Low Vitamin D Linked to Bladder Cancer

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Systemic review of 7 studies finds increased risk of developing bladder cancer is associated with Vitamin D deficiency.

A systematic review of seven studies was presented on November 8, 2016, at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology in Brighton that showed that a Vitamin D deficiency creates an increasing risk of bladder cancer development.

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin produced by the body mainly through exposure to sunlight at a minimum of 5 to 30 minutes a day twice a week. Nine out of 10 Americans fail to meet their daily needs and don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain Vitamin D such as egg yolks, fortified milk, and oily fish. Deficiency is even more pronounced for people living in  the northern parts of the country, especially in the winter.

Supplements of the vitamin are available in vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. One tablet of 1,000 IU Vitamin D3  is equivalent to seven three-ounce cans of tuna, or 25 egg yolks, or eight cups of fortified milk, or 25 cups of fortified cereal. The most common supplement is adding vitamin D to calcium, but it is also added to multivitamins, magnesium, fish oil, and joint support products.

In countries having low sunlight levels, it wouldn’t be feasible to obtain enough Vitamin D from just food. In the United Kingdom, one in five adults are deficient in vitamin D and three in five have low levels. In the winter, 75 percent of the dark-skinned people there have a deficiency.

In the current study, researchers from University Hospital and the University of Warwick reviewed seven studies with 112 to 1125 participants. Five out of seven showed that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increase in bladder cancer risk. In a separate experiment, researchers looked at cells in the bladder and discovered that they respond to Vitamin D and activate and stimulate an immune response. Dr. Rosemary Bland, the study’s lead author, believes that the immune system has a role in identifying abnormal cells prior to their developing into cancer.

Although further clinical studies are necessary to confirm the above findings, the study adds more information to the evidence regarding how important it is to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

 

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/vitamin-d-linked-bladder-cancer/

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The real truth: antidepressants actually deplete these 3 crucial nutrients for the brain

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I experienced this firsthand.

When I took antidepressants, I felt better initially.

But then something just didn’t feel right.

I started suffering from cognitive decline, something I hadn’t experienced before.

I eventually got fed up with the medication and tried getting off them.

 But then I felt remarkably worse – much worse than I did before starting the medication.

 

Doctors simply told me I was experiencing a relapse of my depression and anxiety.

But that couldn’t be it, because not only were my symptoms much worse, but I also had new symptoms – symptoms I didn’t experience before I went on medication.

So, I did some research and discovered something called “drug-induced nutrient depletion”.

Studies show that pharmaceutical drugs can deplete your body of critical nutrients through multiple mechanisms, including increased excretion of nutrients, and impaired digestion, absorption and storage of nutrients. Over time, nutritional deficiencies can develop. And these deficiencies can cause additional symptoms and increase side effects. In fact, many drug “side effects” are simply nutritional deficiencies.

This is clearly a problem because nutrient deficiencies can be one of the main causes of mental illness. Being prescribed medication that further deplete nutrients from your body will make you worse. It’s an epidemic that seems to be ignored by the conventional medical system.

You may even develop new symptoms or side effects months or years after starting a medication because it takes time for nutrients to be depleted from your body. So both you and your doctor may not make the connection between the original medication and new symptoms.

These additional symptoms and “side effects” are often diagnosed as a new disease, leading to a new prescription, which further depletes nutrients.

So it’s clearly a downward spiral where you could end up being on multiple medications.

At my worst, I was on four psychiatric medications. Thankfully I’m off them all now and very healthy.

This article discusses the three key nutrients that are commonly depleted by psychiatric medication.

Your drug package insert won’t list these deficiencies, and your doctor is likely not aware of them.



Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule found in every cell of your body and plays a key role in the production of energy.

It’s also an antioxidant and protects your body and brain from free radical damage.

Higher levels of CoQ10 have a “significant antidepressant effect” in rats because of its “well-documented antioxidant effect”. This makes sense considering the increasing amount of scientific literature suggesting that oxidative stress contributes to depression.

Unfortunately, studies show that a number of psychiatric medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics, deplete CoQ10.



Low levels of CoQ10 can cause brain fog, mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, depression and irritability.

Other deficiency symptoms can include increased blood pressure, muscle cramps, high blood sugar, and shortness of breath.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. This includes neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity, all of which can have a huge effect on your mood and brain function.

It’s one of the most important nutrients for optimal brain health, and reduces anxiety, depression and irritability. Yet, many people are deficient in magnesium today and may experience the following symptoms because of it:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, tremors, and spasms
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nausea

Interestingly, these symptoms sound very similar to the list of side effects of some psychiatric medications.

In fact, research has shown that many antidepressants and stimulants do deplete magnesium from your body, increasing the likeliness of developing a deficiency.

Inadequate magnesium levels can then contribute and worsen many neuropsychiatric problems. This includes depression, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, ADHD, pain, schizophrenia, irritability, premenstrual syndrome, drug abuse, and short-term memory and IQ loss. Case studies have shown that patients with schizophrenia or major depression who have attempted suicide had significantly lower levels of magnesium in their cerebrospinal fluid.

So if you have mental health condition, or take medication to deal with it, you should consider supplementing with magnesium.

Also, you should make sure to eat lots of food with magnesium, including avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, spinach, dark chocolate, halibut and beets.

B Vitamins

A number of B vitamins are also depleted by psychiatric medication, including B2, B6, B12 and folate.

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, plays a key role in energy metabolism throughout your entire body.

As a result, a deficiency can affect the entire body, leading to low energy, weight gain, and skin and thyroid problems.

Antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers can inhibit the absorption of vitamin B2, increasing your need for supplementation.

Lower levels of vitamin B2 have been found in people with depression, so giving them psychiatric medications can actually make them feel worse in the long run.

Healthy food sources of riboflavin include pastured eggs, leafy vegetables, beef liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and almonds.

Vitamin B6 is another key nutrient that boosts mood, deepens sleep, and supports your entire nervous system.

It accomplishes this by playing a key role in the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, GABA and dopamine.

But since psychiatric medications alter these neurotransmitters, vitamin B6 levels can be affected as well.

When I took antidepressants, multiple functional and integrative doctors suggested I supplement with vitamin B6.

This is because antidepressants and benzodiazepines have been shown to deplete B6.

Symptoms of deficiency include weakness, mental confusion, depression, insomnia and severe PMS symptoms.

Some of the best food sources of B6 include potatoes, bananas and chicken.

Lastly, vitamin B12 and folate are essential B vitamins that play a key role in methylation, one of the most important processes in your body and brain for optimal energy and nervous system function.

If you are depressed, you likely have lower levels of B12 and folate circulating in your blood, and people with low blood folate and B12 are at greater risk for developing depression.

Yet, instead of looking at folate and B12 levels in the blood, doctors often prescribe antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers that have been shown to deplete folate and B12.

B12 and folate deficiency can lead to an inability to methylate properly and increased homocysteine levels. This can worsen your depression, irritability, fatigue, confusion and forgetfulness.

Good dietary sources of natural folate include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries. B12 is found primarily in animal foods, and beef liver is a good source.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that the medication that you take to manage your mental health can actually reduce nutrient absorption and rob your body and brain of essential vitamins and minerals. This can lead to unwanted side effects and declining health.

On top of this, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are actually a huge underlying cause of mental health issues to begin with.

Luckily, you can avoid side effects, and even control and overcome chronic mental disease without medication, by restoring these missing nutrients.

Unfortunately, in my case, I was given a prescription that made my underlying deficiencies worse, and dug me into a deeper mental health hole.

If you’re required to take a prescribed drug, you can offset many of the side effects and experience much better health by supplementing with the above nutrients.

So why isn’t this information passed on to patients who are taking psychiatric drugs? Because unfortunately, almost all doctors are unaware that medications can deplete nutritional reserves.

So, for now, you’ll just have to be aware of drug-nutrient depletions yourself.

Sources:

  1. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook
  2. The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs
  3. The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications
  4. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: Improve Your Health and Avoid Side Effects When Using Common Medications and Natural Supplements Together
  5. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements
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Article Source: http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/antidepressants-side-effects.html

This fantastic article was written by Jordan Fallis, a brain health journalist and biohacker. We encourage you to ckeck out his website here

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Last Song Syndrome? Why Catchy Songs Get Stuck In Your Head, Plus How To Get Rid Of Earworm

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Many of us have experienced last song syndrome: We get in the car, turn on the radio, and hear the same top 40 songs on repeat every hour. Suddenly, we catch ourselves humming the melody of a song, and hear it play on a continuous loop in our heads. So, what makes some songs catchier than others?

Researchers at Durham University suggest some songs are more likely to stay with us based on their melodic content.

“These musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions like we can hear in the opening riff of Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple or in the chorus of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga” said Dr. Kelly Jakubowski, lead author of the study from the Department of Music at Durham University, in a statement.

About 90 percent of us experience an earworm at least once a week, with some of us having them more than others, according to Jakubowski. It normally happens at times when the brain is not doing much, such as being in the shower, walking, or doing chores.

In the study, published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, researchers identified three distinct characteristics that make up an earworm: pace, shape of the melody, and a few unique intervals.

In terms of pace, earworms are faster and more upbeat in tempo and have rhythm people could move to. For example, previous research has found songs on a running or workout playlist tend to transport athletes into a state known as “flow,” which is when people are completely immersed in what they’re doing and feel as if they’re functioning on autopilot. Typically, a workout playlist will start with warmup and stretching music, and then transition to cardio songs, which gradually increase in intensity. The playlist migrates to strength-training tunes, and then concludes with mellow cool-down songs.

These songs are also more likely to be earworms, because of their gradual increase in intensity, followed by a decrease, and increase in between.

A song’s melodic contour, or musical shape determines whether it’s an earworm. These songs are simple in structure, but possess a rhythmic pattern. For example, the nursery rhyme “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” rises in pitch, but it goes back down low and then rises again as a partner. This easy-to-remember melody makes a song an inevitable earworm.

A more recent example is Maroon 5’s opening riff of “Moves Like Jagger,” one of the top-named earworm tunes in the study. It follows a common contour pattern of rising then falling in pitch.

Lastly, an earworm song possesses unusual interval structure, such as some unexpected leaps or more repeated notes than we would hear in the “average pop song.” The instrumental riff of The Knack’s “My Sharona” contains an unusual interval structure.

To obtain this data, the researchers used an online survey to ask 3,000 people for their most frequent earworm tunes. They compared them to tunes that had never been named as earworms in the database, but were a match in terms of popularity, and how often they were in the UK Music Charts. Melodic features of earworm and non-earworm tunes were analyzed and compared. The songs were limited to popular music genres, such as pop, rock, rap, rhythm & blues. (R&B).

The most frequently named earworms included:

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5

California Gurls – Katy Perry

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Alejandro – Lady Gaga

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

“We now also know that, regardless of the chart success of a song, there are certain features of the melody that make it more prone to getting stuck in people’s heads like some sort of private musical screensaver,” said Jakubowski.

So, how do we get these earworms out of our heads?

A 2015 study in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology claims that chewing gum provides a simple solution. In a series of experiments, participants who were given gum to chew reported fewer earworms than those who weren’t. The researchers hypothesize since our vocal apparatus is involved in singing, when our jaws are otherwise engaged, our ability to imagine music is impaired.

At least we have a better understanding why we still can’t get Kylie Minogue’s 2002 hit song “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” out of our heads.

Source: Jakubowski et al. “Dissecting an earworm: Melodic features and song popularity predict involuntary musical imagery”. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. 2016.

Article Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/last-song-syndrome-why-catchy-songs-get-stuck-your-head-plus-how-get-rid-403436

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Blue light has a dark side

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Exposure to blue light at night, emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs, harmful to your health.

Until the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was the major source of lighting, and people spent their evenings in (relative) darkness. Now, in much of the world, evenings are illuminated, and we take our easy access to all those lumens pretty much for granted.

But we may be paying a price for basking in all that light. At night, light throws the body’s biological clock—the circadian rhythm—out of whack. Sleep suffers. Worse, research shows that it may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

But not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.

Daily rhythms influenced by light

Everyone has slightly different circadian rhythms, but the average length is 24 and one-quarter hours. The circadian rhythm of people who stay up late is slightly longer, while the rhythms of earlier birds fall short of 24 hours. Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School showed, in 1981, that daylight keeps a person’s internal clock aligned with the environment.

The health risks of nighttime light

Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. It’s not exactly clear why nighttime light exposure seems to be so bad for us. But we do know that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms, and there’s some experimental evidence (it’s very preliminary) that lower melatonin levels might explain the association with cancer.

A Harvard study shed a little bit of light on the possible connection to diabetes and possibly obesity. The researchers put 10 people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms. Their blood sugar levels increased, throwing them into a prediabetic state, and levels of leptin, a hormone that leaves people feeling full after a meal, went down.

Even dim light can interfere with a person’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion. A mere eight lux—a level of brightness exceeded by most table lamps and about twice that of a night light—has an effect, notes Stephen Lockley, a Harvard sleep researcher. Light at night is part of the reason so many people don’t get enough sleep, says Lockley, and researchers have linked short sleep to increased risk for depression, as well as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

The power of the blues

While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).

In another study of blue light, researchers at the University of Toronto compared the melatonin levels of people exposed to bright indoor light who were wearing blue-light–blocking goggles to people exposed to regular dim light without wearing goggles. The fact that the levels of the hormone were about the same in the two groups strengthens the hypothesis that blue light is a potent suppressor of melatonin. It also suggests that shift workers and night owls could perhaps protect themselves if they wore eyewear that blocks blue light. Inexpensive sunglasses with orange-tinted lenses block blue light, but they also block other colors, so they’re not suitable for use indoors at night. Glasses that block out only blue light can cost up to $80.

Less-blue light

If blue light does have adverse health effects, then environmental concerns, and the quest for energy-efficient lighting, could be at odds with personal health. Those curlicue compact fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs we grew up with. But they also tend to produce more blue light.

The physics of fluorescent lights can’t be changed, but coatings inside the bulbs can be so they produce a warmer, less blue light. LED lights are more efficient than fluorescent lights, but they also produce a fair amount of light in the blue spectrum. Richard Hansler, a light researcher at John Carroll University in Cleveland, notes that ordinary incandescent lights also produce some blue light, although less than most fluorescent lightbulbs.

What you can do

  • Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  • Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
  • If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
  • Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.

image: © Innovatedcaptures | Dreamstime.com

Updated: September 2, 2015

Originally published: May 2012

Article Source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side?

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Risk factors for prostate cancer

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New research suggests that age, race and family history are the biggest risk factors for a man to develop prostate cancer, although high blood pressure, high cholesterol, vitamin D deficiency, inflammation of prostate, and vasectomy also add to the risk. In contrast, obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking show a negative association with the disease. Details are reported in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics.

Khaled Alqahtani, Shankar Srinivasan, Dinesh Mital and Syed Haque of the Department of Health Informatics, at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Newark, New Jersey, USA, explain that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with 233000 new cases estimated in the USA during 2014 and almost 30000 deaths. A boy being born today has an almost 1 in 7 chance of developing prostate cancer at some point in their life and a 3% chance of dying from the disease. At this time, however, cancer specialists do not fully understand the underlying causes nor the epidemiology of prostate cancer.

Alqahtani and colleagues have analyzed data from The US Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), the largest database in the USA for all-payer inpatient health care. They focused on the years 2007-2011 amounting to more than 12 million records and looked at men aged 35 to 100 years, finding that approximately 5.35% of them had prostate cancer (642383 men). They then used statistical analyses to look at the independent variables: age, race, family history of prostate cancer, family history of any other cancer, obesity, alcohol abuse, smoking, cholesterol, vitamin D deficiency, inflammation of prostate, vasectomy, and hypertension, to see which factors were critical variables associated with prostate cancer incidence.

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Alqahtani, K.S., Srinivasan, S., Mital, D.P. and Haque, S. (2015) ‘Analysis of risk factors for prostate cancer patients’, Int. J. Medical Engineering and Informatics, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.365-380

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-09/ip-rff092915.php

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THE 9 BEST WAYS TO GET RID OF MUSCLE CRAMPS

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You’ve probably been stopped in your tracks by a spasm the size of a golf ball in your calf, a charley horse, or a tremor that constricts your hamstrings. Like side stitches, muscle cramps are a reality for many runners, lifters, cyclists, and swimmers alike.

The main difference between side stitches and cramps is that the latter occurs in smooth involuntary muscle (more specifically, your diaphragm) while more common muscle cramps occur in large skeletal muscle that’s under your voluntary control (i.e. your leg muscles). The cramps are sudden, painful, and can really throw off a workout (or your sleep). Of course, you know this if you’re prone to muscle cramping. So, why do they happen in the first place?

“Cramps are not well understood, but there is research to show that cramps occur from changes in motor neuron excitability or random discharges of motor nerves that cause sudden—sometimes very painful—involuntary contraction of a muscle,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N, endurance athlete and owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition.

“Athletes who experience cramps may experience them during exercise (exercise-induced cramping) due to muscular fatigue or shortened muscle contraction (a.k.a. tight muscles and limited range of motion),” Sumbal says.

For expert-backed tips on preventing muscle cramps, alleviating pain when they strike, and keeping them from happening again, read on.

1. Do a proper warmup

Always warm up with a combination of dynamic and static stretching(Read: Warmup Tips: How to Use Static and Dynamic Stretching to Become a Better Athlete). When you incorporate both types of stretching into a full warmup routine with aerobic components and drills, you optimize your exercise performance and reduce your chances of straining muscles. Plus, by priming your major muscle groups—flooding the areas with blood—you prepare them for higher intensity movements. In short, you’re not shocking your system and causing muscles to lock or tighten due to stress.

2. Keep carbs handy—and hydrate!

Sumbal says to stay well hydrated during the day before you work out, during the workout (if you’re logging a good distance—and even more so if it’s hot), and after. Dehydration can play a role in muscle cramps because when you lose fluids and electrolytes like like sodium and potassium, you disrupt the balance of fluids in your body. In turn, this increases the excitability of your nerves and prompts your muscles to spasm. You should also consider drinking an electrolyte-carb beverage for workouts over 75 minutes, she says.

“You need to use sport nutrition (carbohydrate-based products) during long workouts when fatigue is most likely to occur,” Sumbal says. This isn’t necessary for a 5 or 10K, but if you’re logging 10+ miles, consider storing these foods and performance products to boost your energy and power you through the finish line. This is especially important for triathletes or people competing in endurance events like IRONMAN or Ragnar races who want to avoid the muscle cramping, stomach pain, and exhaustion symptomatic of bonking.

“We not only lose fluids when we sweat—which can be replaced with beverages—but the levels of several electrolytes that are essential to fluid balance and neuromuscular functioning also decrease—especially sodium,” says Beatriz Lara, a lead researcher from the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Camilo José Cela University. Her research suggests endurance athletes like marathoners can lose liters of fluids during a race, and if those fluids aren’t replenished, the excessive electrolyte loss can cause a condition called hyponatraemia. When your sodium concentration is less than 135 mmol/L in the blood it can lead to decreased or loss of consciousness—and worse. (That could make those muscle cramps seem like a walk in the park, huh?)

3. Improve your range of motion

“Work on mobility to improve your range of motion—especially if you’re commuting a lot or working a desk job,” Sumbal says. Mobility drills really help open up tightness so you can settle into movements that might otherwise strain your muscles—causing them to spasm and cramp.

If you’re looking for a routine that will build muscle, improve mobility, and bulletproof your joints, try The Perfect Workout. If you want fitness experts’ secrets on improving total body mobility, read The Fit 5: Better Body Mobility.

4. Relax your body

It’s difficult during high-intensity movements like sprinting, but try to relax your body when you’re training. Mid-run try to think about relaxing your face, unclenching your jaw, and keeping your fingers from forming a fist. It may seem nit-picky, but you’re wasting energy and putting unnecessary force on small and large muscles throughout your body. “Many newbie swimmers suffer from hamstring and calf cramps from being too tense in the water,” Sumbal adds. “Yoga may help with this,” she says, since the practice teaches you to zero in on tasks that challenge your strength and flexibility all while keeping that mind-body connection. .

5. Take it slow

“Progress slowly with your training,” Sumbal suggests. If you’re training for a marathon, you can’t jump from logging three miles a day to 12. Your muscles won’t have the time to cope, so you can expect straining and cramps. “Don’t take any shortcuts and progress your training gradually so you adapt overtime.”

6. Foam roll before and after workouts

“Most athletes will benefit from light foam rolling and mobility work before and afterworkouts,” Sumbal says. Loosen up your hip flexors, which are notoriously tight, and break up any knots in your hamstrings, quads, and calves. You’ll be markedly more comfortable and relaxed by taking the time to roll out tightness and soreness beforehand, and even more benefits if you do it after as well.
7. Massage the muscle

“If a cramp occurs during a workout, stop immediately and try to relax,” Sumbal recommends. Never try to push through the cramp because you’ll only aggravate it more. “You can lightly massage the muscles to relax the contraction,” she adds. Light stretching will help, too. Just don’t over-do it since that can cause the onset of new cramps.

8. Strengthen your small and large muscles

“Strength training is important; you can strengthen the muscles so they do not fatigue as quickly,” Sumbal says. “Don’t just target the major muscle groups, though,” she adds. Foot strength is super important and causes a whole slew of problems—from the ground up. Work on picking up marbles with your toes or grabbing a towel and picking it up and dropping it down from side to side.

9. Check out breaking science

Sumbal says to check out the latest on a sports beverage that targets the nervous system called It’s the Nerve. It’s not yet released but is in development by Rod MacKinnon M.D., Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist and endurance athlete. MacKinnon set out to create a solution to muscle cramps after suffering a bout while kayaking. According to his site, “When under stressful conditions—such as fatigue, heat, severe electrolyte loss, reduced blood flow—nerve function can deteriorate and cause an excessive firing of motor neurons, which ultimately causes muscles to cramp. Our product’s blend helps stabilize the activity of the motor neurons and thereby prevents muscle cramps.”  (Though we’re not sure yet what the “blend” is, all of the active ingredients are included on the FDA’s list of ingredients that are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).)

Article Source: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/9-best-ways-get-rid-muscle-cramps?

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Mitochondria, Telomeres, Strength Training & What It Means For Something To Qualify As An “Anti-Aging” Activity

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In his excellent article series on anti-aging, anti-aging fitness expert Clarence Bass highlights this study showing that six months of progressive resistance training made the gene expression pattern of aging mitochondria appear significantly younger. 

Muscles can become smaller and weaker with age (a process known as sarcopenia), and evidence suggests that a key part of the decline occurs in a component of muscle cells called the mitochondria, the primary engine of energy production.

From the study, which was done on men at an average age of 70 years old, researchers reported that “…the older individuals were able to improve strength by approximately 50%, to levels that were only 38% less than that of young individuals…”. This means that seniors engaged in weight training closed the strength gap between themselves and their counterparts who were nearly 40 years younger from 59% to 38%, which is an improvement of almost 36% in a mere six months of the study.

Muscle biopsies from the study showed “a remarkable reversal of the expression profile of 179 genes associated with age and exercise training…Genes that were down-regulated with age were correspondingly up-regulated with exercise, while genes that were up-regulated with age, were down-regulated with exercise.”

The researchers summed things up by reporting that “healthy older adults show a gene expression profile in skeletal muscle consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction and associated processes such as cell death, as compared with young individuals. Moreover, following a period of resistance exercise training in older adults, we found that age-associated transcriptome expression changes were reversed, implying a restoration of a youthful expression profile.”

So when it comes to mitochondria, weight training reversed nearly 40 years of aging!

But exercise doesn’t only affect mitochondria.  Two more studies show how exercise protects DNA from the wear and tear of aging, and how the addition of fast-twitch muscle fibers precipitate fat loss and improve metabolic function – primarily by acting on telomeres.

Telomeres cap the DNA chromosomes in your cells and protect these chromosomes from damage. As you age, telomeres progressively wear and shorten from repeated cell division, oxidative stress, inflammation, and other metabolic processes, eventually leaving the cell’s chromosomes unprotected. When the caps are completely eroded or disappear, the wear and tear begins to cut into your genes, causing cells to become damaged and discarded as you grow older.

In this next study, scientists measured telomeres in twins to gauge the effect of exercise on aging, hypothesizing that “telomere dynamics might chronicle the cumulative burden of oxidative stress and inflammation and, as such, serve as an index of biological age” and that “physical activity level may have an [independent] effect on telomere attrition”.

They studied 2401 twins (2152 women and 249 men, aged 18 to 81), used questionnaires on physical activity level, smoking status, disease status, and socioeconomic status, and extracted DNA from blood samples.

So what did they find in this study on twins?

Telomere length decreased with age. No surprises there. But both the women and men who were physically active had longer telomeres than those who were sedentary, even after adjusting for the influence of age, weight, disease, socioeconomic status, and smoking.

In addition, the study participants who spent more than 3 hours each week engaged in vigorous physical activity (such as lifting weights) had longer telomeres than subjects 10 years younger, suggesting that individuals who eschew placing a vigorous load on their body may wind up biologically older by 10 years.

Obviously, since they were studying twins, these differences weren’t due to genes, but rather due to the lifestyle factor of exercise. When one twin exercised significantly more than the other, they had longer, more durable telomeres.

In the next study, researchers found that replacing slow-twitch type I muscle fibers with stronger and faster type II muscle fibers produced a significant reduction of fat mass and insulin resistance. Endurance training develops slow-twitch fibers, but strength training builds fast-twitch fibers.

For this study, researchers used a genetically engineered mouse that contained a muscle-growth regulating gene called Akt1 that could be turned on and off by the researchers. Activating Akt1 caused the mice to grow type II fibers, without exercise (important to note, since mice don’t really lift weights that well, even when commanded to by scientists in white lab coats). When the Akt1 gene was turned on, the mice took on the characteristics of a lean and powerful sprinter or weight lifter, and when the gene was turned off, the mice reverted to a predominance of type I muscle fibers, along with becoming more obese and insulin resistant (notably, this was without an actual change in diet!).

The researchers reported that “remarkably, type II muscle growth was associated with an overall reduction in body mass, due to a large decrease in fat mass. In addition, blood tests showed that these mice became metabolically normal [with no insulin resistance]. This work shows that type 2 muscle just doesn’t allow you to pick up heavy objects, it is also important in controlling whole body metabolism. It appears that the increase in type 2 muscle fiber orchestrates changes in the body through its ability to communicate with other tissues”.

Beyond the age of 30, we lose approximately six pounds of muscle mass per decade, and these findings indicate that interventions designed to increase skeletal muscle mass (such as weight training) may prove to be critical weapons in the fight against obesity and obesity-related ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and cancer.

The key point here of course is that weight training, due to it’s recruitment of type II muscle fibers, appears to be more effective than cardio, endurance and aerobics for fat loss, weight control, essentially converting the cells into a fat-burning machine.

Finally, yet another study on strength training effects on telomere length in human skeletal muscle looked into reports of a phenomenon of abnormally short telomeres in skeletal muscle of athletes who had overtraining and exercise-associated fatigue. This important study looked into the question of whether long-term hard exercise might have deleterious effects on muscle telomeres. So, using muscle biopsies, the researchers compared telomere length of a group of power lifters who had trained for an average of eight years against that of a group of healthy, active subjects who had no history of strength training.

There was absolutely no abnormal shortening of telomeres in the power lifters. As a matter of fact, telomere lengths in the power lifters were significantly higher than those of the control group, and telomere length was positively correlated to the power lifters’ individual records in the squat and deadlift!

These results show for the first time that long-term weight training is not associated with an abnormal shortening of skeletal muscle telomere length, and that the heavier the load you put on your muscles, the longer your telomeres will tend to be.

Written by: Ben Greenfield

Article Source: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/05/the-fittest-old-people/

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