Monday, May 26, 2014

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"Before computers and smart phones we'd explain to our kids what sex is all about.
Now with these high-tech gadgets the kids tell their parents, "What do you want to know, Mom? (Dad)?"

Exercise - Some Facts & Myths

In 1968 Kenneth Cooper, MD wrote a book called Aerobics and it has been updated since then.  Dr. Cooper's book was very popular and had a lot of good information that could be used in an exercise program.  He has been credited with popularising aerobic exercising and some of the examples he referred to in his book are jogging, running, sprinting, using treadmill, step machines, elliptical trainers, and the list goes on and on.  Unfortunately, exercise as taught by trainers, in gym, at high schools, and many other places, are using the word "aerobics", incorrectly.  All members of the animal kingdom live aerobically, meaning they need oxygen to live.  For a human to exercise anaerobically (without oxygen) is nonsense.  An animal without oxygen is a corpse  or on the way to becoming one.  Note:  ALL EXERCISE IS AEROBIC and to refer to weight lifting , hill climbing, isometrics, yoga or any movement at all as anaerobic is not realistic and should be recognized accordingly.

Perhaps the concept of aerobics/anaerobic developed by how energy is produced.  The body produces energy in a complex system called the tricarboxylic acid cycle or Kreb's Cycle.  The cycle is a series of reactions that occur in specialize organelles called mitochrondia. The energy component, ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate), is produced in this cycle along with some other products such as lactic acid, oxygen, amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose.  The initial ATP and the lactic acid are produced anaerobically but the total body does not function without oxygen. Try to think of the human energy systems as continuous, just like a circle and the result of the energy system is, yep, you guessed it, the production of ENERGY!

So to sum it all up lets call running, jugging, sprinting, elliptical training and other machines design-

ed to spreed up the heart, "cardio training" and not aerobics.  Weight or strength training, yoga, Pilate's, are all aerobic.  To sum up, everything a human does is aerobic.  To those that don't believe this statement try doing any form of exercise with duct tape covering your nose and mouth!

Monday, May 19, 2014

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Sleep Apnea

One of the abnormalities of healthy sleeping is sleep apnea.  This occurs when the upper airway is intermittently narrowed during sleep, causing breathing to be difficult or completely blocked.  These can be brief interruptions in breathing during sleep, or they be of varying length, throughout the sleeping period.  It can also be called obstructive sleep apnea, the  most common form, and if it continues on without treatment, it can raise the risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.

A recent study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently published a report in the open-access Journal of PLoS Medicine. The study consisted of more than 6,000 men and women aged 40 years and older who had no sleep apnea or had mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea.  After an average of eight years, the participants who had severe sleep apnea at enrollment were one and one-half times more likely to die from any cause, regardless of age, gender, race, or weight, or whether they were a current or former smokers or had other medical ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.  Other findings linked untreated sleep apnea with overweight and obesity, and diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea contributes to excessive daytime sleepiness, which lowers the performance in the workplace and at school, and increases the risk of injuries and death from drowsy driving and other accidents.

It has been estimated that more than 12 million adult Americans are believed to have sleep apnea, and most are not diagnosed or treated.  Treatment is aimed at restoring normal breathing and includes lifestyle changes, surgery, mouthpieces, and breathing devices, such as continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP.  Treatment routines can help to restore sleep-related quality of life and performance.

Another study published in the endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) states that obstructive sleep apnea may raise the risk of osteoporosis, particularly among women or older individuals.  One of the study's anchors, Kai-Jen Tien, MD, of Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan, Taiwan states, "when sleep apnea periodically deprives the body of oxygen, it can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis.  The progressive condition can lead to bone fractures, increased medical costs, reduced quality of life and even death."  "As more and more people are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea worldwide, both patients and health care providers need to be aware of the heightened risk of developing other conditions," Tien said, "We need to pay more attention to the relationship  between sleep apnea and bone health so we can identify strategies to prevent osteoporosis."

Monday, May 12, 2014

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“All men are created Equal. Some just have more Splenda.” 

Sugar & Spice Makes Nothing Nice

My dad was a dentist and I followed him into dentistry a number of years after he began his practice. We both had the knowledge that sugar was bad for teeth as it is a major contributor to dental caries (tooth decay).  Subsequently, medical research has found that sugar is bad news for one's health.  Much has been written about the adverse effects of excessive sugar in the diet.  Fortunatly, the addition of fluoride to drinking water has reduced caries substantially and most of our palatable water is fluoridated nationwide.  Although we have sugar substitutes there are so many forms of sugar that it is a common additive in too many dishes and drinks.  Consider that we have table sugar, cane sugar, glucose, maltose, fructose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, etc., etc.  

Worldwide we consume about 500 extra calories a day from sugar.  If you follow a diet that includes 500 extra calories a day then this amounts to gaining a pound a week.  Let's look at how sugar affects your health:

  1. A high sugar diet makes us fat if you don't burn it off.  Exercise is great for the body but it's easier to drop fat by dieting.  The amount of calories that you get from exercising on a treadmill may amount to 300 calories but if you eat a few cookies or some cake, going through 300 calories can be consumed in minutes!
  2. Sugar can accelerate the aging process.  There is a relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells.  Sugar can effect the aging of  your brain as found in a 2009 study.
  3. There is evidence that excess sugar consumption is linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health in a study done in 2012.  Tests on rats showed similar findings as shown in a study done in 2009.
  4. Sugar hides in many of the foods we eat daily.  These include fat-free dressings, beverages, tomato sauce, tonic water, marinates, crackers, cake and even bread.
  5. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body .An article in Nature magazine came up with the idea that that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings that we see on alcohol.  There is evidence that fructose and glucose can cause liver damage.
  6. Excess sugar may shorten your life.  In a study done in 2013, an estimated 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption.  Just in the United States the count is 25,000 deaths in 2010.  The researcher's state that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk as found in diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  7. Sugar "addiction" may be genetic.  A study of 579 individuals showed that those who had genetic changes in the hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation.  Ghrelin signals the brain that you're hungary.  It seems to be that the genetic components that affect the release of ghrelin may have a lot to do with whether or not you seek to enhance a neurological reward system through your addiction to sugar.
  8. Sugar can be harmful to cardiac health.  The American Heart Association states that there is strong evidence that sugar can affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk of heart failure.  The study pinpointed a  molecule from sugar (G6P) was responsible for the changes in the muscle protein of the heart.
  9. Sugar may be involved in cancer production and could effect cancer survival.  In the metabolism of carbohydrates, which includes sugar, insulin helps to control the amount of sugar in the blood.  If one eats a lot of sugar, the insulin can become resistant over time and not function to monitor a healthy level of blood glucose.  There are studies that found negative associations between high sugar intake and survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon cancer patients.
  10. It's important to note that simple sugars coming from fruit are less concerning given their high amounts of disease-fighting compounds and fiber.

a study 

Monday, May 5, 2014

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"The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story your keep telling yourself as to why  you can't achieve it".
- Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Your Diet - The Simple Approach

Let's assume you don't want to count calories or follow any strict diet plan.  You may be eating in a restaurant or be invited to a friends home.  Let's also follow the magic KISS formula (Keep It Simple,  Stupid).  Follow a few simple rules even dummies can remember!
  1. If it doesn't come from the earth or have a mother, don't eat it.  Note: If  you're a vegetarian, this may not be for you.
  2. If it's stuffed with, or has a lot of sugar in it,  pass it by.  Note:  Sugar includes table sugar, maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, or fructose.  Sugar is an irritant to your body and has no nutritional value.  
  3. If it's highly processed, highly salted or has a lot of spice added, pass it by.  This is true of most packaged soups, and processed meat items such as baloney, bacon, and similar items at your favorite market.
  4. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams for men each day.  Along with fiber consume about 8 glasses of liquids each day.  Please, pass on soft drinks, beer, and alcohol as they all have extra calories with little or no nutritional value.  Fiber and liquids work together to aid regular bowel movements, without straining!
  5. Try to add fruits and vegetables either with meals or as snacks.
  6. Avoid stuffing at meal time by keeping your portions smaller than usual and by adding simple snacks half way between your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  7. Eat protein foods with each meal as they tend to rebuild your body and reduce hunger feelings.
  8. Check food labels and stay away from foods with a lot of calories, trans-fats and saturated fats.
  9. Don't be misled by energy drinks.  The only way you can get energy is be eating a good, nutritional diet.  Energy drinks are really mislabeled.  They are stimulants!
If you can follow all of the above, have a PO Day twice each month.  PO = pig out!  Whoopee, eat as you please but don't overdo your PO days.

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