Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Break from Exercise

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You’re bound to miss a workout or two every once in awhile. But c’mon, how much of a difference can a few missed workouts really make? More than you think.

When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Few Days…
It’s no biggie. If you’ve been working out on the regular, your body probably welcomes the chance for recovery. It’ll use the time to repair your muscles and help you spring back stronger. That said, if your days off are paired with unhealthy food and booze, you might feel a bit bloated.

When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Week…
You’re likely feeling a little “softer” than usual. That’s due to your muscle fibers starting to dwindle and your body retaining some extra fluids. But for the most part, you’re not feeling too bad. If you head back to the gym now, you probably won’t even notice any significant changes in how fast you can run or how much you can lift.

When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Couple of Weeks…
Your fitness is definitely on the downhill slide now. As the number of mitochondria, the microscopic power plants that fuel your muscles cells, decreases, your cardio endurance will be the first thing to go. Taking the stairs might make your legs burn or even leave you sucking wind.

When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Month…
Most of your cardio and strength gains from the past few months have gone kaput. You’re sporting less lean muscle mass and more body fat. Plus, stress has a greater hold on you, and without exercise supporting your circadian rhythms, getting a good night’s sleep may be a challenge.

When You Haven’t Worked Out in a Few Months…
Your metabolism joins the ranks of things to go. So besides burning fewer calories, you probably feel fatigued pretty often—and quickly. Your heart has to work harder with every beat and your lungs don’t absorb as much oxygen as they used to.

You Haven’t Worked Out in a Year…
Aside from a soaring body-fat percentage, complete loss of muscle, and sluggish metabolism, you’re also at a greater risk of serious health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression.

Article Source: https://www.yahoo.com/beauty/heres-what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-take-a-143807676.html

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Brain Benefits of L-Theanine

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There’s been a resurgence of interest in the anxiety-relieving powers of L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea.1

Discoveries over the past two years have uncovered exciting additional properties of this nutrient best known for inducing calming, tranquilizing effects while simultaneously improving alertness.

In this Research Update, we examine how L-theanine acts in the brain, and review compelling new studies on its actions that include potentially reduced risk of stroke and less brain damage if an ischemic stroke were to occur.

How L-Theanine Works in the Brain to Block Anxiety and Stress

 L-theanine relieves anxiety in large part because it bears a close resemblance to the brain-signaling chemical glutamate. L-theanine produces the opposite effect in the brain.

While glutamate is the brain’s most important excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine binds to the same brain cell receptors and blocks them to glutamate’s effects. This action produces inhibitory effects.1,2 That inhibition to brain overactivity has a calming, relaxing effect in which anxiety fades.3

In addition to blocking excitatory stimuli at glutamate receptors in the brain, L-theanine also stimulates production of the inhibitory, relaxing neurotransmitter GABA, adding to its calming, anti-anxiety effects.2

Unlike prescription anti-anxiety drugs, however, some of which mimic GABA’s effects, L-theanine produces its anti-anxiety effects without producing sleepiness or impairing motor behavior.4 In fact, L-theanine has been shown in human studies to moderately improve alertness and attention while exerting its anxiety-reducing effects.5

Of particular interest are studies showing that L-theanine supplementation prevents the abrupt rise in blood pressure that some people experience under stress.1 The reason this is so critical is that many people have normal blood pressure readings at rest that spike up to dangerously high levels when subjected to stressful situations.

These periods of surging blood pressure inflict massive arterial damage and are the main reason why at-home and at-office blood pressure testing are so important.

New Directions for L-Theanine

Scientists are now increasingly interested in applications for L-theanine far beyond its anti-anxiety properties. Excessive glutamate stimulation of brain cells (excitotoxicity) is a factor in development of long-term neurodegenerative disorders, stroke, and schizophrenia.6,7 Therefore, L-theanine’s glutamate-blocking capabilities make it promising for neuroprotection and prevention in these areas.

And while its deeper mechanisms are still under investigation, there is tantalizing evidence that L-theanine influences expression of genes in brain areas responsible for fear and aggression (amygdala) and memory (hippocampus), helping to balance the behavioral responses to stress, and potentially improve conditions such as mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance dependence.8

L-Theanine Protects Brain Cells and Promotes Cognitive Function

There’s a link between anxiety, reaction to stress, and the brain’s most fundamental function, maintaining cognition. Studies over the past two years suggest a potential role for L-theanine in supporting cognitive function and preventing its loss.

Stress has powerful negative effects on one’s ability to think clearly and make smart decisions. This is demonstrated physiologically by animal experiments showing that stress significantly reduces animals’ performance on standard tests of learning and memory, as well as by increased oxidative stress in the brain and elevated blood levels of stress-response hormones such as catecholamine and adrenaline. Treating animals with L-theanine before the stress is applied, however, results in reversal not only of cognitive impairment, but also of the elevation of stress hormones and oxidative damage.9

Studies such as these demonstrate that L-theanine can specifically reduce the molecular impacts of acute stress, and the resulting excitotoxicity, on brain cells.10,11 The issue with chronic glutamate-driven excitotoxicity is profound and long-lasting cognitive dysfunction, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).12

The protective effects of L-theanine have been shown in animal models for at least the first three of these disorders, suggesting that regular L-theanine supplementation might be important in fending off these tragic conditions by opposing the destructive effects of long-term glutamate excitotoxicity.13-16

In a rat model study for Huntington’s disease, researchers investigated the protective effects of L-theanine against 3-nitropropionic acid (3-NP). Rats exposed to 3-nitropropionic acid experienced significant reductions in body weight, oxidative defenses, and locomotor activity, as well as impaired mitochondrial enzyme activity. But when exposed to L-theanine, the behavioral, biochemical, and mitochondrial enzyme activities were significantly attenuated, leading authors to conclude that “L-theanine has neuroprotective activity against 3-nitropropionic acid induced neurotoxicity.”17

Exposure to toxic chemicals is another known risk factor for many of the neurodegenerative disorders, with the metal aluminum being a major culprit.18,19 Recent studies show that L-theanine is capable of preventing both the biochemical and structural damage to brain cells induced by aluminum, offering yet another means by which this nutrient can prevent or slow cognitive decline.20

Taste the Relaxation

The molecular similarity of L-theanine with glutamic acid can be experienced simply by tasting it. L-theanine provides the umami flavor that gives green tea its richness.31 One of the more common molecules that delivers umami taste is glutamic acid, and studies show that glutamate and L-theanine both stimulate the same receptors on our tongues, in a vivid demonstration of molecular mimicry.32,33

In the brain, of course, the similarity is only close enough for L-theanine to bind to brain glutamate receptors but without stimulating them, which is why L-theanine produces relaxing, as opposed to stimulating, effects.

L-Theanine Reduces Stroke Impact

A stroke is the result of a sudden blockage of blood (ischemia) to a part of the brain, resulting in massive chemical stresses, extreme excitotoxicity, and eventual death of brain cells.21 The latest studies show that L-theanine has properties that may both help to prevent strokes and to mitigate the damage caused when they do occur.

Lab studies show that L-theanine is capable of significantly improving nitric oxide production in endothelial (artery-lining) cells.22 This has the potential to lower stroke risk because nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that endothelial cells use to communicate information about blood flow and pressure to muscles in the artery walls, telling them to constrict or relax appropriately in response and distributing blood flow appropriately.

In another stroke-preventing mechanism, L-theanine has recently been shown to significantly reduce the expression of adhesion molecules to the endothelial wall by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), thereby reducing the risk of an artery-blocking clot or obstruction that produces a stroke.23

L-theanine protects the body from the damage of blood reperfusing, or refilling that occurs after the abrupt loss of circulation during the stroke.24

This ischemia-reperfusion injury results in massive release of glutamate and produces deadly excitotoxicity.25

Animal studies show that administration of L-theanine up to 12 hours after a stroke is induced protects brain cells and reduces the size of the damaged brain areas. Even treatment as late as 24 hours after the stroke improves neurological status.24

L-Theanine May Play a Role in Ameliorating Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, literally a “split mind” in which sufferers experience a cut-off from reality, is one of the most tragic and misunderstood disorders known. People with schizophrenia may experience positive symptomssuch as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thinking, as well as negative symptoms including loss of ability to experience pleasure, blunted emotions, and diminished speech capacity.26

Perhaps because schizophrenia may involve excitotoxic damage to brain cells, L-theanine has recently been the focus of human studies in patients with this disease.27

In one study of 40 patients with schizophrenia, subjects were given placebo or 400 mg L-theanine along with their regular medications for an eight-week trial. The supplemented patients demonstrated significant reductions in their anxiety and general symptoms of psychopathology.28

A 250 mg per day dose of L-theanine significantly improved, in a different study scores on positive symptoms, as well as in sleep quality.29 And the combination of L-theanine (400 mg per day) with the hormone pregnenolone (50 mg per day) was capable of reversing not only anxiety, but also negative symptoms.30

Summary

L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, reduces anxiety by blocking excitatory stimuli at glutamate receptors in the brain while stimulating production of the inhibitory, relaxing neurotransmitter GABA. But unlike prescription anti-anxiety drugs, L-theanine relieves stress without causing drowsiness or impairing motor behavior. In fact, studies show it improves alertness and attention. Researchers are now examining L-theanine’s applications beyond its anti-anxiety effects. Studies suggest a role for L-theanine in supporting cognitive function and preventing cognitive loss by protecting brain cells and preventing strokes and reducing the damaging effects if a stroke has occurred. Lastly, L-theanine is the subject of human studies in patients with schizophrenia.

Article Source:http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2016/3/Brain-Benefits-of-L-Theanine/Page-01

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Get Moving At Work

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Stroll around the office to reverse vascular dysfunction associated with too much sitting.

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Permanently Reverse Diabetes

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In 2011, a study led by Professor Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, proved that diabetes can be reversed using a very low calorie diet. Although this looked promising, the study was of a limited length of time, only 8 weeks, and whether or not the diabetes would stay away long-term was questionable. A recent study, again led by Professor Roy Taylor, involved 30 volunteers with Type 2 diabetes, who undertook the same diet of 600-700 calories per day. Participants lost an average of 14 kilograms. Over the next six months, they did not regain any weight that they had lost. This group contained many participants who had longer duration diabetes, which they defined as over 8 years and up to 23 years. 12 patients who had diabetes for less than 10 years reversed their condition and were still free of diabetes 6 months later. Additionally, after 6 months, a 13th patient had also reversed their diabetes. Although the participants lost weight, they still remained overweight or obese, however they had lost enough weight to remove the fat out of the pancreas, allowing for insulin production to be normal. Professor Roy Taylor stated: “What we have shown is that it is possible to reverse your diabetes, even if you have had the condition for a long time, up to around 10 years. If you have had the diagnosis for longer than that, then don’t give up hope – major improvement in blood sugar control is possible. “The study also answered the question that people often ask me – if I lose the weight and keep the weight off, will I stay free of diabetes? The simple answer is yes! “Interestingly, even though all our volunteers remained obese or overweight, the fat did not drift back to clog up the pancreas.” “The bottom line is that if a person really wants to get rid of their Type 2 diabetes, they can lose weight, keep it off and return to normal.”

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/permanently-reverse-diabetes/

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10 Interesting Predictors of Longevity

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This isn’t a Homeric epic. There are no oracles laying out our destiny and predicting our inevitable demise. But even if we can’t know the precise date of our death, we can use certain biomarkers, measurements, and characteristics to make predictions—with a reasonable amount of accuracy—about a person’s propensity to kick the bucket.

As is the case with any observational data, these predictors may not be malleable. And if they are malleable, actively changing them won’t necessarily confer the longevity they’re associated with. Getting plastic surgery to appear younger probably won’t make you live any longer. But they do tell a story. They suggest the qualities, activities, behaviors, and exercise patterns that may, if maintained, lead to a better, longer life. At the very worst, walking a bit more briskly and gaining some lean muscle won’t hurt you, and it will very likely help you.

So let’s take a look at ten of the most interesting predictors of longevity:

1. Handgrip strength.

You know your grandpa with the vice grip for a handshake? Or that old lady who simply would not give up her hold on those plush towels last Black Friday at the Walmart despite you yanking her around like a rag doll? They’ll probably live a long time.

In middle-aged and elderly people, grip strength consistently predicts mortality risk from all causes. It’s even better than blood pressure. In older disabled women, grip strength predicts all-cause mortality, even when controlling for disease status, inflammatory load, depression, nutritional status, and inactivity. Poor grip strength is even an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes across all ethnicities.

2. Walking speed.

A few years ago, a study of over 7000 male and 31,000 female recreational walkers found that walking intensity predicted mortality risk. Those who walked the fastest tended to die the least. Now, don’t think you can consciously speed walk your way past a hundred. Researchers in the study were looking at the natural walking speed of frequent walkers. What the study tracked and linked to lifespan was the natural walking speed of the participants. They had no idea they’d be graded.

A more recent study found that rapid declines in walking speed also predicted death. Some clinicians find so much value in walking speed that they even use it as a “sixth vital sign.”

3. Facial appearance.

Several studies indicate that the perceived “age of the face” is a better predictor of mortality risk than objective health markers, actual age, or cognitive function. More objective measurements of aesthetic age, like wrinkling in areas unexposed to the sun, also predict longevity.

4. Subjective opinion of one’s quality of life.

If you’re happy with your physical and psychological health, social relationships, and your immediate environment, you may live longer. Having a poor opinion of your current lot in life may have the opposite effect. Even when those subjective opinions are compared to objective measurements of your health, your relationships, and your environment, subjective outlook is a better predictor of lifespan.

5. Muscle.

I’ve always said that lean muscle mass is a metabolic reservoir for healthy aging. Skeletal muscle produces important proteins and metabolites that regulate recovery from trauma and injury. The more you have, the better you’ll recover from surgeries, burns, falls, breaks, punctures, and damage. The more muscle you start with, the more you can spare to wasting and the better you’ll bounce back from bed rest and other forms of forced inactivity. Expression of klotho, the “longevity protein,” is even strongly dependent on the strength of one’s skeletal muscle.

6. Life purpose.

The popular notion that being driven to achieve your goals increases wear and tear on the body and destroys your health seems right. You’re sacrificing sleep for work, neglecting loved ones, choosing work over exercise, eating junk food instead of cooking. What does the evidence actually say? It turns out that having something to live for helps you live longer with a lower disease burden. Life purpose predicts allostatic load, another way of saying “age-related wear and tear.”

This was a little surprising. We often think of the hard-working entrepreneur burning the candle at both ends, falling apart at the seams, health suffering just to pursue and achieve the goals. But the actual evidence refutes this.

7. Intelligence.

Intelligent people live longer. Across any and all causes of mortality, having a higher IQ confers protection.

Some point to the quicker reaction times that also accompany higher IQs. If you’re smarter, you’ll probably have an extra fraction of a second to swerve out of the big rig’s path and avoid a fatal collision. This is certainly part of it, but a faster reaction time can’t explain the protection intelligence confers against all-cause mortality.

Others attribute the all-encompassing protection to the intelligent decisions, healthy behaviors, and prudent practices smart people make and follow (PDF). The smarter you are, the less likely you are to smoke, not exercise, or think fast food is okay to eat for dinner every day of the week.

8. White blood cell count.

White blood cells, or leukocytes, are the primary agents of our immune system. They battle pathogens, infections, and foreign invaders. Many diseases are associated with white blood cell deficiencies, so it seems like healthier, longer-lived people would have high leukocyte counts. Right?

No. Actually, leukocyte counts on the lower end of normal predict longevity. That only seems to be true in healthy men and women. It’s unlikely to persist in unhealthy or immunocompromised populations who actually need the white blood cells to stave off causes of. In the healthy folks, a low-normal WBC count indicates a low disease burden.

9. Autophagy.

Autophagy is cellular maintenance. It’s how our cells recycle waste material, eliminate inefficiencies, and repair themselves. It’s required to maintain muscle mass as we age, and inhibiting it induces age-related atrophy of adult skeletal muscle. It reduces the negative effects of aging and reduces the incidence and progression of aging-related diseases. In fact, researchers have determined that autophagy is the essential aspect of the anti-aging mechanism of fasting. “Aging” only occurs when cellular autophagy fails, or reduces. People who live past 100 have higher levels of the primary autophagy biomarker, meaning their cells are maintaining themselves longer and retarding the aging process.

This is something you can directly control. Fasting, ketosis, caloric restriction, exercise, and dietary polyphenols all trigger autophagy, and they’re all likely to improve longevity.

10. How much broccoli and Indian food you eat.

I’m kind of kidding, but not really. Maybe the most important anti-aging pathway in the body is Nrf2. Activating Nrf2 unleashes many antioxidant pathways, increases glutathione, and has been shown to trigger the “anti-aging phenotype” in animal studies. Foods in the brassica family, which includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, all contain sulforaphane, a potent Nrf2 activator. Another Nrf2 activator is curcumin, found in turmeric, the primary spice in Indian curries.

If I’m being safe, these are merely descriptive. People who already have these attributes, biomarkers, and tendencies are more likely to live longer than those who do not. But if I’m engaging in educated speculation, many are also prescriptive. Lifting weights, going for walks, finding a life purpose, improving your day-to-day quality of life, eating more antioxidant-rich food (including broccoli and turmeric), triggering autophagy through fasting or occasional bouts of caloric restriction and ketosis—these are all good, healthy practices that should pay off.

Article Source: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-interesting-predictors-of-longevity/#ixzz43uzcSocv

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30 Facts About Orgasms That Are Pretty Damn Interesting

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Fact #1 -An orgasm affects the same part of your brain as heroin does in a drug addict’s brain.  Sex really is addictive.

Fact #2 – The use of condoms does not affect orgasm quality.  There is equal probability of a woman orgasming with or without a condom.

Fact #3 – The spark you feel up your spine while orgasming is because of a pair of pudendal nerves that connect the penis/clitoris to the brain.

Fact #4 – A woman can orgasm by the stimulation of breasts and nipples alone.  Yes, nipplegasms are for real!

Fact #5 – Kegal exercises really increase the chances of an orgasm.

Fact #6 – The condition where a person cannot orgasm is called ‘Anorgasmia’, literally meaning ‘lack of orgasm’.

Fact #7 – Orgasm helps you burn only 2-3 calories, through foreplay and intercourse could help you burn up to 50!

Fact #8 – The areas of the brain that register fear and danger are deactivated while climaxing.

Fact #9 – It takes 2 to 10 minutes for average man to orgasm.

Fact #10 – It could take up to around 20 minutes of stimulation for a woman to orgasm.

Fact #11 – Just thinking about orgasming can also result in an orgasm.

Fact #12 – The same parts of brain are activated while orgasming as those activated when you feel pain.

Fact #13 – Orgasms can ease your pain for around 10 minutes.

Fact #14 – It is not necessary for a man to be erect to ejaculate.

Fact #15 – Circumcision doesn’t reduce the chances of orgasm in a man.  But, a foreskin does help increasing the duration of an orgasm.

Fact #16 – Not just men, even woman can orgasm in their sleep.

Fact #17 – Although just a tiny percentage, women have been reported to have orgasmed while doing yoga.

Fact #18 – The farthest distance any man has ejaculated is about 8 feet.

Fact #19 – Most women are unable to orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone.  They need oral sex or physical stimulation to get them going!

Fact #20 – An average orgasm in both men and women lasts for about 17-20 seconds.

Fact #21 – It is possible for a woman to orgasm during child birth.

Fact #22 – the higher your stress level, lower are your chances to orgasm.

Fact #23 – Doggie-style is one of the best sex positions to ensure your woman’s orgasm.

Fact #24 –  Orgasms can cure headaches.

Fact #25 – More orgasms can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Fact #26 – Squirting doesn’t necessarily equal an orgasm.

Fact #27 –  It’s definitely normal not to have an orgasm every time you have sex.

Fact #28 – Lesbians have more orgasms than heterosexual or bisexual women.

Fact #29 – There are so many things that can scar away an orgasm.

Fact #30 – Some people never (or rarely) have orgasms.

Article Source: http://www.curejoy.com/content/facts-about-orgasms/#facts-about-orgasms

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Broccoli May Slow or Reverse Some Atherosclerosis

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Broccoli has been linked to a growing list of health benefits, such as a reduced risk of cancer and osteoporosis. New research suggests consuming broccoli could also slow or reverse blood-vessel damage and atherosclerosis due to high cholesterol.

The study, in Experimental Biology and Medicine, found that a high-cholesterol diet combined with supplements containing sulforaphane, a natural compound in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, significantly reduced levels of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, in rabbits, compared with a high-fat diet without the supplements. Sulforaphane-fed rabbits also had higher levels of good cholesterol and improved blood-vessel function.

Previous studies showed that sulforaphane can reduce inflammation in cultured vascular cells, but its effects on atherosclerosis hadn’t been studied directly, the researchers said. Sulforaphane has an “extraordinary” ability to trigger multiple enzymes that protect against oxidative or environmental stress and reduce inflammation, they suggest.

The study, at Mansoura University in Egypt, involved three groups of five rabbits. Two of the groups were fed a high-cholesterol diet for four weeks, including one group that also received daily supplements of sulforaphane orally in a sodium solution. A control group got a normal diet without sulforaphane.

Treatment with sulforaphane decreased total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL by 43%, 70% and 40%, respectively, compared with untreated rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet. Sulforaphane treatment also enhanced levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, above normal, according to the study. The cholesterol ratio, an indication of heart-disease risk, was close to control levels in sulforaphane-treated animals, the study said.

After four weeks, CRP, or C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation, significantly decreased in suforaphane-treated rabbits on the high-cholesterol diet compared with rabbits on the same diet that didn’t get the supplement. CRP levels in sulforaphane-treated rabbits were almost at control levels.

Blood vessels from rabbits on the high-cholesterol diet were atrophied and inflamed. There was mild vessel swelling in sulforaphane-treated rabbits, while control rabbits had normal vessels.

Caveat: Sulforaphane hasn’t been tested on people with high cholesterol. The equivalent quantity of broccoli in humans wasn’t mentioned.

Sulforaphane attenuates the development of atherosclerosis and improves endothelial dysfunction in hypercholesterolemic rabbits

Article Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/broccoli-may-slow-or-reverse-some-atherosclerosis-1458571222

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