Let it go: Reaction to stress more important than its frequency

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How you perceive and react to stressful events is more important to your health than how frequently you encounter stress, according to health researchers from Penn State and Columbia University.

It is known that stress and negative emotions can increase the risk of heart disease, but the reasons why are not well understood. One potential pathway linking stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system — a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.

Nancy L. Sin and colleagues wanted to find out if daily stress and heart rate variability — a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart — are linked. Heart rate variability is the variation in intervals between consecutive heartbeats.

“Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges,” said Sin, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Healthy Aging and in the department of biobehavioral health at Penn State. “People with lower heart rate variability have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.”

Depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful for health, but less attention has been paid to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life. Prior to this research, very few studies have looked at the relationship between heart rate variability and daily stressful events.

Sin and colleagues analyzed data collected from 909 participants, including daily telephone interviews over eight consecutive days and the results from an electrocardiogram. They report their findings online in Psychosomatic Medicine. The participants were between the ages of 35 and 85 and were drawn from a national study.

During the daily phone interviews, participants were asked to report the stressful events they had experienced that day, rating how stressful each event was by choosing “not at all,” “not very,” “somewhat” or “very.” They were also asked about their negative emotions that day, such as feeling angry, sad and nervous. On average, participants reported having at least one stressful experience on 42 percent of the interview days, and these experiences were generally rated as “somewhat” stressful.

The researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability. No matter how many or how few stressful events a person faces it was those who perceived the events as more stressful or who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions that had lower heart rate variability — meaning these people may be at a higher risk for heart disease.

“These results tell us that a person’s perceptions and emotional reactions to stressful events are more important than exposure to stress per se,” said Sin. “This adds to the evidence that minor hassles might pile up to influence health. We hope these findings will help inform the development of interventions to improve well-being in daily life and to promote better health.”

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/ps-lig022516.php

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High Levels of Intense Exercise May Be Unhealthy for the Heart

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There is growing evidence that high levels of intense exercise may be cardiotoxic and promote permanent structural changes in the heart, which can, in some individuals, predispose them to experience arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm). A review published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology explores current controversies and makes the case for investing in large prospective research studies into the effect of intense exercise on heart structure and function.

There are unquestionable benefits to “getting off the couch.” However, there is already fairly compelling evidence supporting the association between long-term sports practice and increased prevalence of atrial fibrillation, and the fact that this relates to chronic altered atrial substrate. Without challenging the undeniable evidence supporting low and moderate intensity exercise, this review by sports cardiologist André La Gerche, MD, PhD, provides a balanced discussion of the available data for and against the concept that intense exercise, particularly endurance exercise, may cause adverse cardiac changes in some athletes.

“Much of the discussion regarding the relative risks and benefits of long-term endurance sports training is hijacked by definitive media-grabbing statements, which has fueled an environment in which one may be criticized for even questioning the benefits of exercise,” explains Dr. La Gerche, who is Head of Sports Cardiology at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia. “This paper discusses the often questionable, incomplete, and controversial science behind the emerging concern that high levels of intense exercise may be associated with some adverse health effects.”

As Dr. La Gerche points out, all available therapies, pharmacological or otherwise, have a dose-response relationship whereby benefits diminish at high doses and the risk of adverse events increases. An open mind would consider that this may even be possible for exercise.

A commonly held view is that adverse clinical events in athletes are explained by exercise acting as a trigger in individuals who are susceptible because of an underlying abnormality. Dr. La Gerche excludes inherited conditions from this discussion, focusing instead on whether exercise may affect a change in the heart that may serve as a cause of arrhythmias in its own right. He reviews the following emerging controversies:

• Is there a non-linear dose-response relationship with exercise?
• Elite athletes tend to live longer but is this the effect of exercise or other factors such as the absence of smoking and alcohol consumption?
• Is endurance exercise in athletes associated with arrhythmias?
• What are the potential mechanisms that predispose athletes to arrhythmias?
• Is chronic cardiac remodelling a consequence of repeated bouts of injury?
• Why is there disproportionate right ventricular (RV) injury following an acute bout of intense exercise and are there any long-term consequences?
• Is the risk of ischemic heart disease increased with intense exercise?

Many of these controversies are based on small cross-sectional cohort studies and small mechanistic studies that are dwarfed by the large population studies supporting the benefits of exercise, albeit in doses of exercise less than those commonly practiced by elite sportspersons, notes Dr. La Gerche.

“The answers regarding the healthfulness of ‘extreme’ exercise are not complete and there are valid questions being raised,” continues Dr. La Gerche. “Given that this is a concern that affects such a large proportion of society, it is something that deserves investment. The lack of large prospective studies of persons engaged in high-volume and high-intensity exercise represents the biggest deficiency in the literature to date, and, although such work presents a logistical and financial challenge, many questions will remain controversies until such data emege.”

– See more at: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/high-levels-intense-exercise-may-unhealthy-heart/updates/#sthash.CSksX9tM.dpuf

Boston Testosterone is a Testosterone Replacement, Wellness and Preventative Medicine Medical Center that treats and prevents the signs and symptoms associated with Andropause and hormone imbalances.  With affiliates nationally, Boston Testosterone offers hormone replacement therapy, weight loss protocols, erectile dysfunction (ED), Sermorelin-GHRP2 therapy and neutraceutical injectable therapies for men and women.  Their medical facilities offer physician examinations and treatment programs that incorporate the latest in medical science.

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Fat cells outlive skinny ones

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Cells with higher fat content outlive lean cells, says a new study from Michigan State University.

This study has implications for larger organisms, such as humans, as the results support the phenomenon known as the “obesity paradox.” This concept shows that overweight people have the lowest all-cause mortality rates while fit people, oddly enough, have mortality rates comparable to those categorized as slightly obese.

“The obesity paradox baffles scientists across numerous disciplines,” said Min-Hao Kuo, MSU biochemist and molecular biologist who published the study in the current issue of PLoS Genetics. “But when it comes to yeast, which is an excellent model for the studies of human aging, increasing the cellular content of triacylglycerol, or fat, extends the lifespan.”

Kuo’s team was the first to show a positive correlation between Triacylglycerol, or TAG, content and lifespan. The connection provides support for the obesity paradox theory, he added.

TAG is a fat found in all eukaryotes that include animals, plants and fungi. The lipid’s ability to store excessive energy, provide insulation and accumulate in response to many stressors is well known. What’s perplexing, though, is how TAG influences lifespan.

“Our team used genetic approaches to manipulate the cellular capacity of triacylglycerol reproduction and degradation,” Kuo said. “Via sophisticated analyses, we demonstrated that it preserves life through a mechanism that is largely independent of other lifespan regulation pathways common in yeast as well as humans.”

The first thing Kuo’s team did was delete TAG lipases, enzymes that break down the lipid into smaller molecules for different uses including energy extraction. Unable to utilize TAG, these yeast accumulated fat inside the cells. In addition, Kuo and his colleagues boosted the production of the fat by increasing the enzyme for TAG synthesis.

In both cases, blocking TAG breakdown and forcing its production, yeast cells are fatter and have longer lifespan. In contrast, yeast cells depleted of the ability to synthesize TAG are lean but die early. Overexpressing a TAG lipase in an otherwise normal strain forces TAG breakdown. These cells also suffer from a shorter lifespan.

Interestingly, those fat and long-living yeast cells do not seem to suffer from obvious growth defects. They mate and produce progeny well. They also have normal resistance to different environmental stresses. On the other hand, other common methods of extending lifespan, such as caloric restriction and deletion of genes key to nutrient sensing, frequently cause cells to grow slowly or be less tolerant of environmental stresses.

While the team suspects that the pro-longevity function exists in humans, they’ve yet to prove that triacylglycerol could drive the intriguing phenomenon in humans.

“Our paper likely will stimulate a new wave of research that has broad and deep impacts, including potential advances in human medicine,” Kuo said.

Article Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/msu-fco022316.php

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Magnesium Improves Metabolic Markers

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Dietary magnesium may help to lower elevated glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), elevated systolic blood pressure, and elevated C-reactive protein..

Magnesium is a mineral with a major role in the metabolism of glucose, the production of cellular energy, and the manufacture of protein.   A research team led by Yanni Papanikolaou (France), and colleagues assessed data collected on subjects, ages 20 years and older, enrolled in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2001-2010.  The team determined magnesium intake from foods alone, and from foods plus dietary supplements using the methods from the National Cancer Institute. Adults with adequate intake of magnesium from food had significantly different HOMA-IR – a measure of insulin resistance, systolic blood pressure, and HDL-cholesterol, as compared to subjects with inadequate intake of magnesium from food. Adequate intake of magnesium from food plus dietary supplement had significant differences in waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.  The team observed that a higher dietary intake of magnesium from all sources associated with “significantly reduced odds ratios for elevated glycohemoglobin, metabolic syndrome, obesity, overweight or obesity, elevated waist circumference, elevated systolic blood pressure, reduced HDL and elevated C-reactive protein. The study authors submit that: “there is a beneficial relationship between dietary magnesium intake and diabetes-related physiological outcomes.”

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/magnesium-improves-metabolic-markers/

Boston Testosterone is a Testosterone Replacement, Wellness and Preventative Medicine Medical Center that treats and prevents the signs and symptoms associated with Andropause and hormone imbalances.  With affiliates nationally, Boston Testosterone offers hormone replacement therapy, weight loss protocols, erectile dysfunction (ED), Sermorelin-GHRP2 therapy and neutraceutical injectable therapies for men and women.  Their medical facilities offer physician examinations and treatment programs that incorporate the latest in medical science.

Contact us for more information on our doctor prescribed erectile dysfunction therapies.

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New Research Shows Natural Progesterone Can Help Treat Breast Cancer (Part 2)

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This article is republished courtesy of The Official Website of John R. Lee, M.D. If you missed part one of the article, read it here.

A Recipe for Beating (and Preventing) Breast Cancer

The latest research on natural progesterone and breast cancer clearly indicates how important it is for women to maintain healthy, normal levels of progesterone that are in proper balance with estrogen. Doing so could not only increase many womens’ chances of recovering from breast cancer – as the latest research indicates – but could also help them to avoid getting breast cancer in the first place.

As Dr. Lee and Dr. Zava point out in their book, hormonal imbalances have reached epidemic proportions in most developed countries over the last several decades. Due to poor diets, lack of exercise, a rise in obesity levels, the widespread use of hormone-altering chemicals, and other factors, many women suffer from chronically higher than normal estrogen levels and much lower than normal progesterone levels. In other words, many women are in chronic states of estrogen dominance. This is one of the key reasons why breast cancer rates are as high as they are.

Considering the epidemic levels of hormonal imbalance we are experiencing, how can a woman know if her progesterone and estrogen levels are in proper balance? If they are out of balance, how can she return them to proper balance and maintain them in that all-important state? Dr. Lee and Dr. Zava answered these questions in their landmark book: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. While it is not possible here to cover everything they wrote, here is a short summary of their recommendations.

  • Check yourself for symptoms of estrogen dominance. While being estrogen dominant is bad news, the good news is that it usually leaves a clear trail of symptoms. To find out if you may be estrogen dominant, read Dr. Lee’s list of estrogen dominance symptoms. If you find that you have a number of the symptoms on this list, chances are good that you are suffering from this syndrome.
  • Get your hormone levels tested. While symptoms are good indicators of hormonal imbalances, the most decisive tool for identifying imbalances is a hormone test. As a general rule, Dr. Lee and Dr. Zava recommended that women who are concerned about breast cancer test at least five hormones. These are estradiol (the most potent estrogen in the human body and the one most frequently linked to breast cancer), progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA-S.
  • Work with doctors who are trained in the use of natural hormones. Beating breast cancer is a team effort, so build a team that will support rather than thwart your quest for hormone balance. While growing numbers of doctors are becoming aware of the value of natural hormones, many have not kept up with the latest research and may resist your suggestions.
  • When needed, take physiological doses of bioidentical progesterone and other bioidentical hormones to restore proper balance. When it comes to taking natural hormone supplements, it is critical to remember that more is not better. The goal is to return hormone levels to what would be considered normal for a healthy person. In most cases, this means taking relatively small amounts of bioidentical hormones and regularly reevaluating hormone levels through saliva testing. Many women find after testing their hormones that all they need is some bioidentical progesterone to establish proper balances between the major hormones. Others, however, find that they may need to add other natural hormone supplements to achieve balance and get adequate symptom relief. A good doctor who understands and is trained in the use and prescribing of natural hormones can advise you on your supplement strategy and help you consider your options.
  • Eliminate hormone-altering chemicals and xenohormones from your life. Every day, our bodies are exposed to toxic chemicals that did not exist just a decade or two ago. There are synthetic hormones in the foods we eat, pesticides in our air and water, and estrogen-like compounds in many of the products we use every day. Many of these chemicals and xenohormones are known cancer-causing agents. Fortunately, we can sharply reduce our exposure to these substances and dramatically reduce their presence in our bodies. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer identifies the sources of these chemicals and offers concrete advice for avoiding them.
  • Use diet and exercise to support hormone balance. Our modern diets are heavily tilted towards foods that promote obesity and estrogen dominance. Our sedentary lifestyles only reinforce this problem. Both women and men can benefit from reducing their intake of sugars, refined carbohydrates, and foods that are high in trans-fatty acids while increasing their intake of organic, cruciferous (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) vegetables, fruits, and fiber. They can also benefit from regular, moderate exercise, which helps metabolize and eliminate excess estrogens.
  • Keep educating yourself, for you are your best health advocate. When it comes to preventing or fighting breast cancer in your body, you have every right to be the leading decision maker. Dr. Lee and Dr. Zava firmly believed this and wrote What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer for patients as well as their doctors. The book contains a wealth of information that can help you make important decisions with your doctor. For instance, if your doctor is recommending you take an estrogen inhibitor such as Tamoxifen, the book can help you weigh the pros and cons of using such drugs as well as chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatment options. So we encourage you to read it carefully and discuss it with your doctor. In addition, we encourage you to read the free articles about breast cancer on The Official Website of John R. Lee, M.D. as well as the references listed at the end of this article.

Thanks to the latest research, we have further proof that Dr. Lee and Dr. Zava were ahead of their time when they said that natural hormone balance could help prevent and treat breast cancer. We support you in learning from them, putting what you learn into practice, and sharing what you learn with your family, friends, and doctors.

 References

Mohammed, Hisham, et al “Progesterone receptor modulates ER-a action in breast cancer,” Nature 2015; 523; 313-317. Click here for abstract.

Perks, Bea “Progesterone receptor could slow breast cancer growth,” Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ 17 Jul 2015. Click here to read.

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What Is a Healthy Posture and How to Maintain It

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Modern lifestyle factors, such as texting, reaching for your keyboard or wearing high heels, can create postural stressors that often cause muscle imbalances and injury. Having good posture is essential for good health; however, understanding what good posture is and maintaining it are hard.

“When some people try to work on their posture, they tend to overdo it,” says Alynn Kakuk, physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “They get into a super-extended position with their shoulders way back — enough that it creates too much of an arch on their back. So, they just start shifting their weight too far back.”

Bad posture habits can cause imbalanced body alignment, strain on ligaments and muscles, chronic pain, injuries, impingement, low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, joint stiffness and muscle tightness, according to Kakuk.

Simple exercises, stretches and being conscious of your posture can eliminate these ramifications.

Practice a healthy posture

Stand up against a wall, and make sure your upper back, shoulders and bottom touch the wall. Your feet don’t have to be against the wall — just a couple of inches away from it. You should have a slight space in your lower back and be able to fit your hands in that space. But, make sure it’s not a big gap. Then, step away from the wall, and try to see if you can maintain that position. Keep in mind, strengthening your muscles will make it easier for you to maintain that posture overtime. Be careful of overdoing it or hyper-extending your back.

Using technology with a healthy posture

In a world filled with modern technology, reaching for your cellphone and keyboard are common movements. These movements can place stress on your upper back and neck, resulting in rounded shoulders and forward head. This can cause chronic upper back, shoulder, neck pain and headaches. Also, people can text so much that they develop pain and injury in their thumbs from that overuse. Here are some tips on how to maintain the correct posture while using technology.

Try to have your cellphone at eye level, so you’re not bending forward.

Do exercises that strengthen your upper back and shoulder, such as chest exercises to strengthen your pectoral muscles and diaphragmatic breathing techniques to release tension.

Stay aware of your posture throughout the day.

Ergonomics at the office

Those who sit at a desk all day should be conscious of posture and the importance of getting up at least once an hour to move. “Standing up and focusing on good posture for a few minutes can relieve muscle strain and improve breathing and circulation, which also helps improve attention and engagement,” says Deborah J. Rhodes, M.D., physician and cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic. Nonetheless, having good office ergonomic habits can keep your muscles and ligaments healthy. Here are some tips on ergonomics at the office.

Ensure your keyboard is at elbow height, so your hands can rest on the desk.

Place your computer at eye level. Place laptops on platforms for them to be at eye level.

Set your chair at a height that your feet touch the ground.

Take a walk or stretch break every hour.

Walking in high heels with the correct posture

Walking in heels is essentially walking on your toes, which results in a chain reaction on the rest of your body. It causes the knees to hyperextend, the pelvis to tip forward, the lower back to tighten, and the abdominals to become weak. Here are some tips on how to maintain the correct posture while using high heels.

When wearing heels, ensure you draw in your abdominal muscles to prevent that extra curve in your low back.

Try to limit the use of your heels.

Pick a heel that is smaller with a wider surface area that will help distribute your foot and weight better.

Maintaining good posture can help you walk, sit, stand and lie in positions that cause the least pressure on your muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing actions.

It also gives confidence.

“People who have better posture tend to appear more confident and knowledgeable to others. It makes them feel confident internally as well,” says Kakuk.

– Article Source: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/what-is-a-healthy-posture-and-how-to-maintain-it/sports-medicine/#sthash.BDnde9hp.dpuf

Boston Testosterone is a Testosterone Replacement, Wellness and Preventative Medicine Medical Center that treats and prevents the signs and symptoms associated with Andropause and hormone imbalances.  With affiliates nationally, Boston Testosterone offers hormone replacement therapy, weight loss protocols, erectile dysfunction (ED), Sermorelin-GHRP2 therapy and neutraceutical injectable therapies for men and women.  Their medical facilities offer physician examinations and treatment programs that incorporate the latest in medical science.

Contact us for more information on our doctor prescribed erectile dysfunction therapies.

“The Greatest Health of Your Life” ℠

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www.BostonTestosterone.com

www.facebook.com/BostonTestosterone

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cblaisdell@CoreNewEngland.com

Could Your Relationship Use More Oxytocin?

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Many over time have argued that monogamy is “unnatural,” but modern science is actually painting a very different story.

In fact, it seems that we may be hardwired for monogamous relationships after all, and oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone,” may have something to do with it.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we decided to write about monogamy and oxytocin’s potential role in it.

But rather than focus on the “mush”, in typical Life Extension fashion, we’re going to look at the science behind it. Surprised?

Sorry, hopeless romantics!

What is Oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the brain. It has various functions in the human body, playing a role in labor, breastfeeding, pair bonding, and sexual arousal. It even plays a role in relationships, potentially helping to form monogamous ones.

Prairie voles, for example, secrete oxytocin when they meet and mate, and this hormone is necessary for pair bonding.1 That’s why scientists believe they mate for life — although, we must point out, they sometimes do cheat!2

It’s not much different for humans either. Oxytocin may just be the key element that keeps couples together.

Oxytocin Keeps Men from Straying and Cools Arguments

In a neat experiment, scientists gave a group of men a placebo or a nasal oxytocin spray. Then, each of them was encountered by an attractive woman. The scientists then measured the space between the man and the woman.

They found that the men who were given oxytocin and were in “stable,” monogamous relationships stood farther away from the attractive woman.3 In contrast, men in the placebo group stood closer, indicating interest.

In a different study, scientists found that oxytocin took the “heat out of an argument.” One group of couples was given intranasal oxytocin, while the other group received a placebo. They were told to choose a heated topic and discuss it, and levels of a stress hormone called cortisol were measured.

They found that, after the argument, both the men and the women in the couples given oxytocin had lower levels of salivary cortisol.

During the discussions, oxytocin was shown to increase the positive communication in the couples, as compared to the negative behavior during the arguments.4

Fidelity + friendlier arguments = staying together. Perhaps this might be the equation for monogamy?

How to Get More Oxytocin

You can induce the release of oxytocin naturally by giving hugs, kisses, gifts, and holding hands. Basically, physical touch is the key element at play.

You can also get oxytocin via prescription as a nasal spray, believe it or not.

The Bottom Line

We’re not quite sure if an oxytocin spray will keep your partner from straying or arguing with you, but perhaps it might be used for couple’s therapy one day. Of course, more research is needed.

Regardless, in this day and age, romance seems to have taken a back seat to our fast paced life, so many of us could probably use a little more oxytocin. Don’t you think?

References:

  1. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1995;395:227-34.
  2. Nature. 2008 Feb 7;451(7179):617.
  3. J Neurosci. 2012 Nov 14;32(46):16074-9.
  4. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 1;65(9):728-31.

Article Source: http://blog.lifeextension.com/2013/02/relationship-love-oxytocin.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=normal

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