Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
An Excerpt from Dr Mercola's website:
Arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis is one of the most unnecessary surgeries performed today, as it works no better than a placebo surgery.Proof of this is a double blind placebo controlled multi-center (including Harvard’s Mass General hospital) study published in one of the most well-respected medical journals on the planet, the New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM)1 over 10 years ago.Despite this monumental finding, some 510,000 people in the United States undergo arthroscopic knee surgery every year.2 And at a price of anywhere from $4,500 to $7,000 per procedure, that adds up to billions of dollars every year spent on this surgery.Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the primary reasons patients receive arthroscopic surgery. This is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones in your joint deteriorates, causing bone to rub against bone.Arthroscopic knee surgery is also commonly performed to repair a torn meniscus, the crescent-shaped fibrocartilaginous structure that acts like a cushion in your knee.Many might think that this problem, surely, would warrant surgery. But recent research3 shows that physical therapy can be just as good as surgery for a torn meniscus, adding support to the idea that when it comes to knee pain, whether caused by osteoarthritis or torn cartilage, surgery is one of the least effective treatments available...
Physical Therapy as Good as Surgery for Torn Cartilage and Arthritis
The featured study, also published in NEJM,4 claims to be one of the most rigorous studies yet comparing treatments for knee pain caused by either torn meniscus or arthritis. According to the Washington Post:5“Researchers at seven major universities and orthopedic surgery centers around the U.S. assigned 351 people with arthritis and meniscus tears to get either surgery or physical therapy. The therapy was nine sessions on average plus exercises to do at home, which experts say is key to success.After six months, both groups had similar rates of functional improvement. Pain scores also were similar.Thirty percent of patients assigned to physical therapy wound up having surgery before the six months was up, often because they felt therapy wasn’t helping them. Yet they ended up the same as those who got surgery right away, as well as the rest of the physical therapy group who stuck with it and avoided having an operation.”Another study6 published in 2007 also found that exercise was just as effective as surgery for people with a chronic pain in the front part of their knee, known aschronic patellofemoral syndrome (PFPS), which is also frequently treated with arthroscopic surgery.The study compared arthroscopy with exercise in 56 patients with PFPS. One group of participants was treated with knee arthroscopy and an eight-week home exercise program, while a second group received only the exercise program. At the end of nine months, patients in both groups experienced similar reductions in pain and improvements in knee mobility.A follow-up conducted two years later still found no differences in outcomes between the two groups.In an editorial about the featured study,7 Australian preventive medicine expert Rachelle Buchbinder of Monash University in Melbourne urges the medical community to change its practice and use physical therapy as the first line of treatment, reserving surgery for the minority who do not experience improvement from the therapy.“Currently, millions of people are being exposed to potential risks associated with a treatment that may or may not offer specific benefit, and the costs are substantial,” she writes. “These results should change practice. They should also lead to reflection on the need for levels of high-quality evidence of the efficacy and safety of surgical procedures similar to those currently expected for nonoperative therapy.”
Placebo Surgery Works as Well for Osteoarthritis as Arthroscopic Surgery
Buchbinder points out the importance of sham surgery to determine the true value of operative treatments. Unfortunately, many surgeons are reluctant to take on such research. Many doctors consider them unethical because patients could undergo risks with no benefits. But it has been done. The study I mentioned at the start of the article that was published in 2002,8 evaluated arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis. A total of 180 participants were randomly assigned to either have the real operation or sham placebo surgery in which surgeons simply made cuts in their knees.Those in the placebo group received a drug that put them to sleep. Unlike those getting the real operation, they did not have general anesthesia to avoid unwarranted health risks and complications. In the end, the real surgery turned out to be no better at all, compared to the sham procedure. According to the authors:“At no point did either of the intervention groups report less pain or better function than the placebo group. For example, mean scores on the Knee-Specific Pain Scale were similar in the placebo, lavage, and débridement groups... at one year [and] at two years... Furthermore, the 95 percent confidence intervals for the differences between the placebo group and the intervention groups exclude any clinically meaningful difference. In this controlled trial involving patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, the outcomes after arthroscopic lavage or arthroscopic débridement were no better than those after a placebo procedure.”
Natural Tips for Pain Relief and Cartilage LossCartilage loss in your knees, one of the hallmarks of osteoarthritis, is associated with low levels of vitamin D. So if you're struggling with joint pain due to osteoarthritis, get your vitamin D levels tested, then optimize them using appropriate sun exposure or a safe tanning bed. If neither of these options are available, supplementation with oral vitamin D3 along with vitamin K2 can be considered.Sun exposure is your best option though, because when your skin produces two types of sulfur in response to sun exposure: cholesterol sulfate, and vitamin D3 sulfate. Sulfur plays a vital role in the structure and biological activity of both proteins and enzymes. If you don't have sufficient amounts of sulfur in your body, this deficiency can cascade into a number of health problems, including impacting your joints and connective tissues.In addition to making sure you're getting high amounts of sulfur-rich foods in your diet, such as organic and/or grass-fed/pastured beef and poultry, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, recommends soaking your body in magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) baths to compensate and counteract sulfur deficiency. She uses about 1/4 cup in a tub of water, twice a week. It's particularly useful if you have joint problems or arthritis.Methylsulfonylmethane, commonly known by its acronym, MSM, is another alternative that may be helpful. MSM is an organic form of sulfur and a potent antioxidant, naturally found in many plants, and is available in supplement form. As for glucosamine and chondroitin, two animal products marketed as food supplements for the relief of joint pain, the results from studies evaluating these supplements have been mixed, and many do not appear to be getting any significant relief from either of them.
Pain Relieving SupplementsFor joint pain, I recommend avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and analgesics, like Tylenol, which are often recommended to osteoarthritis patients. Chronic use of these types of medications is associated with significant side effects such as kidney and/or liver damage. Safer, and very effective, options to help relieve joint pain include:
- Astaxanthin: An anti-inflammatory antioxidant that affects a wide range of inflammation mediators, but in a gentler, less concentrated manner and without the negative side effects associated with steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. And it works for a high percentage of people. In one study, more than 80 percent of arthritis sufferers improvedwith astaxanthin.
- Eggshell membrane: The eggshell membrane is the unique protective barrier between the egg white and the mineralized eggshell. The membrane contains elastin, a protein that supports cartilage health, and collagen, a fibrous protein that supports cartilage and connective tissue strength and elasticity.It also contains transforming growth factor-b, a protein that supports tissue rejuvenation, along with other amino acids and structural components that support the stability and flexibility of your joints by providing them with the building blocks needed to build cartilage.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA): Hyaluronic acid is a key component of your cartilage, responsible for moving nutrients into your cells and moving waste out. One of its most important biological functions is the retention of water… second only to providing nutrients and removing waste from cells that lack a direct blood supply, such as cartilage cells.Unfortunately, the process of normal aging reduces the amount of HA synthesized by your body. Oral hyaluronic acid supplementation may effectively help most people cushion their joints after just 2 to 4 months.
- Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this Indian herb is one treatment I've found to be particularly useful against arthritic inflammation and associated pain. With sustained use, boswellia may help maintain steady blood flow to your joints, supporting your joint tissues' ability to boost flexibility and strength.
- Turmeric / curcumin: A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that taking turmeric extracts each day for six weeks was just as effective as ibuprofen for relieving knee osteoarthritis pain. This is most likely related to the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin -- the pigment that gives the turmeric spice its yellow-orange color.
- Animal-based omega-3 fats: These are excellent for arthritis because omega-3s are well known to help reduce inflammation. Look for a high-quality, animal-based source such as krill oil.
See entire post at www.drmercola.com
Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Nineteen years ago the magazine Muscle Media 2000 put out a list called the Top Ten Best Foods for Body Builders. One food on the list I’d suggest you stay away from entirely due to its toxicity, and at least three foods I’ve suggested you avoid in my blog if your goal is body composition.
Muscle Media does get it right in some cases: Four foods on the list I would recommend for anyone interested in building muscle, getting lean, or achieving optimal athletic performance. Let’s review the list, consider the author’s reason for applauding each food, and see how nearly 20 years of research changes things.
#1: Egg Whites
Whole eggs are on my list of best foods for fat loss because, as the Muscle Media author wrote, they are “made up of pure protein—protein that’s considered nearly perfect because of its sublime blend of amino acids.” Eggs also contain a nice dose of choline, which protects the liver from accumulating fat. Consuming more choline elevates levels of the energizing neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which can also increase growth hormone.
Incorrectly feared due to their cholesterol content, recent research shows eggs don’t elevate serum cholesterol. The author of the Muscle Media article had issue with the “fat-laden, cholesterol-rich yolk,” and cautioned readers to avoid it. In fact, the body uses the cholesterol to produce testosterone and other androgenic hormones, which support body composition.
Take Away: Eat whole eggs a few days a week for an excellent protein source and extra choline. Also, the fats in the yolks lower the glycemic response of the eggs, allowing for better glucose and insulin management. Avoid relying solely on eggs for your protein—eat a wide variety of animal proteins for best health, muscle development, and optimal body composition.
#2: Sweet Potatoes/Yams
There is nothing wrong with sweet potatoes and yams in general. The typical sweet potato contains a small amount of protein and fat, and about 24 grams of relatively slow-digesting carbohydrates. Eating them baked or steamed is not a bad idea, but consider that one sweet potato contains about 150 calories, and if you add butter, oil, or other ingredients to it, that number goes up. Get a better calorie bang for your buck from animal protein. Then, replace sweet potatoes with green vegetables, colored peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, hearts of palm, spaghetti squash, and water chestnuts for a vegetable that is better for body composition.
Take Away: Eat sweet potatoes for a flavorful sweet treat, or a refuel day. Unless you are ripped and need to put some muscle mass, don’t make them a staple in your diet and be sure to avoid eating them with added sugar or other such ingredients that you see around the holidays like marshmallows.
I completely agree that broccoli and the related cruciferous vegetables are excellent body composition foods. They contain a compound that helps the body clear excess estrogen, and they provide a nice dose of fiber, a ton of antioxidants, and are very slowly digested.
The Muscle Media author likes broccoli for its cancer fighting properties and high nutritional value. He points out that the typical serving contains 155 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, roughly half the calcium of a cup of milk, and substantial quantities of folate, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, and beta carotene.
Take Away: Eat broccoli regularly—but not chronically at every meal!—and round out your cruciferous veggie intake with cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, arugula, and radishes for optimal body composition.
The French nickname for tuna is “la poubelle de la mer,” which means “garbage can of the sea.” All tuna has toxic levels of mercury and should be completely avoided for health and body composition. Tuna does contain omega-3 fats and a lot of protein, but the toxicity level sends it straight to the list of worst foods for body composition and health.
It’s amusing that tuna—a “worst” food makes the MM2K “best” list, whereas cold water fish (herring, mackerel, orange roughy, salmon, and catfish), which is my number one best foods for fat loss, makes the MM2K “worst” list of foods for body builders! This highlights the need for specific, correct, research-based nutritional information for optimal body composition and health.
Take Away: Avoid tuna completely, but include small cold water fish in your diet for a nice dose of omega-3 fats. Opt for salmon, mackerel, white fish, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies, and round out omega-3 intake by taking DHA-rich fish oil.
If you are serious about body composition, eliminating all grains, including oats, is a good choice for two reasons. First, although oats do not contain gluten, they are often contaminated by gluten, making them allergenic for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Even if you are completely fine eating gluten, oats themselves can be inflammatory for some people.
Second, they are a grain and they elevate insulin much more than any protein, nut, or lower glycemic vegetable. Better body composition and blood sugar results will come from avoiding ALL GRAINS.
Third, of all foods, according to Dr. William Davis, oatmeal is the top acidifying food after wheat. Increasing acid load takes a toll on the human body. From osteopenia to muscle atrophy, acid load has been associated as being one of the culprits.
Take Away: Simply, oats and oatmeal just cause too many sensitivity and blood sugar issues to be on any list of “best” foods for body composition. In fact, no grain would be on my top ten list, however, if you choose to eat carbs, choose instead the seed quinoa because it contains a better amino acid profile. Besides quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and has been shown to raise IGF-1 levels.
The Muscle Media author likes bananas because they are convenient, available year-round, and nutritious—all good reasons, but not good enough for a list of “best” foods for body builders. There are so many BETTER fruits for body composition such as the antioxidant-rich array of berries (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry), cherries, kiwis, and grapes. All of these fruits have been shown to blunt the insulin response of high-carb foods, and many of them have been called “anti-obesity” foods by food scientists.
In contrast, bananas have a moderately high fructose content (about 7 grams per banana), more calories, and higher glycemic index than berries and other “fat loss” fruits. Bananas have also been shown to increase serotonin, which makes it a terrible pre-workout food. Yet, many fitness/muscle building publications still put them in their pre-workout meals.
Take Away: If you love bananas, eat them occasionally post workout. Instead of relying on them as your “go-to” fat loss fruit, eat a wide variety of in-season fruits, with a focus on antioxidant-rich ones. The best time to take them is as a post-workout feed.
#7: Turkey Breast
The key when eating turkey, as the Muscle Media author points out, is that it needs to be high quality. Ground turkey may have organ meats, other meats, skin, and who knows what else in it. Plus, non-organic turkey will be pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty things that you need to avoid.
Take Away: Include organic turkey in your diet in moderation. Vary your protein source regularly, opting for cold-water small fish and organic, pastured or wild meat. Avoid all non-organic meat.
#8: Whole Wheat Pasta
“Contrary to popular belief, pasta is not fattening. Fat Italian opera singers got that way because they heap mountains of cheese and fat-willed sauces on their pasta,” writes the Muscle Media author inanely. The idiocy of this statement aside, whole wheat pasta is a processed food that is made from a grain.
It is energy dense, elevates blood sugar, spikes insulin, and should be avoided if body composition is your goal. What very few people know is that pasta has a fake low glycemic index, when measured at the two hour mark. Pasta wrecks havoc on insulin levels 6.5 hours after its ingestion.
Take Away: There is no nutritional benefit from pasta that you couldn’t get from quality protein, “smart” fats, and produce. Avoid pasta and other grains if your goal is to get lean and build muscle.
Really, carrots? It’s fine to eat carrots occasionally, but they wouldn’t make my ten “best” list of foods for anything other than to turn you orange. The Muscle Media author likes carrots because they are sweet and have a lot of vitamin A and C, however, there are many more nutritious veggies than the carrot. See that list provided under the sweet potato entry for better veggie choices for body builders.
Take Away: Eating carrots in a salad or on occasion is fine, but don’t rely on them as your go to vegetable. Also, opt for whole carrots rather than diced, shaved, or juiced because this processing speeds digestion and raises the glycemic response to eating them. Raw carrots are relatively low-glycemic—the University of Sydney estimates they have a glycemic index of about 20, but cooking them raises that number to about 40.
#10: Legumes (lentils, peas, and beans)
Legumes are a great protein and fiber source, and best body composition results come from eating a wide variety daily. The Muscle Media author correctly points about that they make up the “absolute best source of plant protein” but he doesn’t like peanuts and chick peas due to their higher fat content.
Chick peas provide a minor amount of “good” fat, and supplementing the diet with chick peas has been shown to improve cholesterol level and glycemic control in one study. In another study of a population of Australians, eating chick peas daily was shown to blunt hunger. So, there’s nothing wrong with chick peas, and peanuts contain antioxidants such as resveratrol. Plus, studies show regularly eating peanuts along with other nuts can promote health and body composition.
Take Away: Eat a wide variety of beans, peas, and lentils regularly for a great protein source and nice dose of fiber. Opt for whole versions rather than processed or mashed for the best body composition results. It’s not that organic peanut butter or hummus are bad for you, they will simply require less energy to digest, and may contain added oils or other ingredients. Obviously, avoid eating any one type of legume daily because this can lead to food intolerances.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Garlic is natureís gift to man. This natural ingredient has so many health benefits for the human body. Herbalists and naturopaths consider garlic as a miracle ingredient. With so many studies done on garlic, it was continuously proven to help in curing a variety of health problems.
As the saying goes, Garlic can keep sickness at bay. Because of the components of garlic, the body can fight off sickness and illness. What does garlic contain? It has water-soluble nutrients like enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and natural sugar. It also has oil soluble nutrients including sulphur compounds like alliin and allicin. Garlic is also known for its natural antibiotic properties. Although the sulphur compounds of garlic emit a pungent smell, there is no denying its medicinal uses. When you cook for the family, always include garlic in your dishes.
The Health Benefits Of Garlic
* Garlic is an antiseptic due to its antibacterial properties. It can help cure wounds quickly.
* Garlic has antibiotic properties which helps the body fight off infections. Aside from that, garlic can help fight inflammation.
* When you have colds or coughs, just put raw garlic on your food and you will get better faster. Taking garlic supplements can help too but eating it raw is the best.
* A study in China shows that eating garlic regularly helps in preventing cancer.
* Taking fresh or cooked garlic will help lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular problems. You can take 500 mg garlic capsules twice a day too.
* Garlic increases high-density lipoproteins in the body.
* Garlic helps in reducing bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.
* Garlic helps keep the arteries and the heart healthy.
* Garlic helps in thinning the blood, which reduces the risk of blood clotting. It also improves blood circulation in the body.
* Garlic helps boost the immune system to fight off diseases.
* For people with respiratory problems, garlic can prevent and relieve chronic bronchitis and catarrh.
* Garlic acts as an expectorant for cough and nasal decongestants for colds.
* In the digestive system, garlic cleans the stomach and kills internal parasites. It cures flatulence and is a great internal antiseptic.
You probably did not realize how healthy garlic could be. Some just include it in food for design, flavor and scent. Now that you know the health benefits of garlic, it is a must that you include garlic in all the dishes you cook. Having garlic breath is definitely worth it. It is very cheap, yet the benefits are immense.
Get Strong! Stay Strong!
Friday, September 28, 2012
Here is a great exercise that works shoulder stability, core AND really gets your heart pumpimg, which equals more calories burned. I'm a big fan of getting more bang for your buck and this exercise does just that! All you really need are some weights, a flight of stairs and a desire to look and feel better.
This can always be started holding the weights at shoulder level and just walking straight ahead. To challenge your core moe try doing this only holding one weight overhead. Or, how about one weight overhead and the opp carried down at your side (farmer carry).
Get Strong! Stay Strong!