Monday, January 24, 2011

A Sad Day for the Fitness World - Jack LaLanne has died.

I got to meet Jack LaLanne about 10 years ago. His energy and magnetism bordered on religious fervor.

"Well it is. It is a religion with me," he told What Is Enlightenment, a magazine dedicated to awareness, in 1999. "It's a way of life. A religion is a way of life, isn't it?"

"Billy Graham was for the hereafter. I'm for the here and now," he told The Times when he was almost 92.

During his talk he sat in a chair and then popped himself into a perfect "L" like a 86 years old! His handshake was bone-crushing and his voice boomed across the auditorium.

"The crusade is never off my mind — the exercise I do, the food I eat, the thought I think — all this and how I can help make my profession better-respected. To me, this one thing — physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America."

Look at America today and you will see that Jack LaLanne had it right. PAY ATTENTION AMERICA!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fish Oil: Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is now accepted as the root or driver of most, if not all chronic disease. Stress, genetic predisposition, and exposure to toxins (like secondhand tobacco smoke) can all contribute to such chronic inflammation, but dietary choices and lack of exercise are the most important determining factors.

The Pro-Inflammatory Diet

Most people eat a diet that is “pro-inflammatory.” Breads, baked goods, sugar, candy, boxed cereals, cornstarch, fast foods, fried foods, grains, grain flour, margarine, meat from grain fed cows, meat from grain fed chicken, rice, ice cream, frozen yogurt, jams/jellies, pizza, corn products, peanut butter, and soda all cause inflammation in our bodies. These foods slow the healing process in our bodies and cause unnecessary pain. 

Inflammation plays a role not only in pain and injury, but also in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Doesn't it seem futile to eat fats that ramp up inflammation, only to take drugs to combat the effects of our diet -- and then have to take other drugs to combat the short-term and long-term effects and diseases those anti-inflammatory drugs cause? 

Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio

Humans are supposed to consume a balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, we consume a diet of as much as 20:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Anything above 4:1 is thought to be pro-inflammatory. This excess causes the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. You need to know that correcting these imbalances is not something a doctor can do for you. Only you can reduce your consumption of Omega 6 and increase Omega 3’s, and this requires a disciplined approach to diet and supplementation. Excess omega 6 fatty acids come from the following sources:
  1. Grain/corn fed land animals. Beef is the most obvious, but do not forget about chicken. Also, remember, eggs from grain/corn fed chickens are no good as well.
  2. Oils like soybean, peanut, corn, sunflower, safflower, and conttonseed oils. This includes most packaged and processed foods
  3. Read your labels, e.g. potato chips! These oils have Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios that range from 70:1 to over 100:1.
  4. Cereals, Grains, grain flours, peanuts, and seeds have ratios of 20:1 or greater. Soy has a ratio of 7:1.
  5. Farm raised tilapia and catfish.
What should we eat and why should we eat it?

Meat, chicken, and eggs from grass fed animals (lean meat), wild game, most fish, vegetables, fruit, and seeds such as chia, hemp, and flax. “Maintaining a proper balance between the various families of dietary fats may be one of the most important preventative measures a person can take to reduce the likelihood of developing one of the chronic diseases of modern civilization, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, and autoimmune disease.”

How effective are Omega 3 fatty acids at removing inflammation?

The researchers in a University of Pittsburgh study published in 2005 using an Omega 3 fatty acid supplement for chronic pain said, “their findings suggest that this could be the answer to the adverse effects seen with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors, which have been associated with potentially catastrophic adverse effects.”

After 75 days of taking high doses of omega-3s, 59% had stopped taking prescription drugs fro their pain. “88% said they were pleased enough with the outcomes that they planned to continue using the fish oils.” “No significant adverse effects were reported.” 

Toxic Fat

In his book, Toxic Fat, Barry Sears states, “Classic inflammation hurts; silent inflammation slowly kills.” This toxic fat comes from increased consumption of processed food and increased Omega 6 fatty acids. “The underlying cause of chronic disease comes from increased production of a natural fatty acid called arachidonic acid (AA), which can be incredibly toxic at high concentrations. This is the toxic fat that is key to not only understanding our obesity epidemic but also providing the linkage between obesity and chronic disease.”

Take a look at your blood work from your most recent physical examination. Look for two items: your HDL level and your triglyceride level. If the triglyceride /HDL ratio is greater than 4, you probably have Toxic Fat Syndrome because it means you have insulin resistance.

Why do you need a good fish oil supplement?

A good fish oil supplement can help you get both ratios (the TG/HDL and the Omega 6 to Omega 3) back on track. After trying dozens of fish oil supplements over the years, I have found one I take, my wife takes and my son takes: Liquid OM-3. This has 2250 mg of DHA and EPA per teaspoon. The recommended daily dose is ½ teaspoon (1125 mg) per day. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bromelain: Inflammation Relief from Pineapple

Search for natural anti-inflammatoryBromelain is an all natural extract (enzyme) that is taken from the stem and fruit of the pineapple. Pineapple has a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the native peoples of South America and Central America used to treat indigestion and inflammation.

Properties of Bromelain
  1. Natural anti-inflammatory. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties similar to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen.
  2. Alleviate post-surgical pain and muscle strains and pains.. Bromelain helps to speed the healing of wounds and bruises, reduces swelling and healing time, and decreases pain following soft-tissue injury.
  3. Relieves arthritis pain. One study showed Bromelain was as effective as some commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  4. Aids in digestion. Bromelain may help relieve stomach upset or heartburn, may help control diarrhea caused by bacteria, and may be a novel therapy for inflammatory bowel disease.
  5. Relieves sinus congestion. bromelain has been shown to suppress cough, ease congestion, reduce nasal mucus associated with sinusitis, and relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever. The German Commission E approved bromelain for the treatment of sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma.
  6. Infection. Bromelain can kill some viruses and bacteria and may be effective as a treatment for bronchitis and urinary tract infections.
Sources of Bromelain

The bromelain you get from eating fresh pineapple can help with digestion, but will probably not been in a high enough amount to reduce inflammation significantly. That is where a supplement comes in handy. As with all supplements, the quality of the supplement is of utmost importance. I use Douglas Lab’s Bromelain-5000. I have tried many Bromelain supplements and this is by far the most effective. It works wonders for me for relieving post-exercise muscle soreness and speeds recovery. I take 2 capsules post-workout and feel no soreness the next day!

A note on reading the label: The units of measure for Bromelain are different than other supplements. You will see either GDU (gelatin dissolving units) or MCU (milk clotting units). Douglas Lab’s Bromelain-5000 has 5000 mcu per capsule.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Blues: Colds, Coughs, and the Flu

What's my secret formula for avoiding the winter blues:
Del-Immune and Olbas Oil

A half-century of groundbreaking probiotic-based research from Russia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine yielded the science that can help your immune system defend your body from foreign invaders, stress, aging and fatigue.

Elin Ritchie, MD says,
"I began offering Del-Immune V® to the patients in my practice that presented with cold or symptoms and with any type of illness that they would catch from another person. I have now used Del-Immune V® for four seasons, and have seen a positive response in 75+ percent of patients who are treated with the product.

Del-Immune V® has been a very effective treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, colds, bronchitis and . Many of my patients return to see me and they routinely give rave reviews, stating that they no longer miss days from work or school because they are using Del-immune V on a regular basis.

Many of my patients were able to avoid having antibiotics prescribed because they used Del-Immune V® in the early stages of their illness. As an example, I have been amazed by the effect of Del-Immune V® on chronic coughs. I recently saw a patient who started Del-immune V. Previously I had treated her with inhalers and antibiotics but with no response.

Chronic cough is difficult to treat. Many of the common therapies are only effective about 40 to 50 percent of the time. Adding Del-immune V to any other cough therapy is effective and safe."

Olbas Oil
Olbas Oil originated in Basel, Switzerland over 100 years ago, and continues to be a European and worldwide favorite. The natural essential oils in Olbas are extracted from six medicinal herbs, which have been the basis of healing in cultures around the world for centuries.
Olbas Oil is a completely natural essential oil formula that delivers invigorating and soothing sensations to the nasal and bronchial areas. 

Try this:
Boil water in a pot and then bring down to just a steam. Tap the Olbas bottle over the water to release 1 - 2 drops. Breathe in the vapors through your nose and you will almost instantly feel your congestion dissipate and your breathing improve. If you have lung congestion, take some breaths through your mouth. Do this twice per day and combined with the Del-Immune you will feel great.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The First Rule of Crashes

Great Post on Road Bike Rider Review...
"It may be the first thing I heard on one of my first group rides: It's not a question of if you will crash, but when.
I now call it The First Rule of Crashes.
And it's a maxim that I've seen realized numerous times over the years in my own neighborhood group, the Domestiques. Thankfully, only one of those crashes involved a car, and we've all lived to ride another day.
What all of the Domestiques' crashes illustrate is the banality of roadie wrecks -- they occur for just about every possible reason, and most often are not the fault of the rider.
I witnessed one friend hit an invisible sheen of thin mud left behind by a water-and-sewer crew on a 90-degree curve. His tires simply lost all traction and flew up from the road, leaving him to go down and skid along on his side -- including, barely, the side of his face.
Another buddy hit the far lip of an inadequately filled pothole and sprawled onto the sidewalk adjacent to the road.
Yet another friend -- a powerhouse of a guy -- snapped off a pedal at the axle mid-stroke and slid into the opposite lane of the two-lane road. Thank goodness there was no traffic at the time.
And then there was me. 
I was finishing a lap on the dedicated bike path that circles Stone Mountain. Near the bottom of a short downhill, at about 26 mph (42kmh), a 10-year-old boy walking a dog darted off the sidewalk directly into my path. I managed to avoid both the boy and the dog, but the leash snagged my head tube, and I hit the pavement all along my right side.
I ended up with a deep thigh bruise, a scraped-up knee, elbow and top of the shoulder, and a separated shoulder. Only when I finally sat up and took off my helmet did I realize that my head had also hit the ground -- hard enough to split the helmet completely through at the temple. I remain amazed that I did not even have a headache from that impact.
In all the crashes just described, helmets did their job -- whether it was dispersing the force of a full-on impact with the pavement or keeping (most of) a face an inch off the road as a head skidded along. Without the helmet, each crash would have been far worse.
Crashes happen. Wearing a helmet helps. But you already knew that. Read on for confirmation, and continue to . . . 
Enjoy your ride!
John Marsh
Editor & Publisher"

My Comment: I have had many a patient bring in their bike helmet or motorcycle helmet in post-crash. Many of them would not have walked in had they not worn their helmet. Wear your helmet!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Removal Safety Tips

No, shoveling snow is not yet an Olympic sport, but it has put many top athletes down and out for the count.

Here are my safety tips:
  1. Don't shovel if you have had serious spinal, lung, or cardiovascular problems, or are out of shape.
  2. Drink 8 oz of water or Gatorade type drink before you shovel. It may be cold, but you will get dehydrated after shoveling if you are not careful.
  3. Warm up first! Do this warm-up before you shovel - it is all of 6 minutes!
  4. Dress warmly in layers, and wear an extra-long sweater to protect the lower back.
  5. You may want to wear a support or weight belt.
  6. Always stand erect and bend from the hips and knees, not the waist (mini squat). Handle small to moderate loads of snow. You may want to try one of the bent handle shovels like the one below.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet - You Are What You Eat

When we hear the term, "anti-inflammatory," many Americans thing of drugs, pills, and injections. What is a pro-inflammatory substance? What might we unwittingly be doing that's compromising our health? Can we reduce inflammation, naturally? Here are some facts and tips, courtesy of the Unified Virginia Chiropractic Association.

Excessive inflammation can cause a number of problems, including (1) pain, (2) disuse and related mis-patterning that can predispose to future injury, and (3) risk of chronic inflammation. Normal people do not enjoy pain for pain's sake, so we commonly seek out ways to reduce pain. Cold therapy (cryotherapy) is a natural choice; yet many seek out pain-killing drugs such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, Cox-II inhibitors, and steroids. The risks of commonly-used anti-inflammatory and pain medications are considerable.2 Doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are trained in natural methods to address inflammation while balancing inflammation's inherent value to healing; and DCs will help tissues recover, fast, using hands-on methods designed to maximize short-term and long-term function. But what if your own dietary choices are working against you?

Just like anti-inflammatory drugs combat the inflammatory cycle, pro-inflammatory substances in our diet can predispose our bodies towards inflammation.3 Historically, our (human) diet favored a relatively even balance of fats (fatty acids) called Omega 3s and Omega 6s. We can tolerate a 4:1 Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio, but the modern diet tends towards 10:1 or even far worse. These Omega-3 fatty acids are very easily converted to something called prostaglandin E2, which is one of the very same substances certain anti-inflammatory drugs tries to combat, i.e., prostaglanding E2 is pro-(promoting) inflammation. Inflammation plays a role not only in pain and injury, but also in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Doesn't it seem futile to eat fats that ramp up inflammation, only to take drugs to combat the effects of our diet -- and then have to take other drugs to combat the short-term and long-term effects and diseases those anti-inflammatory drugs cause?

The tables below will help you and your family to make healthy, informed choices. Also, remember to limit raw sugar and high glycemic-index foods4 that can ramp up inflammation and disease all on their own. A diet must be healthy and balanced, not consisting exclusively of fats (regardless of how healthy they might otherwise be), protein, carbohydrate, or any other substance. Please consider what foods you choose for yourself (and your family) at the dinner table, at the restaurant, and at the grocery store. Your body will thank you... and reward you, amply.

Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids ("Bad Fat"):
• All grains
• Cereals
• Flour products
• Most processed packaged foods
• Soybean oil, peanut oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil
• Grain- and corn-fed domestic meat and eggs from unfit and/or obese animals

Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids ("Healthy Fat"):
• Most fruits and vegetables
• Kale
• Swiss Chard
• Chicory
• Collard Greens
• Most oily fish
• Omega-3 eggs
• Meat, chicken, and eggs from grass-fed, fit animals

1 Conservative Management of Sports Injuries. Hyde, Thomas E. DC; Gengenbach, Marianne S., DC, Editors. Williams & Wilkins, 1997. Pg. 701.
2 See Celebrate Wellness!, Vol I, number 1.
3 See resources and references at Special thanks to Dr. David Seaman for his contributions to the field of anti-inflammatory nutrition.
4 High glycemic index: White bread, Pasta, Rice, Low-fiber cereals, Baked goods. Low glycemic index foods: Fruits, Vegetables, Whole and minimally processed grains, Legumes. SO: