly, that you don’t realize it. Meanwhile, if you woke up one day and you were suddenly 30 pounds overweight you would probably freak out.
This is the first important point – fish oil works SLOWLY. But it does work .I’ve noticed better mood, lack of mood swings, better looking skin (which my wife commented on) and most of all – lack of joint pain and about 3 times more joint mobility. Apparently, fish oil acts as a ‘lubricant’ on your joints, which is why it works so well for arthritis, as several studies have pointed out. This was enough to convince me to keep taking it and I’ve never known anyone who has experienced anything but good results from taking omega-3.
Just make sure to take a quality product with a high EPA/DHA content, which is what actually counts.