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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Woman Swallows Tapeworm To Lose Weight

Tells Doctor She Bought It On The Internet

If you think juice cleanses are extreme, check out this misguided diet.
An Iowa woman recently told her doctor that she bought a tapeworm on the Internet and ingested it in an attempt to lose weight. The doctor was apparently so stumped by the patient's bad decision that he had to call the state health department for guidance.
The agency told the doctor to have his patient de-wormed by way of some special medication that kills the parasite. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director at the Iowa Department of Public Health, recounted the incident in an e-mail to public-health workers Thursday.
“Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths,” Quinlisk wrote, according to the Des Moines Register. “Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods; consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”

Tapeworms are parasites that can afflict humans who eat undercooked meat. "One tapeworm can't absorb enough food and nutrients to make a big difference in weight... the parasite can cause anemia and malnutrition," USA Today noted.
According to i09, other symptoms of tapeworm infestation include having pieces of them stick out of your mouth after a cesarean section, followed by a "burning sensation" after you pull the four-foot long sucker out.
Someone pass the lemon juice.

Which sports run the most?

Stats from football, basketball, soccer and tennis show who burns the most shoe leather

Analysis of professional sports shows that some athletes run as much as 9.5 miles during a game while others move for just 11 minutes total.

Even off the mound, most baseball players wouldn't break a half-mile of running per game, and for pitchers like CC Sabathia it's far less.

Whether they're pounding pavement, squeaking down a court or sprinting across the turf, you'd expect most professional athletes to do quite a bit of running over the course of a day's work. But that's not always the case.

Gizmodo looked at data from STATS — a company that uses a motion-tracking technology called SportVu to collect detailed statistics on players from a number of sports — to see which athletes really run the most. Here's what they found.

Receivers like Victor Cruz cover the most ground in football, but it's still just over a mile.

Baseball: Of all the stats tracked in baseball, average running distance isn't one of them. Some New Yorkers walk a greater distance to work each day than the average player runs during a game, which is likely less than half a mile even for multiple home run hitters and fielders. The bases are only 90 feet apart after all, Gizmodo notes.

Football: SportVu found that cornerbacks and wide receivers, who tend to run the most, run about 1.25 miles per game, so it's safe to assume most players run less. An analysis by the Wall Street Journal found the average American football player only moves, let alone runs, for 11 minutes per game.
Tennis players like Ana Ivanovic of Serbia may run several miles during a five-set match.
MICHAEL FIALA/REUTERSTennis players like Ana Ivanovic of Serbia may run several miles during a five-set match.
Basketball: NBA players run nowhere near the oft-cited five miles per game. According to STATS, the player who ran the farthest per game in 2012 was Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls, at 2.72 miles on average.
New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry (l.) competes for the ball with Toronto FC's Julian de Guzman. Soccer players can sprint around 7 miles per game, depending on which position they play.JESSICA RINALDI/REUTERSNew York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry (l.) competes for the ball with Toronto FC's Julian de Guzman. Soccer players can sprint around 7 miles per game, depending on which position they play.

Tennis: Don't let the relatively small court fool you. Depending on their style of game, players may run 3 to 5 miles during a five-set match, and in some cases even more. That's a lot of back-and-forth.

And the winner is...

Soccer: Long games, a massive field and a constantly moving ball add up to serious distance for soccer players. STATS puts the average at 7 miles per game depending on position, and as much as 9.5 miles for some players (not including goalies, of course).

How Far Do You Run During a Soccer Game?

As a young player, I once asked how far a soccer player ran during a game.
This guy from "the old country" said 10 miles. So I divided 10 miles by 90 minutes. To cover 10 miles would require a constant running pace of almost seven miles per hour and I knew intuitively that 10 miles couldn't be correct.
Knowing how, and how far, a player runs is important in designing training programs and determining how far a player runs is very difficult.
First you have to videotape a game with a camera that doesn't follow the ball. Then play it back while you focus on one player, recording every movement they make while estimating the pace and distance they run. Then rewind and do it all over again for the next player. Labor and time intensive is an understatement for these projects.
The first time-motion study over a full season was done on Everton FC (Liverpool, England) in the mid 1970s and the estimated distance covered was just under 8,800 meters per game.
Movement speeds were walking, jogging, cruising ('running with manifest purpose and effort'), sprinting and backing.
About 2/3 of the distance was covered at the low intensities of walking and jogging and around 800 meters sprinting in numerous short 10-40 meter bursts.
A player was in control of the ball for an average of 200 meters for a whopping total of 90 seconds (that means you spend 88.5 minutes trying to get or keep someone from getting the ball).
Recording every change of speed and direction showed that there was some change in activity every 5-6 seconds. Subsequent work and maturation of the game has pushed this total distance up to around 10,000 meters for a men's professional European game with the South American game being contested at a little less total running distance.
Midfielders run the most, central strikers and defenders the least. Don't brag too much about the running volume--10,000 meters (six miles) in 90 minutes is four miles per hour, something a good power walker can do.
The physiological intensity of the game can be estimated one of those heart monitors you see joggers and cyclists wearing. The average heart rate for the full 90 minutes ranges between 150-170 beats per minute with very high values while sprinting and more moderate values when less involved in the game.
I remember charting one women's national team member who averaged 185-190 beats per minute for the whole game.
One interesting observation that doesn't take an "A" license to figure out: the most physically intense part of the game is while in control of the ball.
Your pulse rate goes up and lactic acid production (that heavy feeling in your legs you perceive after sprinting) increases. This is a primary reason why coaches sets up lots of small sided games that force players to be 'on the ball' far more often than during 11 v 11.
Generally, the women's game is a little less running and at a slower pace (about 75 percent of the women's game is at a walk/jog), but when conditions demand it, the women can cover just as much distance as the men.
And, realize that women have a smaller capacity, so when they cover the same distance as men playing the same game on the same field for the same time as men, they are working harder.
Now that we know some details about the game, the focus of training begins to become clearer. The other pieces in the training puzzle are game tactics.

In Two Hours of Soccer Practice How Many Calories Do You Lose?

When it comes to burning calories, soccer is one of the best activities you can choose, according to a study published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" in 2011. The quick-burst nature of the sport makes it an excellent interval-training workout. Soccer practice will mean more downtime than during a game, but you’ll still find plenty of opportunities for burning calories. Of course, how many calories you burn is also dependent on how much you weigh: Doing the same activity side by side, heavier people will burn more calories than people with a slighter build.

Skills-Oriented Practice

A skills-oriented practice will have frequent breaks. You may be working on your dribbling skills, shots on goal, or practicing plays or strategy. In a practice like this, there will be plenty of starts and stops where you’ll be listening to your coach. Still, the calorie burn can be pretty impressive: A person who weighs around 130 pounds will burn about 820 calories over a two-hour practice. A 150-pound athlete will use closer to 1,000 calories. For someone who weighs 180 pounds, the calorie burn is about 1,140, and a 205-pounder can expect to work off about 1,300 calories.

Conditioning Practice

When you’re building your stamina in practice, you can work harder than you might during an actual match. Someone who weighs 130 pounds will burn around 1,180 calories; 150 pounds equals about 1,400 calorie burn; a 180-pounder will burn 1,640 calories; and a 205-pound player will use up 1,860 calories.

Getting More Out of Practice

If you want to get a better calorie burn during a skills-oriented session, try bouncing on your toes or hopping slightly from foot to foot when your coach is talking to keep your heart rate up. And look for more opportunities to run and sprint. When you’re practicing shots on goal, for instance, sprint after your shots to collect the ball, or jog halfway down the field and back before you take your next shot.

Don’t Cancel Out Your Calorie Burn

When you’re not on the field, take care to make smart nutritional choices by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein like chicken or turkey. Avoid high-calorie treats like candy bars. Just one king-size candy bar could add back all the calories you burned during practice.

About the Author

John Hastings has written and edited health, fitness and science stories for magazines, websites and iPad publications. He has held senior editorial positions at "O, The Oprah Magazine," "Reader’s Digest" and "Health." He has also contributed to magazines such as "Men’s Journal" and "Bon Appetit."

Eat like a pro footballer

Maximise your potential on the pitch with MH's football nutrition plan

Messi eater

The hours spent honing set pieces, stamina and skills on the training ground are rendered pointless if you turn up for kick-off lacking energy due to a poor dietary regime. "You should pay as much attention to your nutrition as you do to every other aspect of your game," says sports nutritionist Gavin Allinson. "It's no hardship to do what the elite athletes do." You might not compare favourably to Lionel Messi on the pitch, but matching him meal for meal is a far simpler feat...

Seven days before the game

Carb-loading correctly for match-day is a far more complex process than gorging on pasta with a bit of tuna thrown in the night before: perfectly optimising your body for 90 minutes of football is very much a 24/7 pursuit. Matt Lovell, who works with England international footballers alongside his duties as chief nutritionist for the England rugby team, recommends depleting your carbohydrate stores in the early part of the week and gradually increasing your carbs as match day approaches. Shirking carbs at the start of the week forces your muscles to increase their carb-absorbing GLUT-4 receptors as the body attempts to maximise the limited blood-sugar available. This increased sensitivity is then taken advantage of by piling on the carbs closer to Saturday. "This 'supercompensation' method can increase your maximal amount of stored glycogen by up to 50%," explains Lovell.

Two or three days before the game

Hit the soups. "These will help with your hydration," says Allinson, who particularly recommends tom yum: "It's got lots of chilli, turmeric and ginger, which all help to thin your blood – and thinner blood goes round your body quicker, delivering more oxygen to your cells." What's more, a study in the journal Gut found curcumin, a principle component of turmeric, significantly curbs liver cell damage and scarring. Making those post-match pints slightly more guilt-free.

The day before the game

The evening meal before a game is the most crucial of all. Big match nerves can make the prospect of consuming anything at all on the day nauseating – but provided you eat well the night before and exert very little energy pre-game, turning up primed to perform is still possible. "You want more carbs than usual, but not a bucketload," advises Lovell.

Some fish or chicken along with sweet potato or a jacket potato, alongside some green veg, is a good bet. Have nothing heavy (steak is out). Go Popeye and add spinach, which is packed with vitamins and carotenoid antioxidants. Buy it from a supermarket and, according to a study in theJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the exposure to fluorescent light will have significantly boosted its vitamin C content – vital for aiding iron absorption and thus oxygen transport to your muscles.

Six hours to go

Getting a good night's rest is just as important as eating right. So if you've an early kick off, favour kip over kippers. "It's better to have the extra sleep rather than wake up earlier just to eat," says Allinson.

Once out of bed, eat as soon as you can. "Avoid wheat and wheat-based products because they can have the tendency to cause bloating," advises Lovell. You should also steer away from foods high in fibre as these can sit in the stomach and take a long time to digest. Try stirring some protein into goat's milk porridge, or combine an omelette with some fruit salad for a good balance of carbs, protein and fat.

Four hours to go

You may be en-route to the game at this stage, so it's important to have something portable. A personal favourite of Lovell's is quinoa with chicken and some roasted veg. Prep it the night before and pop it in a container. The last thing you want is to be stuck at a service station morosely eyeing the pasties. A jacket potato with some tuna or salmon is another good option. "Trial different meals and find out what works best for you," advises Allinson. Just make sure you focus on starchy carbs and keep fat intake to a minimum.

90 minutes to go

Your final nutritional hit should be delivered 75-90 minutes before kick off. "Tropical fruits – mangos, papaya, pineapples, bananas – are all good at this stage because they've got modest amounts of fibre and don't give as much of a sugar rush as other fruits," says Allinson. Too much of the sweet stuff can lead to lethargy due to blood sugar fluctuations, so avoid sports drinks until immediately before the game, too.

If nerves get the better of you, a liquid meal may be best. Lovell recommends blending 25g of oats with 500ml of skimmed goats milk, one or two scoops of protein powder, half a banana, a few nuts and a teaspoon of honey. Not as tasty as pint of the black stuff, for sure. But undoubtedly more effective.

Words by MH's Ed Vanstone

Playing football better for your health 'than going for a run or lifting weights'

By Kate Devlin

The intensity and range of movements involved in the game, including kicks, twists, turns and sprints, provide better overall exercise, according to a series of studies.
And five-a-side is more beneficial than a full-scale game, as it ensures that all players get a vigorous workout.
Prof Peter Krustrup, from Copenhagen University, who reviewed the research and was part of the team which carried out some of the studies, said that the sustained, stop-start nature of the game helped to build long-term fitness and burn fat.
It can help cut the risk of heart disease, by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and was also a good way to lose weight, according to the studies by 50 researchers in seven countries.
It is better than lifting weights and as good, if not better, than running, because of its benefits for the heart, Prof Krustrup added.
And he claimed that the results of the research suggest that football could be recommended as part of treatment for health problems such as high-blood pressure.
"Soccer affects numerous cardiovascular risk factors such as oxygen uptake, heart function, blood pressure, cholesterol and fat mass far more than strength training and just as much if not more than running,” he said.
“It is well-known that physical inactivity is a substantial risk factor in developing (heart) diseases in itself, but it is new that a pleasurable team sport like soccer is effective in treating high blood pressure.”
One of the studies asked 47 men with high blood pressure to play football or to run for an hour twice a week for three months.
Those playing the game saw their blood pressure fall by an average of twice as much as those in the running group.
Both groups lost similar amounts of weight but cholesterol levels fell among the footballers, an effect not seen in the running group.
Other studies found that football increased bone density twice as much as running.
The research is due to be published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
The group now plan to test whether football is better for the health than other ball games, such as basketball or volleyball.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Myth Of Slow Weight Loss

    by Matt Fitzgerald

    A few weeks ago I saw my brother-in-law for the first time in a few months. I barely recognized him. He had lost more than 30 pounds since the last time we’d hung out. He looked healthier, fitter, and even younger. It was a remarkable transformation completed in a short period of time.
    I’ve known many people who have managed to lose large amounts of weight, and in every single case that I can recall, the weight loss has been rapid. In my experience, nobody ever loses 30 pounds by dropping a pound a week for 30 weeks. Yes, in cases where someone loses really huge amounts of weight—100 pounds and more—the process lasts a while, but the rate of weight loss is still fairly rapid throughout it.
    Despite the apparent fact that almost everyone who succeeds in losing a large amount of weight does so quickly, mainstream diet experts routinely caution people against trying to lose weight quickly. As the freelance writer Morgan Vermeil wrote in an article published on, “most health experts agree that fast weight loss is bad weight loss.”
    Of course, there is such a thing as trying to lose weight too quickly. Unrealistic expectations and unhealthily drastic measures have been known to bring about unfortunate results in overzealous dieters. But research has proven that on a statistical level, those who lose weight quickly lose more total weight and maintain larger amounts of weight loss than those who lose weight slowly as the doctors advise us to do.
    In a 2010 study, for example, researchers at the University of Florida tracked weight loss in a group of 262 obese women who were enrolled in a supervised weight-loss program. Although all of these women were given the same guidance, they lost weight at varied rates. Some averaged more than 1.5 pounds of weight loss per week. The researchers classified these subjects as “fast” losers. Other women averaged less than 0.5 lb of weight loss per week. They were classified as “slow” losers. Those who lost weight at rates between 0.5 and 1.5 lbs/week constituted a “moderate” group.
    Short-term weigh-loss was measured in these three groups throughout the six months of the supervised program and over a one-year follow-up period. On average, the subjects in the fast group lost 29.7 lbs during the six-month treatment program, compared to 19.6 lbs in the moderate group and 11.2 lbs in the slow group. One year later, members of all three groups had regained roughly 4.5 lbs. Therefore long-term weight loss was much greater among the fast losers than the slow losers: approximately 25 lbs versus just 7 lbs.
    It’s important to point out that, regardless of the initial rate of weight loss, most dieters gain back all of the weight they lose, and often more. But among the small minority of dieters who manage to maintain substantial weight loss over a long period of time, most lost weight initially at a rapid rate. Why?
    I believe that two related factors explain the pattern. First, faster weight loss is often associated with bigger lifestyle improvements. It doesn’t always take much to stimulate slow, short-term weight loss. For example, removing soft drinks from one’s diet may enable one to lose 1 lb every other week for a few weeks. But a couch potato who eats three fast-food meals a day and then begins to exercise daily and eat only healthy, home-cooked meals is likely to lose weight quickly for a while. Again, it is possible to lose weight quickly in unhealthy and shortsighted ways. However, major improvements in lifestyle can also trigger rapid weight loss and I believe they often do. My brother in law, for example, achieved his rapid weight loss by switching to a mostly vegetarian diet and sharply reducing his intake of high-calorie beverages.
    The second factor is seriousness of commitment to losing weight. I believe that slow weight loss often reflects a halfhearted commitment to losing weight, whereas rapid weight loss is reflective of a determination to achieve the goal that has been set. Research has shown that this psychological factor is more important in determining the results of efforts to lose weight than the details of one’s diet. Serious dieters are likely to succeed regardless of which diet they’re on, while unserious dieters are likely to fail regardless of there diet. Likewise, different people may get disparate results from the same weight-loss program because some pursue it seriously while others follow it halfheartedly. I think we see this in the results of the University of Florida study I described above. All 262 women were on the same program, but some of them lost a lot of weight and others only a little, almost certainly because of individual differences in the level of commitment to the program.
    Here’s the bottom line: If you’re looking to lose weight, I’m not telling you to lose weight quickly. I’m telling you to make big improvements in your diet and exercise habits instead of marginal improvements and to really commit yourself to them instead of going into the process halfheartedly. And I’m telling you not to second-guess yourself when you see these measures resulting in rapid weight loss.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

If you’re overweight, you may have metabolic syndrome

A staggering 64 million people, or more than one in three adults, in the United States has a medical condition called metabolic syndrome that puts them on the fast track to developing type-2 diabetes and significantly increases their risk of heart disease. Here’s how you can tell if you have it or are at risk of getting it, and more importantly what you can do about it.
Large waistline is an indication of Metabolic SyndromeMetabolic syndrome, also referred to as Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance Syndrome, describes a collection of metabolic abnormalities that includes excess belly fat, high blood sugar, high blood fat, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high blood pressure. There is often a host of other abnormalities such as excess liver fat, and higher than normal levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, and vascular dysfunction. To have an official diagnosis you don’t have to have all these problems, just three.

Sugary carbs are biggest culpritWhy has the prevalence of metabolic syndrome shot up in recent decades? One distinct possibility is that we are consuming too many sugary beverages and total carbohydrates relative to our ability to metabolize them efficiently. Survey data indicate Americans have increased carbohydrate intake to the tune of about 200 extra kilocalories per day, much of this in the form of sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Insulin resistance equals carbohydrate intoleranceIn the body, excess carbohydrate calories cause insulin to be released which stops the fat burning process. Cells in our muscles and liver (and other tissues) also down-regulate their normal response to insulin causing a condition called insulin resistance. This causes blood sugar levels to increase and other problems associated with metabolic syndrome. In this way, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome can be more accurately described as carbohydrate intolerance. If you have this condition, you tend to divert a greater percentage of the carbohydrate you eat into fat. Over time, this causes collateral damage that ends up as metabolic syndrome.
When viewed in this context, it becomes clear that the most effective way to prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome is to restrict those sugars and starches that are causing the problem.
The best approachSimilar to other food intolerances like lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance, the most logical approach to treat metabolic syndrome (aka, carbohydrate intolerance) is to limit the offending substance. In this case, restrict dietary carbohydrate to a level your body can manage. Based on genetics, people vary widely in their level of carbohydrate intolerance, and thus they also vary in the level of carbohydrate restriction required to manage the signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Tolerance to carbs also tends to decrease as you age.
My clinical study revealed the best diet to reduce riskWhen my laboratory group put a group of men and women with metabolic syndrome on a 3 month low calorie diet low in fat (25% fat) or low in carbohydrate (12% carbohydrate), the results were striking. The subjects assigned to the low carbohydrate diet showed greater improvement in all the markers of metabolic syndrome including greater fat loss, lower triglyceride levels, higher HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, lower insulin levels, and lower blood pressure levels. We even observed lower inflammatory markers and improved vascular function.
Change your dietThere are no hard set rules here, but most people with metabolic syndrome will experience significant benefit from limiting their carbohydrate to less than 50g per day. You may be able to tolerate more carbohydrates, but add them back carefully and monitor your signs and symptoms of carbohydrate tolerance. Consume 75-125g of protein a day depending on your weight. Replace some of the calories from carbs with calories from healthy fats like flax oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. My lab also did another study that showed if you eat a low carbohydrate diet, the saturated fat found in red meat and other animal products didn’t accumulate in the body; it actually decreased saturated fat in the blood, a highly positive health effect. 
Exercise can improve results dramaticallyRegular exercise can also significantly improve all the features of metabolic syndrome, especially because it promotes insulin sensitivity. This includes both endurance exercise and resistance training. Did you know that just a single bout of exercise increases insulin sensitivity and the effect can last up to 2-3 days. This means you tolerate carbohydrates better after performing physical activity.
Supplements help target specific problem areasReducing sugars and starches, and engaging in regular physical activity is the best approach to decreasing your waistline and improving the other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. However there are other complementary strategies that may target specific problems.
Triglycerides – try to lower themThe omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fatty fish are good at reducing blood triglyceride levels on average 25-30%. They may also improve insulin sensitivity and help reduce inflammation. The minimum effective dose is 500 mg/day (EPA + DHA) and you can increase it up to as much as 1-2 grams/day.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine, red yeast rice has been shown to decrease blood triglycerides. In one study, subjects given 1,200 mg/day reduced the triglyceride response to a fat-rich meal by nearly one half.
Other ingredients to consider include pantethine (a form of vitamin B-5) and many others shown below that are good for HDL cholesterol.
HDL (“good”) Cholesterol – try to raise itDecreasing carb intake and increasing fat intake reliably raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, but certain fats raise HDL more. Coconut oil, which is rich in medium chain fatty acids, consistently increases HDL cholesterol.
Other ingredients to consider to help with healthy cholesterol levels include niacin, tocotrienols, citrus polymethoxylated flavones (Sytrinol), plant sterols, coQ10, green tea extract and vitamin D among many others.
Blood Sugar – try to lower it Including more soluble fiber can minimize the impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Glucomannan is a soluble fiber from the konjac plant. A number of placebo-controlled studies have shown that small amounts of glucomannan (1 to 4 grams/day) enhance weight loss and decrease the fasting and 2-hour glucose levels by approximately one quarter.
Other fibers like psyllium and oat bran also help slow the normal rise in blood sugar in response to eating carbohydrates. Adding omega-3 rich flaxseed oil or other healthy fats to a protein shake also dampens the rise in blood sugar that also occurs even when eating just protein.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is often low in the diet. Several studies have shown that chromium can normalize blood sugar levels, improve blood sugar utilization and decrease insulin requirements in individuals with carbohydrate intolerance and insulin resistance. In one recent study, blood sugar responses to a carbohydrate meal of white bread were measured with and without a single dose of chromium (400 micrograms). The addition of chromium resulted in a 23% reduction in blood sugar after the meal.
Alpha lipoic acid, curcumin (turmeric), cinnamon, fenugreek, gymnema and other supplements can also help support healthy blood sugar levels.
Blood Pressure – try to lower it Peptides from whey have been shown to lessen vasoconstriction (narrowing) by inhibiting an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). In one study, supplementation with whey (20 grams/day) for 6 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg compared to control. In a more recent study, overweight subjects who supplemented with 60 grams/day of whey for 12 weeks showed a decreased systolic (5 mmHg) and diastolic (2 mmHg) blood pressure, as well as an improved augmentation index, a measure of the stiffness of blood vessels.
Flowers and berries of the hawthorn plant contain several bioactive compounds and have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions. The most well documented effect of hawthorn is to cause vasodilation and increased blood flow. A recent randomized study showed that 1,200 mg/day hawthorn extract for 16 weeks significantly reduced blood pressure in patients with diabetes compared to placebo.
CoQ10, fish oil, green tea extract, green coffee extract, vitamin D, soy protein, pycnogenol, calcium, magnesium, garlic, quercetin and numerous other supplements may also have an impact on healthy blood pressure.
Body Fat – try to lower it Since a higher body fat level tends to trigger the complications associated with metabolic syndrome, supplements that can help you lose body fat may also be beneficial. They can include low-carb protein powders, green tea extract, CLA, thermogenic ingredients like bitter orange (synephrine) or caffeine, carb inhibitors like white kidney bean extract, most fibers and many other supplements.
Reversing metabolic syndrome is in your control If you are one of the growing numbers of people with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that you can do something about it. Not only can you slow it down, you can completely reverse it and keep it away for good. Paying close attention to reducing the amount of sugar and starch has a profound benefit on all the metabolic problems. This should give you more energy so you actually have the desire to exercise, which further helps improve the condition. There are also a number of supplements that can support your diet and exercise plan.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Muscles Need More than Protein

Muscles Need More than Protein

The mythology surrounding protein and muscle building could fill a book, even though the science is fairly straightforward. Your muscles are made of protein (except the four-fifths that's water), so you have to eat protein to make them grow. You also have to eat protein to keep them from shrinking, which is why men trying to lose fat without sacrificing muscle do best when they build their diets around high-quality, muscle-friendly protein from lean meat, fish, eggs, poultry, and low-fat dairy products.

But if you're young, lean, and trying to gain solid weight, a lot of extra protein may not help as much as you think. Protein has qualities that help weight loss and may curtail weight gain. First, protein is metabolically expensive for your body to process. Your body burns about 20 percent of each protein calorie just digesting it. (It burns about 8 percent of carbohydrate and 2 percent of fat during digestion.)

Second, protein creates a high level of satiety, both during meals and between them. In other words, it makes you feel fuller faster and keeps you feeling full longer between meals. (This effect does wear off as you grow accustomed to a higher-protein diet, so it may not have an impact on long-term weight gain or weight loss.)

Finally, if you eat more protein than your body needs, it will learn to use the protein for energy. You want your body to burn carbohydrates and fat for energy, obviously, so a body that's relying on protein for energy is like a car that's using pieces of its engine for fuel.

The best weight-gain strategy is to focus on calories first, protein second. You should make sure you're eating at least 2 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of muscle mass. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds, so a 160-pound guy weighs about 73 kg and should take in a minimum of 146 g protein a day. But that's just 584 calories of protein, the amount you'd find in 15 ounces of chicken, two salmon fillets, or a 28-ounce steak. A protein-powder shake can amp up your totals, as well. If you need to eat more than 3,000 calories a day to gain weight, you'd better have some sweet potatoes with those steaks.

Friday, 20 June 2014

7 Weird Reasons You're Gaining Weight

By Bari Nan Cohen

Weight gain you can't control

The frustration of seeing extra pounds on the scale—or of a too-tight waistband that you knowused to fit—is understandable. But did you know that anything from a hormonal imbalance to vitamin deficiencies to the prescription meds you take can hold clues to what's making you gain weight? "A lot of people make what we think are lifestyle choices but are actually our bodies reacting to factors we can't control," says Robert J. Hedaya, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center. "Whether it's hormonal, a medication side effect, or something else, too often we put the onus on the individual, and there are factors that sometimes justify a doctor's help."
Here, seven health issues that could be standing between you and your ideal weight—and how to fix them.

You're depressed

Many anti-depressant medications cause weight gain—so if you're depressed and taking pills for it, expect to see a bump in weight between 5 and 15 pounds, with continued gradual accumulation over the years, says Dr. Hedaya, who is also the founder of the National Center for Whole Psychiatry in Chevy Chase, MD.
If you're not taking pills, there’s evidence that feelings of depression can correlate to weight gain. One 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who feel sad and lonely gain weight more quickly than those who report fewer depression-related symptoms. "They may be eating more high-fat, high-calorie comfort foods," says Belinda Needham, PhD, assistant professor in the department of sociology at UAB and the lead author of the study. "Or they may have [cut back their] physical activity."
Fix it: "If I see patients who are taking anti-depressants and that could be the culprit of their weight gain, I may wean them slowly off of the drug," says Dominique Fradin-Read, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor at the Loma Linda School of Medicine in California. "I may then put them on Wellbutrin instead, which actually helps with weight loss." If your meds are not to blame, seek out some workout buddies or a support group. "Attending meetings, like Weight Watchers, or working out with a group of friends is a great way to increase social support," Dr. Needham says, "which can help depression."

You're taking the wrong Rx

There's a long list of medications that can cause weight gain: If you're taking birth control pills, excess hormones for hormone therapy, steroids, beta-blockers for heart disease and blood pressure, anti-seizure meds, breast cancer medications like Tamoxifen, some treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, and even some migraine and heartburn medications, you may notice pounds creeping on.
"When I see patients who are concerned about weight gain, I start looking at their medications," says Steven D. Wittlin, MD. clinical director of the endocrine-metabolism division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY. "That's a biggie. Some may affect appetite; some may affect metabolism." Others may simply make you feel better and thus regain your lost appetite.
Fix it: If you suspect your medication is affecting your waistline, your doctor may be able to find an alternative treatment that won't have that particular side effect.

Your gut is slow

Digestive issues, including slow bowel movements, may also account for excess pounds. "Ideally, you eat, and then, an hour or so later, you have a bowel movement," says Dr. Hedaya. "But once or twice a day is still in the healthy range." If you're not so regular, dehydration, medications, low fiber, or even a lack of good flora in your gut could be to blame.
Fix it: If constipation is your only symptom, then trying probiotics can help your digestive tract work properly. Staying hydrated is key, along with a diet chock-full of fiber-rich foods. But you can also try drinking a fiber powder, like Metamucil, mixed with water. "It may even grab fat globules in your intestinal tract as it scrubs out waste," says Dr. Hedaya. If you're still having trouble, check with your doctor to rule out a range of disorders, including hypothyroidism or a neurological issue.

Your body's missing certain nutrients

Being low in vitamin D, magnesium, or iron can compromise your immune system, sap your energy levels, or alter your metabolism in ways that make it harder to take healthy-lifestyle steps. "You may compensate for low energy with caffeine, sweets, and simple carbs," says Dr. Hedaya, "Or find that you feel too run down or weak to exercise."
Fix it: While you can try to boost your iron levels by eating red meat and spinach and increase magnesium by adding Brazil nuts or almonds to your diet, it's nearly impossible to consume enough milk or get enough sunlight to compensate for low vitamin D. "It's important to know that it could take awhile to find your right dose of vitamin D," says Dr. Hedaya. "If you take too much, you can get kidney stones. You need to have your blood tested every three months, so your doctor can make adjustments to the dose for you." Adding an iron supplement is a little less tricky—but it's still wise to let your doctor rule out hypothyroidism or other conditions that might cause insulin resistance, and thus weight gain, before you start taking supplements.

You're getting older

It's the one condition that's unavoidable. "Often, I hear patients tell me they think their metabolism is slowing down," says Dr. Fradin-Read. "This is real—we don't burn as many calories at 40 or 50 as we used to burn at 20. So we need more exercise—and less food—to keep metabolism going. Some studies show that exercise might be even more important than the diet for long-term weight maintenance."
Fix it: "Remember that all calories are not equal when it comes to weight," says Dr. Fradin-Read. "Eating lean protein will cause your body to burn calories more efficiently. On the other hand, carbs are something your body tends to burn more slowly and even store in your body more readily." Choosing low-fat proteins and reducing carbs are good ways to help avoid unnecessary pounds. 

You have plantar fasciitis

"Many musculoskeletal conditions, including plantar fasciitis, but also osteoarthritis and knee or hip pain, can result in unintentional weight gain," says Donald Bohay, MD, cochairman of the public education committee for the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. "Plantar fasciitis certainly can force you to cut back on your activity enough to cause weight gain."
Fix it: Modify your exercise program to swap biking or swimming in place of weight-bearing exercise, says Dr. Bohay. Seek out a physical therapist who can design an appropriate program for your specific needs—ask your doctor or check out the American Physical Therapy Association to find a qualified therapist in your area.

You have Cushing's Syndrome

Weight gain accompanied by high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and changes in your skin tone and quality, including purple or silvery stretch marks on your abdomen and ruddy cheeks, could be a sign that your body isn't processing nutrients the way it should, due to a cortisol-producing tumor on one of your adrenal glands. The syndrome affects only about 15 in every million adults annually, so proceed with caution before demanding a battery of tests. "Cushing's Syndrome is not terribly common," says Dr. Wittlin, "but one of the telltale signs is that your fat distribution is more in the midsection of your body, leaving your arms and legs looking more slender."
Fix it: If you suspect you are gaining weight that you can't attribute to your eating habits, medications, or lack of exercise, a few tests—including a blood test and urinalysis, to get an accurate check of your body's cortisol levels, will give your doctor the first clues to this condition. If the levels are deemed excessively high, then your doctor will order further tests, like a CT scan of your pituitary and adrenal glands, to determine if such a tumor exists. If the tumor is confirmed, doctors will likely perform surgery to remove the tumor (and possibly the affected gland), followed by a course of steroids to help regulate the remaining gland.

The Adipocyte

From a mere fat store to the primary member of appetite regulation

The traditional view of the adipocyte was that of a fat storage cell.  A cell responsible for storing excess fats and then making them available for use as energy upon demand.  The realisation however that the adipocyte can secrete signalling messengers, called adipokines, and act as an endocrine cell brought the study of obesity out of the shrink’s office and into the scientist’s laboratory. 

There are two different types of adipose tissue, white and brown.  White adipose tissue (WAT) is the fat storage tissue and brown adipose tissue (BAT) produces heat. BAT is commonly called ‘baby fat’ as it is present in babies but converts to WAT in adulthood.  This conversion is performed by mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), which is activated by the diet, in the mitochondria. Mice that are genetically made to express UCP1 in their WAT have been found to become obesity resistant.   This fact has sparked interest in a possible treatment for obesity, by identifying what causes the UCP1 to stop working and so convert BAT to WAT, and then finding a way to stop that so that excess energy is released as heat rather than stored in WAT resulting in obesity (Cinti 2006).  

Fat cells were first considered to be able to sense energy demands and signal to decrease food intake in the 1950’s. However it was not until Coleman in 1973, using parabiosis, provided evidence that a circulating factor existed that signalled information about the body's energy requirements.  This idea was not supported at the time but again became an exciting prospect when Siiteri, (1987) examined the role of obesity in cancers of the reproductive tract and found that adipocytes secreted the hormoneoestrogen which is implicated in breast and endometrial cancers. Oestrogen is produced by the aromatase enzyme which is present in many tissues including adipose. The production of oestrgen has been found to be accelerated in people that are obese as more adipose tissue means more oestrogens and so a higher incidence of cancers in the reproductive tract in obese individuals. Another exciting prospect which supported the adipocyte as a regulator of energy stores came whenadipsin, serine protease, was also discovered to be secreted by adipocytes (Cook et al, 1985, Flier et al, 1987) and has since been found to be deficient in some animal models of obesity.
Figure 1: Examples of some of the molecules that are secreted from adipocytes
Adipocyte and examples of the adipokines it can secrete

Adipokines – The elusive link between obesity and diabetes?
Obesity brings with it associated complications including cardiovascular problems, some cancers and type 2 diabetes mellitus. As cases of obesity are increasing in adults, so are cases of diabetes but perhaps more alarmingly is the increase in obesity related diabetes in children. The reason for the strong relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is still largely unknown and so there is currently a lot of research into how obesity can lead to T2DM.

In 2001, an article in the Washington Post read, ‘Hormone may be key to diabetes’ (Washington Post, Jan 18th, 2001).  This miracle hormone was resistin, a molecule secreted from adipocytes of white adipose tissue.  This molecule had been found to be involved in the emergence of T2DM.  Resistin blood serum levels were found to be significantly increased in cases of obesity and it was found to interfere with the actions of insulin and with glucose tolerance, causing insulin resistance in mice.  This was also supported by research showing that deliberately induced diabetes, caused by provision of a high fat diet, caused obesity and significantly elevated resistin levels in mice.  These effects could be subsequently reversed by administration of a resistin antibody (Steppan et al, 2001).  This discovery sparked excitement among scientists as resistin appeared to be a candidate for the missing link between obesity and T2DM. However studies in humans provided disappointing results, showing no significant differences between blood serum resistin levels in lean and obese people and no differences between serum resistin levels in healthy and diabetic people (Lee et al, 2003, Heilbronn et al, 2004).  These conclusions imply that resistin does not play a role in obesity related diabetes and it does not appear to be governed by adiposity.  What the function of resistin is in the human physiological system remains to be found but  identification of its downstream signalling pathways and the second messenger systems it activates will provide a clue to this.  The disappointing differences observed between humans and mice may be due to differences in energy metabolism and in genetic differences between the species with the mouse resistin gene not identical to the human gene, indeed only showing 59% homology (Lee et al, 2003).

Another adipokine implicated in the obesity-diabetes saga is the newly discovered molecule visfatin.  This adipokine is secreted by visceral fat and has been found to have glucose lowering effects similar to that caused by insulin. Visfatin and insulin stimulate muscle and adipose cells to take up glucose and restrain glucose release from hepatocytes (Fukuhara et al, 2005, Hug & Lodish, 2005).  Whilst showing the same affects, visfatin has different properties to insulin in that its levels are constant regardless of food intake whereas insulin levels change depending on the feeding state.  Visfatin also has significantly lower intracellular levels compared to insulin but interestingly it acts on the insulin receptor but not competitively.  This may mean that visfatin is a mimetic of insulin but its levels are low enough so that it does not interfere with the actions of insulin.  Research is continuing in this adipokine as a potential therapy for the treatment of T2DM.

So at last, fat is no longer considered just a lowly fat store, the ugly culprit who is blamed mercilessly when the clothes you wore last summer are annoyingly tight in the wrong places, but instead a sexy, dynamic cell that tries its best to maintain the body's energy homeostasis. Many other molecules have been identified that are secreted by adipocytes, including those not involved in energy homeostasis eg. the cytokines
By far the most exciting discovery concerning adipokines occurred in 1994 when adipocytes were discovered to secrete leptin, a signalling molecule considered to be satiety signal.

The criteria for classifying a satiety signal are (Beglinger & Degen, 2006):
  • It must reduce the size of a meal
  • This must then be reversed upon application of a receptor antagonist or if the signal is removed
  • The signal must not result from illness
  • Secretion must be induced by eating and ingesting.

Key References
Flier J et al. 1987. Severly Imparied Adipsin Expression in Genetic and Acquired Obesity. Science. 237. pp405-408 - Realisation that the fat cell is more than just a fat storage molecule
Steppan et al. 2001. The Hormone Resisten Links Obesity to Diabetes. Nature. 409. pp307-312 - First discovered resistin as a link between obesity and diabetes.
Fukuhara et al. 2005. Visfatin: a protein secreted by visceral fat that mimics the effects of insulin. Science. 307. pp426-430 - Discovery of another protein secreted from fat that may provide the link between obesity and diabetes