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Grapes

Activating The Ageless Algorithm: Food

One step in activating the Ageless Algorithm is to eat and supplement intentionally. Supplements should be regarded as augmentations and not dependencies.

There is a plant for every ailment and attribute. I have a growing collection of botanical extracts on my shelf. For maximum benefit, shelve any illogical skepticism about the fruits of spaceship Earth.

The overall shift to noninvasive medicine and healthcare that gets back to nature will support longevity and immortality very directly through vital nutrients.

Consider the immortal Hippocrates quotation “let thy food be thy medicine” with the photo of the grapes above. Grape skin contains Reservatrol, a substance linked to numerous benefits including brain health. Although it is found concentrated in supplement form, the benefit and easy (tasty) access of whole foods, in general, is clear.

Another compound identified in connection with longevity is NAD+ or Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, associated with adult stem cell production. That too comes in supplement form, yet it is also available in foods like fish and mushrooms.

[Aside] And by the way: “Research into adult stem cells has been fueled by their abilities to divide or self-renew indefinitely and generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate — potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells.” — Science Daily. This is kind of funny to extract what we already have inside of us and put it back in, which implies that perhaps what we also need is a new level of awareness.

In another article, Examining Biological Immortality in Nature, I identified the disaccharide sweetener Trehalose as possibly beneficial, given its production by some plants and animals as a protective crystallization against the elements or in a period of dormancy.

Deliberate choice of intake, rich in vitamins and minerals, enhances bodily processes and therefore quality of life.

In support of the adage “you are what you eat,” having as many live foods with active enzymes as possible is the way to go. You may already have many beneficial ingredients on hand, like turmeric (curcumin) or apples and onions (quercetin). This is naming just a few of millions.

Knowing and learning the usefulness and value of plants makes them even more effective. Such is the power of intention plus understanding.


Sarah Ikerd is a USA Weightlifting Level 2 Coach and Technical Official, as well as a business owner and artist who resides in Boston, MA. Visit her website, studio-shangri-la.com

diabetes-exercise-feature

How Exercise May Be the Only Way to Curb the Diabetes Epidemic

The incidence rate of type 2 diabetes has been increasing in the United States for the past 40 years.  In fact, the American Diabetes Association estimates that at least half of all US adults (over 65 million people) have pre-diabetes or full-blown diabetes.  It is often underreported on death certificates, and is probably the third leading cause of premature death in the US.

So why is there such an increase in diabetes in this country?  The biggest reason is diet.

From a young age, children are eating processed food. When they enter school – lunchrooms in many school districts are sponsored with food from McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Coca Cola.  In college – most dorm food is also like fast food, and they can eat as much as they want. That and their foray into alcohol, and we have the beginnings of obesity, insulin resistance, and pancreatic damage. The very concept of type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult diabetes”.  Since many teenagers are now diagnosed, it’s now time to change the name.

One would say that if diabetes is a disease of the foods that you eat, then simply change the foods you eat. Not that simple. Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you become a ward of the medical system. Doctors will perform a lot of tests, take blood, and prescribe both insulin and drugs to mimic the glucose-lowering effects of the body, and many spend a minimal amount of time counseling on the right type of diet for your needs.

There are, in fact, many good diets to lower blood sugar, like the well-known Keto diet, which emphasizes higher fats and low carbohydrates. This is something that doctors have been prescribing in one form or another since the Atkins diet in the 1960s. What about vegetarian and vegan diets?  If you ask Dr. John McDougall, one of the nation’s leading plant-based doctors, he would advocate that a diet higher in plant-based carbohydrates is better for the body than high amounts of meat and cooking oils.

Both may have a point, but if you look at the food choices that most Americans have, they walk into a grocery store, and if they’re not savvy enough to shop on the outside isles (fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses), they are trapped in an endless cycle of boxed cereals, candy bars, frozen foods, soft drinks and alcohol. It is almost impossible to go to a store and not pick up about 50-75% of food from a box, bucket or bottle.  Many still haven’t put two and two together — that the foods they eat now will have an effect on their physiology and medical status in 5-20 years.

So what’s missing? I have been in an interesting position of working in diabetes research in the 1980s, and watching from the sidelines the work, research, and policy in this area of medical care for the past 30 years. Here are my thoughts.  

First, although exercise is touted as part of the trilogy of treatment for diabetes (along with diet and insulin), it is the first to be discarded for another type of treatment that is expedient and profitable.  

Second, there are little, if any, referrals to the health club sector in order to work on basic exercise programs for persons with diabetes. Even moderate types of programming will results in dramatic drops in body weight (and fat), daily blood sugars, and A1c levels. It simply is not being done. Many in allied health scream that personal trainers and fitness instructors are not qualified to teach exercise programs for diabetes. With the advent of medical fitness over the past 20 years, this simply isn’t the case today. I would think that having a mechanism to get patients into health clubs through their health plan, or Medicare, or a revolving door policy with their physician group, would be an outstanding way to get more patients into the exercise routine.  

Third, people who work in the fitness industry should be looking very carefully in getting diabetic persons into their facilities in their communities. This takes an effort with health club trainers, club managers and company owners to reach out to the medical community through health programs, lectures, fairs and membership discounts in order to get patients in the door.  It may even entail home exercise visits, or online coaching where patients are taught programs, and keep their exercise routines times and exercise notes. 

Lastly, the fitness industry needs to move into the technology realm and look at the effects of exercise on patients both over 3-4 weeks, but also 3-4 years. This will be done through outcomes-based software programs that can be detailed to physicians, health plans, and sports medicine journals. Once the majority of medical fitness centers and health clubs are on board, we will see a changing of the guard in terms of what Americans think is the best type of treatment program to reduce diabetes symptoms, and look at the data of how people exercise, and how many of their health risks are being reduced by a challenging and consistent exercise program. This can be done at any age, and at almost every state of diabetes — whether they are newly diagnosed, or have basic complications that they are dealing with regarding long-standing diabetes. 

It is time to embrace exercise as part of a diabetes prevention and reduction strategy.  If not, in 20 years we will probably see the epidemic at such a high level, that a good portion of Americans will not be able to work due to their complications.  The costs to society will be even higher than they are now. It’s a risk we don’t need to take, because of the untapped market of over 31,000 health clubs in the US, there is virtually no reason not to engage in exercise. It would seem that our nation’s health depends on our next steps – literally. 


Eric Durak is President of MedHealthFit – a health care education and consulting company in Santa Barbara, CA. A 25 year veteran of the health and fitness industry, he has worked in health clubs, medical research, continuing education, and business development. Among his programs include The Cancer Fit-CARE Program, Exercise Medicine, The Insurance Reimbursement Guide, and Wellness @ Home Series for home care wellness.

trainer-senior-client-stretch

Why Fitness Professionals Should Join the MedFit Network

It is safe to assume that not everyone a fitness professional works with is injury- or disease-free. As a fitness professional, it is your responsibility to ensure that you provide your clientele with safe and effective programming. The question you have to ask yourself is: are you truly qualified and up to date on the latest information to work with your current (and future) clientele? A second question to ask is: are you marketing yourself to those who need you most in this healthcare crisis? If you’re honest, you should at least say that perhaps you are not.

Well, this is where the MedFit Network (MFN) can help! The MFN is both a professional membership organization for fitness and allied healthcare professionals and a free online resource directory for the community to locate professionals with a background in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in working with those with chronic disease or medical conditions.

As a fitness professional, here’s why you should join the MedFit Network.

1: Raising Fitness Professional Standards 

MFN is dedicated to making sure fitness professionals are highly educated and prepared to work with any medical issue. The name given for this person is a Medical Fitness Specialist (MFS). The MFS helps make the transition from medical management and/or physical therapy to a regular physical activity program following a surgery, an injury, a medical diagnosis or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. They also possess the training and skills to work with medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, neuromuscular disorders and heart disease. So, a medical fitness practitioner is not just a personal trainer but includes wellness- and health-related disciplines such as chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc.

2: Continuing Education

The MedFit Education Foundation (MFEF) is the nonprofit partner of the MedFit Network. MFEF is dedicated to elevating the quality and amount of available education for the medical fitness professional and the entire fitness and wellness community through their learning website, MedFit Classroom. For example, there is a Multiple Sclerosis Fitness Specialist and Drug and Alcohol Recovery Fitness Specialist course that are both one-of-a-kind. Continuing education is required for all their specialty courses. This is typically not the case. It is usually continuing education only for your certification. All of their continuing education courses are approved by a medical advisory board of some of the brightest professionals in the nation. MFEF also facilitates weekly educational webinars that are included with your MFN membership. These webinars are presented weekly by industry experts on such topics as medical fitness and active aging.

The MFN is an organization filled with people from all walks of the wellness professional spectrum. For example, they have MDs, PTs, chiropractors, dieticians, fitness and massage therapists to name a few. As a result, opportunities to network are endless. Because of this, current members have developed their own educational courses and even started their own blogs. Also, members have been able to designate their facility as medical fitness facilities by working with a member who specializes in helping people achieve this status.

The MedFit Network is a unique organization dedicated to improving the standards of the fitness and allied healthcare professionals. The ability for the diseased community to go to a directory of qualified medical fitness professionals is something unheard of anywhere else. The three reasons given are just the tip of the iceberg as to why you should be a part of this movement, the MFN!

Click to learn more about joining the MedFit Network as a professional member.


Maurice Williams offers a rare combination of advanced academic training, personal experience as a competitive athlete, entrepreneur skills and 22 years of experience in personal fitness and training. He has a BS in Exercise/Sport Science from Elon College (Now Elon University) and an MS in Clinical Exercise Physiology from Ohio University. Maurice is also a long-time MedFit Network member.

sneakers-walking-in-woods

Gait! Everything You Need to Know

Assessing and training clients is challenging but skilled observation can give you important clues about your clients’ condition and readiness—and they don’t need to say a thing! Many trainers, and even therapists and doctors, are missing one of the most valuable assessment tools and training modalities they have at their disposal: the client’s gait.

supplements-vitamins

Sports Supplements & Performance

In their effort to enhance energy and optimize performance, many athletes purchase vitamins, herbs, amino acids, and other sports supplements that are reputed to offer a competitive advantage. While a few supplements (beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine, nitrates) might play a small role when added to a well-thought-out fueling plan, no amount of supplements will compensate for a lousy diet. 

Fundamental to every high-performance athlete is an effective sports diet. All athletes should be taught from an early age how to optimize their performance using the food-first approach, so they know how to best fuel-up, fuel during, and refuel after challenging exercise sessions. Once an athlete has finished growing and maturing and has fine-tuned his or her fitness and performance skills, some sports supplements might be appropriately introduced with guidance from a knowledgeable professional.

That said, to the detriment of their wallets, many athletic people look for a glimmer of hope from the multi-billion-dollar supplement industry. Consulting with a registered dietitian (RD) who is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) could easily be a better use of money.

Supplements are popular

A survey of Division-1 college students (89 females, 49 males) at Arizona State Univ. indicated 77% consumed at least one “claimed to be” ergogenic aid (1). Another survey of US Army personnel reports 75% used some type of dietary supplement at least once a week. Protein/amino acids were the most popular, taken by 52% of subjects (2).

Why are so many athletes willing to spend (or is that waste?) a great deal of money to buy sports supplements? The glimmer-of-hope reasons include: to improve physical appearance or physique, increase muscle mass, optimize general health, and help meet physical demands on their bodies. Unfortunately, most supplements don’t work. Before you spend your money, please educate yourself about each supplement you plan to buy.

Where to learn more

For information about (supposedly) performance-enhancing supplements, the US Dept. of Defense website Operation Supplement Safety (www.opss.org) offers abundant information for anyone who is curious to learn more.  The website includes:

  • a list of at least 28 unsafe sports supplements to avoid.
  • a list of questions to help determine if a supplement is safe. (Does the label have a “certified safe” seal from Informed Sport or NSF? Is the label free of the words blend, matrix, proprietary, or complex? Does it make questionable claims?)
  • an A-Z index with info about specific supplements, with all you need to know about Adderall, apple cider vinegar, caffeine, creatine, energy drinks, ephedra, ketone supplements, nitric oxide, omega-3 fats, pre-workouts, pro-hormones, proprietary blends, plus many more.
  • information on unusual reactions and adverse effects (nausea, headaches, shakiness, elevated heat rate, mood change, etc.) and how to report an adverse event to the FDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Another helpful source of information is the Australian Institute for Sport’s ABCD Classification System (www.ais.gov.au/nutrition/supplements). The system ranks sports foods & supplements into 4 groups according to scientific evidence and practical considerations that determine whether a product is safe and if it effectively improves sports performance. 

  • Group A includes specialized products with strong evidence for benefits in specific events, including sports drinks, gels, iron, caffeine, beta-alanine, bicarbonate, beet root/nitrate, and creatine, among others.
  • Group B deserves further research. It includes food compounds with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (i.e., tart cherry juice, curcumin), vitamin C, and collagen, to name just a few.
  • Group C lacks scientific evidence to support use. These include (and are not limited to) magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, HMB, BCAAs, leucine, vitamin E–plus more.
  • Group D includes products with a high risk of leading to a positive doping test: ephedrine, DMAA, herbal stimulants, pro-hormones, hormone boosters (such as DHEA, androstenedione, Tribulus terrestris), and others.

What supplements do “work”? 

Sports supplements that do “work” actually improve performance by just a small (but potentially valuable) amount (3), despite carefully crafted advertisements that can lead you to believe otherwise. Case in point, the popular branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), specifically the BCAA leucine, which is known to activate the muscle-building process. Unfortunately, simply activating the process is not enough to promote muscle growth. 

BCAA research indicates they do not provide any benefits above and beyond the amino acids athletes normally consume when eating protein-rich food at meals and snacks. To see any meaningful muscle-building effect, you actually need to have many other amino acids present (as happens when you eat real food, as opposed to an isolated amino acid), as well as enough calories—and of course, a good strength training program plus adequate sleep. 

Varied responses

Even among supplements that “work,” the response varies greatly from person to person. Case in point, beta-alanine, a supplement used by athletes such as sprinters, rowers, and wrestlers to reduce muscular fatigue and improve endurance during high-intensity exercise that lasts for 1 to 4 minutes. The varied responses can be related to not only genetics and biological factors, but also to the power of the mind, the placebo effect, adequate fuel, and enough sleep. Hence, when a supplement does “work” for some athletes, the response may be due not to the supplement—but rather to the athletes getting serious about taking better care of their bodies, eating wisely and getting enough sleep (4). 

Enhancing sports performance may not need rocket science, after all?


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and her online workshop can help you eat a winning sports diet. Visit NancyClarkRD.com for more information.

 

References

  1. Vento KA and FC Wardenaar. Third-party testing nutritional supplement knowledge, attitudes, and use among an NCAA I collegiate student-athlete population. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. Sept 2020. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2020.00115 
  2. Bukhari A, A DiChiara, E Merrill, et al. Dietary supplement use in US Army personnel: A mixed-methods, survey and focus-group study examining decision making and factors associated with use.  J Acad Nutr Diet 2021; 121(6):1049-1063
  3. Maughan, R, L Burke, J Dvorak et al. IOC Consensus Statement: Dietary Supplements and the High-Performance Athlete. Int’l J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab 2018, 28:104-125
  4. Esteves G, P Swinton, C Dale, et al. Individual participant date meta-analysis provides no evidence of intervention response variation in individuals supplementing with beat-alanine. In’tl J Sp Nutr Exerc Metab 2021; 31(4):305-313
alarm clock

Can’t Wake Up In The Morning Without Your Coffee? Here’s How To Have More Energy Without Caffeine

In this day and age fatigue is a very common problem. If you look at our daily lives, we’re constantly on the go, usually rushing through life trying to meet deadlines, do well at work and also have space for a social life and some physical activity.

You may feel like in order to keep up with this kind of lifestyle, you have to reach out for coffee or energy drinks to give you that much-needed boost so you can reach the end of your days without feeling like you’re about to pass out.

If you’re interested in reducing your caffeine consumption whilst still keeping up with your schedule full of energy, read on to discover some tips to ditch the caffeine but remain lively and ready to take on the day!

It’s all about your diet

Food is fuel, and you need to put the right kind of fuel into your body for it to run properly. If you want to feel satiated for longer whilst also maintaining high levels of energy avoid refined processed sugars and processed food in general. Take nutrient-dense foods that take longer to break down in your system and that won’t give you insulin spikes. The well-known sugar crash is what’s more likely to make you want to reach out for some coffee or an energy drink!

Get good sleep at night

Easier said than done but getting the right amount of quality sleep at night is crucial. Make it a point to keep good sleeping hygiene habits like not staring at blue light screens right before sleep or getting a lot of stimulation right before hitting the hay. The quality of sleep is also important, it’s no use if you’re waking up every few hours because your back hurts or the room is too noisy or the wrong temperature, so take time to prepare for bed and make sure you’ve created an environment that facilitates getting quality z’s.

If you miss your cups of coffee, try raw cacao instead

Sometimes it’s not so much the caffeine as it’s the habit of having a warm drink that you miss. If that’s the case, switch to having a hot cacao instead. Cacao has PEA (phenylethylamine) which is known to naturally increase the energy levels in people without needing to consume caffeine for the same effect. On top of this, there is truly nothing more enjoyable than a hot cup of cacao!

Take a brisk walk

If you’ve sat in front of your desk for hours and are starting to feel sleepy and drowsy, take a brisk walk in the fresh air for 10-20 minutes. The exercise will get your blood pumping back through your body, your heart rate will increase and you’ll feel more energized. Also, the fresh air is likely to wake you up and make you feel refreshed.

Take a power nap

Maybe a brisk walk isn’t going to cut it, so if you’re nearing the afternoon and you’re feeling that post-lunch drowsiness, find a quiet spot and take a quick 20-minute power nap. Power naps can rejuvenate you for the rest of the day as you get that much-needed rest without entering into a three-hour sleep cycle. It’s important you don’t overdo your power naps though, if you sleep for too long you may end up feeling even drowsier and sleepier than before.

Get them tunes out

Sometimes listening to your favorite, upbeat music can really help you crank up your energy levels. Music is known to do wonders with the human brain and one of those benefits is making your mood lift, as well as energizing you naturally.

Summary

If you feel like you need an extra bit of energy but don’t want to over-rely on the consumption of caffeine, be sure to try these tips and tricks and you’re guaranteed to see your energy levels rise while you also build healthier habits into your routine, it’s a win-win!


Kendra Beckley helps companies enter a new market and build long-term relationships with partners. She is also interested in writing articles on various topics at Next CourseworkShe is a business development manager and editor at Write my dissertation and Dissertation writing service.

Water Droplet

Guide On How To Be Hydrated: MOVE Your Water

Water requires movement to stay energized. Even inside our bodies, water needs to move to have its potent cleansing and healing effect.  How much we move has far more impact on our hydration than we previously thought. The human body is a hydraulic pump system and squeezing, twisting and contracting all deliver hydration more deeply into our tissues. Our spinal canal and joints are central to this hydraulic system, as is fascia, our sponge-like connective tissue found throughout our bodies, in fact, there’s miles of it in there.