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Are Your Sleep Habits Damaging Your Liver?

Before we talk about which sleep habits are damaging your liver, let’s get to know this organ. The liver performs more than 500 vital bodily functions. Here are a few:

  • Bile production. The liver produces bile, which helps break down the fat in food.
  • Glucose storage. It stores sugar called glucose, which gives you a quick energy boost when you need it.
  • Detoxification. It’s responsible for detoxifying your blood by removing harmful chemicals, such as hormones that have done their job, that are produced in your body.

The Liver’s Working Hours

Plenty is going on in our body when we’re sleeping, but the most important function is detoxification. This happens ideally between 11 pm to 3 am. During these hours, our liver becomes much larger as blood supplies from all over our body converge here.

Researchers monitoring phases of activity and rest in mice saw that the size of the liver gradually increases to about 40% more towards the end of the night and that it returns to its initial size during the day. When the normal circadian rhythm is reversed, this fluctuation disappears. As mammals, our liver works much the same way as the liver of mice. What happens to your liver, and by extension to you, if you can’t sleep during these hours? Can detoxification take place if you’re awake between 11 pm to 3 am? Here are three studies that seem to indicate that you’re heading for trouble if you don’t catch your shut-eye at the right time.

Sleep and Glucose

Studies show that losing a single night’s sleep may affect the liver’s ability to produce glucose and process insulin. This increases the risk of metabolic diseases such as hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) and type 2 diabetes.

Sleep and Liver Fat

As many as 1 in 4 Americans are estimated to have excess liver fat. This can lead to inflammation and damage that could eventually cause liver failure. Fat production in the liver is affected by the circadian rhythm. So says a mouse study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania.  The study showed that liver cells change with the time of day and these changes influence gene expression. When mice are asleep and fasting, the genes involved in fat production are active and help prevent the liver from producing fat. Watch out if you’re disrupting your daily cycle with rotating shift work or night flights. This can increase the risk of diseases like obesity and diabetes.

Sleep and Liver Cancer

Researchers have also associated sleep disruption with increased risk of liver cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that 700,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with liver cancer each year. If you’re overweight, you run more of a risk for liver cancer. The same applies if you suffer from chronic sleep disruption. Scientists exposed mice to disrupted light and dark cycles for nearly 2 years. These cycles disrupted the normal sleep cycles of the mice. As a result, the mice developed a range of conditions, including skin disorders, neurodegeneration, and cancer.

Keep Your Liver Healthy For a Good Night

We’ve established that adequate sleep at the right times can keep your liver healthy. Sadly, if you already have liver damage, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping. Liver damage (cirrhosis) can be caused by harmful alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis B and C, metabolic disorders, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Most patients with liver damage have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Their sleep is of poor quality, and in addition to sleeping less, they feel sleepy during the day. We don’t really understand why liver patients struggle with insomnia, but the hormone cortisol probably plays a part in things.

As well as getting to sleep on time, there’s one more thing that you can do to help your liver function: keep calm and relaxed so that your cortisol levels don’t rise. When you wake up in the morning, you usually feel energized. That’s thanks to the stress hormone cortisol that was secreted into your body before you woke up. Stress will elevate the cortisol levels in your blood. Your liver will have a harder time deactivating this hormone. The longer the hormone stays in your system, the harder it’ll be for you to fall asleep.


Rhona Lewis is a healthcare freelance writer with over 11 years of writing experience that she uses to help healthcare companies grow their authority and create brand awareness. Her background as a journalist means she’s curious enough to ask the right questions and committed to thorough research. She has a knack for breaking down complex medical concepts into content that a lay audience will read till the end.

Reference Articles:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-link-between-sleep-liver-fat

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314318.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664866/

pilates  workout with personal trainer at gym

Embarking on a Health Journey: 5 Tips to Help Transform Your Life

Losing fat and embarking on a health journey can be a daunting task that requires commitment and discipline to achieve your desired results. If it were easy, the health rate for individuals where I live — in the Antelope Valley in Los Angeles — would be much better. The fact is, the Antelope Valley has some the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in the Los Angeles County.

According to the L.A. County Public Health site, the obesity rate sits at a whopping 34.8% for residents in the Antelope Valley. Over a third of our population are in dire need of a health transformation. To make matters worse, many of those people that are considered obese have a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, limited mobility and other unwanted health problems.

To change your health and ultimately your life, there are five ways that you must employ in order to lose fat and transform your life.

Eat Supportively

You don’t need a diet to tell you to eat more veggies. That’s one thing that all nutrition experts can agree on. Your meals should have a rainbow of 3-5 vegetables that covers half of the plate. Your meals should always support your goals. Try getting at least 20 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber with each meal. This helps with digestion, fat loss, and lean muscle building. 3-5 meals per day, consumed every 3-4 hours is recommended, eating until you’re 80% full each time.

Add Resistance Training to Your Routine

2-3 days of total body resistance training can elevate your metabolism, prevent osteoporosis and maintain lean muscle that supports the sexy look you’re going for. You may not like having sore muscles so take it easy when getting started and progress steadily towards more intense workouts.

Smart Cardio

Gone are the days where you have to dreadfully plod along on a treadmill for hours on end and still not make any progress towards your goals. Be smart about your cardio. Interval training is the best way to lose fat in a shorter amount of time. Try doing 30 seconds of some form of high-intensity cardio, followed by 60 seconds of low-intensity cardio. A good cardio session shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete when done correctly.

Sensible Supplementation

There’s always a new weight loss supplement hitting the market that promises you the world with little to no work done by the person consuming the product. Most products fail to deliver so be cognizant of where you spend your money. Set your nutritional foundation by taking a vitamin supplement made from real foods, synthetic versions just will not do. You may also need a good omega-3 supplement, and perhaps a good probiotic. Do your homework and spend your money wisely.

Coaching & Community

You do not have to do this alone. Being a part of a supportive network of individuals who all have similar goals makes achieving your goals much more pleasurable and gives you a shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling stressed, or having a weak moment. A knowledgeable wellness professional will steer you to a successful path on your health journey. Look for wellness professionals that specialize in your demographic and health needs.

With discipline, commitment and patience, your health will change for the better. You can get past the trauma, the key is to stop being hard on yourself for past decisions and mistakes. Today is a new day for you to do what’s right for yourself and your family; take action and start your health transformation now.


Ron Kusek is Transformational Wellness Coach & Holistic Chef. He is certified as a personal trainer through the National Strength & Conditioning Association, as well as holding certifications with the Institute of Transformational Nutrition as a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, and a Functional Aging Specialist with the Functional Aging Institute. Ron specializes in functional aging for mature adults; he runs a home-based wellness program for women 50+ called the Lean & Sexy Fitcamp. He’s working to change the lives of the community in the Antelope Valley in a positive, holistic way. 

Depositphotos_11402918_xs

Exercise Solutions for Fibromyalgia

Approximately 4 million people in the United States live with fibromyalgia, an illness which manifests as severe muscle pain and chronic fatigue. Living with fibromyalgia — the cause of which is unknown, but seems to be connected to the nervous system — means coping on a daily basis with debilitating discomfort and a lack of energy, making exercise difficult. Indeed, a lot of different exercises can actually make the symptoms of fibromyalgia more acute, but there is a common misconception that exercise should be avoided completely by those with the condition.

Giving up exercise is not the answer. Some forms of physical exercise may exacerbate pain, but this is due to the unsuitability of the exercise itself, rather than just doing exercise. In fact, performing exercises that don’t trigger symptoms can actually help, not the least of which is relieving mental and psychological fatigue which is connected to living with the illness.

Start slowly

Throwing yourself into a workout with no gradual build-up is not recommended for anybody, but least of all if you live with fibromyalgia. Intense workouts need to be increased over time, whether you’re 18 or 80, in good shape or not. Unprepared muscles will not respond well and it could take days to undo the damage caused. As little as 5 minutes spent walking can be the best approach.

“After a while, start to increase the amount of time you spend exercising bit by bit, but do not increase the rigorousness of the exercise, which will have a detrimental effect,” warns Pamela Chase, a Fibromyalgia expert at SimpleGrad and Revieweal.

Keep it low intensity

And with the case of fibromyalgia, high-intensity workouts should never be the aim. Pain will only be exacerbated if you take on exercise that’s intense on the muscles, so again, walking is a great option, as is a gentle swim using breaststroke or backstroke. Other great options for fibromyalgia are yoga and tai chi, which include slow movements and little impact.

Take plenty of breaks

In addition to keeping exercise low intensity, take plenty of breaks. Not only will this allow you to recover energy levels, but you’ll actually be able to participate for longer, if you break your routine into smaller, bitesize chunks.

Listen to your body

Exercise can mean overcoming mental obstacles, no matter who you are, but when you suffer from fibromyalgia, it’s imperative you listen to your body. Don’t try to undertake exercise when the message coming from inside is ‘no’. There will simply be times when your energy levels are too low to participate in any form of exercise, so despite the mental frustration this will cause, listen to what your body is communicating.

Measure impact and recovery

Listen to what your body is telling you, and that means keeping tabs on it for two or three days after. As you start to build in exercise routines, do so gradually so the impact of each one can be measured independently. It will help you understand what is working for you, and what isn’t, and then you can develop routines that work for you.

“Although exercise tips are generic, and medical guidance is quite standard for fibromyalgia sufferers, the reality is that no two individuals will respond in exactly the same way to what could appear to be an identical workout, so continue to listen to your body, and continue with routines that work for you as an individual,” says Bruce Sorenson, a journalist at UKTopWriters and AustralianReviewer.

Additional tips

The nature of fibromyalgia means that there are related issues to look out for and manage with your workouts. One such issue is orthostatic intolerance — which means the blood rushes to the legs when sufferers stand up, and stays there. The solution to this is vastly increasing water and salt intake prior to and during exercise, and exercising in warm water. Using a recumbent bicycle can also greatly assist as a warm-up, or even as the exercise itself.

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any exercise routine or program to determine if it’s suitable for your needs.


Aimee Laurence is a personal trainer and blogger at Paper Writing Service and Essay Service. She writes about Fibromyalgia and health. Also, Aimee tutors at Assignment Help Australia portal.

 

References

Pamela Chase, a Fibromyalgia expert, Simplegrad and Revieweal.

Bruce Sorenson, a journalist, UKTopWriters and AustralianReviewer.

vegan plate

Can Vegan Athletes Become Elite Athletes?

Fact or Fiction: The vegan diet is unlikely to support optimal performance in athletes? 

Fiction! No evidence suggests a nutritionally balanced vegan diet impairs athletic performance (1,2). Google vegan athletes; you’ll find an impressive list of Olympians and elite athletes from many sports (football, basketball, tennis, rowing, etc.). That said, vegans (and vegetarians) could choose a diet that helps them be powerful athletes, but do they?

Some vegans eat too many salads, sweet potatoes & berries (or chips and candy), but not enough beans, nuts, and seeds. They eliminate animal protein but fail to replace it with enough plant protein. Weight-conscious vegan athletes who restrict calories often reduce their intake of protein and other nutrients. Hence, dieting vegan athletes need to be extra vigilant to consume a menu supportive of their needs.

Two keys to thriving on a balanced vegan (and vegetarian) sports diet are to consume:

  1. adequate vitamins and minerals (in particular iron, zinc, calcium, iodine, vitamins D and B-12) as well as omega-3 fats, and
  2. adequate protein from a variety of plant foods that offer a variety of amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

The amino acid leucine is of particular importance for athletes. Leucine is an essential amino acid your body cannot make, so you need to get it from food. Leucine triggers muscles to grow. It also can help prevent the deterioration of muscle with age. When you lift weights, you stimulate the muscles to take up leucine (and other amino acids); this triggers muscular growth. Hence, leucine is a very important component of an athlete’s diet!

The richest sources of leucine are animal foods, such as eggs, milk, fish, and meats. When a meat-eating athlete swaps beef for beans and other plant-proteins (hummus, quinoa, nuts, tofu, etc.), the swap commonly reduces leucine intake by about 50%. Hence, vegan athletes need to pay attention to getting enough high-quality plant-proteins that offer the optimal amount of leucine (about 2.5 grams per meal or snack). That means, vegans want to consistently enjoy soy, beans, legumes, seeds and/or nuts regularly at every meal and snack. Don’t have just oatmeal for breakfast; add soy milk and walnuts.  Don’t snack on just an apple; slather apple slices with peanut butter. Enjoy it with a swig of soy or pea milk instead of almond milk.

This table compares the leucine content of plant and animal foods. Note that when you swap animal-based protein for plant-based protein (such as trade eggs for peanut butter, or dairy milk for soy milk), you’ll likely need to eat more calories of plant-foods to get the same amount of leucine as in animal foods:

Animal food Leucine

(g)

Calories Plant food (swap) Leucine

(g)

Calories
Eggs, 2 large 1.1 155 Peanut butter, 2 Tb 0.5 190
Milk, 8 oz 1.0 120 Soy milk, lowfat 0.5 105
Tuna, 5-oz can 2.3 120 Black beans, 1/2 c 0.7 110
Chicken, 3 oz cooked 2.1 150 Tofu, extra firm, 6 oz 1.4 140
Cheese, 1 oz 0.6 115 Almonds, 3/4 oz. 0.3 120
Beef, 5 oz ckd 3.8 265 Lentils, 1 cup 1.3 225

 How much protein and leucine do you need?

A 150-pound vegan athlete who seriously wants to build muscle should plan to eat about 20 grams of protein with 2.5 grams leucine every 3-4 hours during the day. (If you weigh more or less than 150 pounds, adjust that target accordingly.)  Here’s a sample 1,800-calorie vegan diet (read that, weight reduction diet for most athletes, both male and female) that offers adequate protein at every meal —but not always 2.5 grams leucine. To be a dieting vegan athlete requires some menu planning. Some dieters choose to be “mostly vegan.” This flexibility allows for leucine-rich milk, eggs & fish.

Sample 1,800 calorie Vegan Diet Leucine Protein Calories
B.     2 slices whole wheat toast 0.5 g 10. g 200
         2 tablespoons peanut butter 0.5 8 200
         1 cup soy milk 0.5 7 100
Sn: 1 medium apple trace 0.5 100
L:     Salad: greens plus vegetables 0.3 4 50
         1/2 cup chick peas 0.8 6 100
         1/4 cup sunflower seeds 0.9 12 350
         1 tablespoon oil 100
Sn:   1/3 cup hummus 0.2 3 100
         10 baby carrots trace 0.5 50
D:    1/3 cake tofu 1.1 12 100
         1 cup cooked brown rice 0.4 6 250
         2 cups broccoli

 

0.5 7 100
Total for the day: 10 76 1,800
 

Target for the day:

 

2.5 g /meal

 

65-108

 

1,800

Note: I have not included fake meats such as the Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger in this menu. Those are ultra-processed foods that have a questionable place in any diet. I have also not included almond milk (a poor source of protein) nor supplements with leucine. You want to choose whole foods; they come with a matrix of nutrients that boost protein synthesis and can better invest in your health, recovery and overall well being.


Nancy Clark MS RD counsels both casual & competitive athletes at her Boston-area office (617-795-1875). The new 2019 edition of her best selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook is available at www.NancyClarkRD.com, as is info about her popular online workshop.

For additional information about a vegan sports diet:

1) Wirnitzer, K. et al. 2018. Health Status of Female and Male Vegetarian and Vegan Endurance Runners Compared to Omnivores—Results from the NURMI Study (Step 2).  Nutrients 11(1):29  doi: 10.3390/nu11010029 (Free access)

2) Rogerson, D. 2017. Vegan diets: Practical advice for athletes and exercisers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14: 36  doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9 (Free access)

Prescription for good health diet and exercise flat lay overhead with copyspace.

Medical & Fitness Integration… a HEALTH-E-FIT!

Year after year, the IHRSA Trend Report continues to state that there will be an increase of trillions of spending cost in healthcare spending, with aging Baby Boomers contributing heavily to the total over the next decade. At least 50% of adults between 50-64 years of age live with at least one chronic condition. More than 44% of US consumers take at least one prescription medication daily, and the 50+ age group accounts for nearly 3/4 of spending on prescription drugs. The most commonly prescribed drugs for 40- to 60-year-old adults are for high cholesterol, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and hypertension.

As more individuals who actively participate in the US healthcare system seek solutions, the more we need to do for positioning our programs and facilities to address their non-traditional needs. As with any other business, we must change, modify and refocus our service delivery system as our client profile and the associated service needs change.

In April 2017, I made the decision to solely focus on developing a Medical Fitness Service to champion the Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) initiative through HEALTHEFIT. Despite being created in 2007, EIM remains an untapped service that has not only been ignored by fitness professionals but also by healthcare as well. Exercise is Medicine®, a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), encourages primary care physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals, especially those with the Exercise is Medicine credential.

In reviewing the multiple areas that we could contribute positive health outcomes, we decided to focus on the following:

1. Orthopedic Pathology

  • Acute Low Back Pain, Low Back Pain and Sciatica, Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Pathology, Hip Replacement, Full Knee Replacement, ACL, Meniscus Pathology, Patella-Femoral Syndrome, Osteoporosis

2. Cardiovascular Disease

  • Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Alular Heart Disease

3. Pulmonary Disease

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease [COPD], Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema

4. Metabolic Disease

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Blood Lipid Disorders

HEALTHEFIT’s medical fitness services incorporate a Triangle Treatment Protocol® including: EIM, DNA based nutrition, and Behavioral Medicine. Depending on an individual’s employer benefits plans and/or health insurance, either all or part of these medically directed services can potentially be reimbursable. Creditability is very important to the medical industry therefore we had to ensure that we differentiate our staff from the everyday personal trainer.

While credentials are indeed important, the ability to translate this knowledge into patient specific program design and treatment progression processes is the real professional test. Our medical fitness providers are fitness professionals who have a comprehensive knowledge of special populations. I have been able to create a new professional that is gaining the trust of physicians and health insurance. Our recruiting, orientation, and onboarding process has been the difference in separating HEALTHEFIT from other programs and gaining acceptance with Virginia Premier as their exclusive in-network medical fitness provider and out-of-network
status with Anthem and Cigna.

Want to learn more? Join David for his upcoming MedFit webinar on this topic:


David Rachal III is the founder and CEO of HEALTH-E-FIT, a medical fitness based facility in Chester, VA, where he’s created a scalable system that engages, educates, and empowers physicians and medical fitness providers to work together. His facility uses exercise and nutrition as medicine making prevention, treatment, and long-term management accessible for all. David’s contributions to the fitness industry also include training hundreds of private clients to success and educating over 1,000 trainers in the past eight years as a Fitness Presenter and Certification Specialist with nationally recognized organizations. David holds an MBA with a focus in Healthcare Management. He holds many specialty training certifications, including the ACSM ‘Exercise is Medicine’ credential, the FMS Functional Movement Specialist, and NSCA Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator.

woman with pink cancer awareness ribbon

Helpful Hints for Breast Cancer Survivors – An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective

Occupational Therapists are trained to help people with illness or disability learn how to maintain their daily lifestyle. These daily routines help us feel in control of our lives, and illness forces us to change and become more dependent on others. There are ways to modify and adapt so that we can regain a greater sense of mastery over our lives even while undergoing treatment. Remember to first check with your physician to make sure that you receive medical clearance to engage in the following activities.

Here are some suggestions:

woman with pink cancer awareness ribbon1. Take care of yourself by balancing work, rest, play and treatment. You may need to shift priorities and delegate responsibilities to others if able. It’s OK if the house is a little dirty.

2.Fatigue is the greatest side effects suffered after cancer treatment. However, research has found that exercise during treatment can actually counter the fatigue. Exercise improves quality of life, enhances function, and gives one a sense of control. Even starting with 5 minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial. The less you do, the more fatigue you will feel.

3. If you have received a TRAM FLAP reconstruction, putting on shoes and socks may be difficult. Assistive devices such as long shoe horns or stocking aides may make the process easier.

4. Peripheral neuropathy is another side effect of chemotherapy regimens. Loss of balance and loss of sensation in the hands and feet is a concern. Take measures to reduce risk of falls by removing area rugs, clear and place non-skid mats in the bathtub, and use nightlights. Larger pens with a wider circumference or with grippers can help to hold a pen when hands are weak.

5. Calm your nerves by using techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga which assists with lymphatic flow, pain, and are great stress relievers.

6. Conserve your energy by using carts to carry items instead of making several trips to the refrigerator when cooking. Use frozen vegetables instead of fresh to avoid the work of chopping. Sit while you perform tasks. Store items that you need regularly nearby.

7. Try to use both hands as a team rather than relying just on the unaffected arm for daily tasks such as bed making, dishwashing or lifting. If you recently received surgery, it is better to slide objects if possible rather than lifting them.

8. Finger fitness is important if chemotherapy has caused weakness. Special exercises can help you to maintain or improve the dexterity and strength in your hands.

9. Short rest breaks of 5-10 minutes during every 30-40 minutes of task can help to conserve energy for more enjoyable activities.

10. Velcro is one of the greatest inventions. Find shoes that use Velcro if unable to tie shoelaces.


Naomi Aaronson is an occupational therapist and fitness instructor who specializes in breast cancer recovery and rehabilitation. Naomi believes that exercise is essential in recovery. Her mission statement includes the following, “take back your body and improve your physical and emotional health.”  Visit her website, recovercisesforwellness.com