Part I of our health gut series was an introduction into the importance of striving to keep our gut healthy. As we read, gut health is the foundation to our immune system. If we don't take care of our gut health, we disrupt our microdome, which results in damage to the intestinal barrier needed to keep foreign materials out of our blood stream. This leakage of material into our blood stream is also known as Leaky Gut. Lets go back a little bit to address the 4 top struggles that contribute to an unhealthy gut/intestinal/digestive system.
Stress changes our hormonal balance within our bodies. With stress we find increased bowel motility and defecation while at the same time reducing gastric emptying time. Stress induced changes in the bowel motility can result in altered gut pH and nutrient absorption causing bacterial overgrowth which leads to vulnerability to pathogenic organisms. Additionally, mucosal barrier disruptions equating into an over stimulation of the immune system.
The GI tract is exposed to 30-50 TONS of food in the average lifetime. Too many highly processed foods that are devoid of nutrients needed for health are taking over our food industry. Our diets are consisting of too many refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated fatty acids, food preservatives and food additives. Chronic poor eating places a burden on the digestive tract leading to reduced bowel transit time, sluggish detoxification, and increased inflammation.
Drugs (over the counter or prescribed) alter the gut microbia composition. Relying on chemicals comes at a risk of damaging the gut and can be counter intuitive since these drugs have the potential to create future disease development or simply be causing the chronic issues that you are trying to treat. Common examples of medications that do a number on your gut health are:
4) Food Allergies, Sensitivities, & Intolerances
Any of the above can be characterized by any negative reaction to food.
Food Sensitivities are non allergic immune responses to a component(s) of a food, an example is Gluten. The gliadin protein in gluten triggers an immune response causing inflammation along the inner lining of the small intestinal wall.
Food Intolerance is the difficulty digesting certain foods due to a lack of proper enzymes. There is no immune response with a food intolerance, and symptoms are typically limited to diarrhea and/or vomiting. Commonly seen with eggs, milk, and gluten.
Food Allergies affect 3% of our population in the IgE category. There are two types of allergic reactions from the body due to a food allergy, IgE and IgG/IgA.
A little about our IgA, IgE, and IgG immune responses. IgA, IgG and IgE refer to immunoglobulins, or “antibodies.” These antibodies are part of our immune system, and are produced in response to things we come in contact with on a daily basis. Our bodies make antibodies to foreign substances like bacteria and viral cells, but can also respond to foods, dust, dander, and pollen. Antibodies help the body mount an immune system response (“fight”) against foreign invaders. IgA and IgG reactions are known as delayed response reactions, that include food sensitivities, where IgE responses are immediate and are considered a true food allergy. IgA and IgG reactions may not happen immediately, but can take hours to days to show up in your skin or intestines, and cause symptoms related to inflammation like headaches, fatigue, brain fog, or joint pain. People with food intolerance may experience digestive upset like nausea, constipation, or diarrhea, or skin itching and rashes including conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
IgE immediate hypersensitivity reactions are characterized by hives and throat swelling that accompany anaphylactic reactions some people experience when exposed to certain foods. Other symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, a runny nose, vomiting, swelling of the lips or tongue, tearing or redness of the eyes, or even a weak pulse and loss of consciousness. Common foods that trigger IgE reactions are peanuts, shellfish, egg, dairy products, soy, tree nuts, wheat and fish.
So how does your gut health contribute to an autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune disease is on the rise in a major way. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 23.5 million Americans suffer from a form of an autoimmune disease, but some think that number is actually closer to 50 million. There are at least 80 to 100 different diagnosable autoimmune diseases worldwide, and more are being studied and diagnosed every single day.
We turn back to the relationship of the gut and overall health. Also the gut and our immune system, or lack thereof.
Let's re-familiarize ourselves with the word below...
an imbalance between the types of organism present in a person's natural microflora, especially that of the gut, thought to contribute to a range of conditions of ill health.
Over time, having dysbiosis in your gut microbiome will eventually lead to a leaky gut. If your gut is leaky, food particles, toxins and infections can get through your intestinal lining and into your bloodstream where your immune system detects them as foreign invaders and goes on high alert, attacking them and creating inflammation. One main way inflammation occurs is that the food particles (especially gluten and casein, a protein found in dairy), toxins and infections look very similar to our own body’s cells and our immune system gets confused and accidentally attacks our own tissue, which leads to autoimmunity. This process is called molecular mimicry.
Molecular mimicry is defined as the theoretical possibility that sequence similarities between foreign and self-peptides are sufficient to result in the cross-activation of autoreactive T or B cells by pathogen-derived peptides. (*This is google worthy on a snowy day if you are more interested in autoimmune origins.)
It’s a cycle that works like this:
altered gut microbiome or dysbiosis => leaky gut => food, toxins and infections into bloodstream => immune system attacks body due to molecular mimicry => autoimmune disease.
In March of 2018, Yale University did a study on the gut bacteria in humans and mice. They discovered that certain bacteria in the gut (E. gallinarum) is able to trans-locate outside of the gut into the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. This bacteria attacked tissues outside of the gut and initiated the production of auto-antibodies and inflammation. It was a theory that these foreign substances that leaked out of the gut and trans-located also invaded the incorrect cell space by Molecular Mimicry.
Dr. Axe that helps to simplify and describe the cycle we start to struggle with when health of our gut starts to decline.
This is a list of symptoms that are the most common with people struggling with poor gut health. It's truly exciting to think that we can start healing many health problems simply with diet. Going back to eating whole foods is understandably not the easiest when McDonald's has your food ready in 2 minutes with barely any clean up, BUT 5, 10, 20+ years from now when you are living with a slew of medical problems and feel miserable every single day you are guaranteed to look back and regret taking the extra time and effort to prevent your problems. Next week we will discuss taking those first steps to heal your gut. I will try to help simplify your plans for eating healthier and simply making better choices for yourself and your family.
ADHD: Real or Fake? Drugs or No Drugs?
You easily have 1 or maybe 100 friends that have their child/children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. You have likely encountered MANY people with different opinions on whether ADHD is even a "real" diagnosis. I'm not here to start a debate or even give you my personal opinions. With October being ADHD awareness month, I thought I would share some startling and exciting new info with everyone.
A little definition and history of ADHD...
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that most often occurs in children, but can also be diagnosed in adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include:
5 fast facts
This happens to be the most interesting fact to me so far:
The Causes of ADHD
Scientists have not yet identified the specific causes of ADHD. There is evidence that genetics contribute to ADHD. For example, three out of four children with ADHD have a relative with the disorder. Other factors that may contribute to the development of ADHD include being born prematurely, brain injury and the mother smoking, using alcohol or having extreme stress during pregnancy.
So we are treating this condition with some serious drugs, but we really can't confirm where it is coming from or how to treat it safely...hummmmm.
I also found this very interesting. In an article published by Psychology Today, the wrote about why the French don't have ADHD. Here's their article:
Why French Kids Don't Have ADHDFrench children don't need medications to control their behavior.
Posted Mar 08, 2012
In the United States, at least 9 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5 percent. How has the epidemic of ADHD—firmly established in the U.S.—almost completely passed over children in France?
Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the U.S. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological—psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.
French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.
French child psychiatrists don't use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological band-aids with which to mask symptoms.
To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child's social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to "pathologize" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals.
The French holistic, psychosocial approach also allows for considering nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms—specifically the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens. Clinicians who work with troubled children in this country—not to mention parents of many ADHD kids—are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child's problem. In the U.S., the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD, however, encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children's behavior.
And then, of course, there are the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the U.S. and France. These divergent philosophies could account for why French children are generally better-behaved than their American counterparts. Pamela Druckerman highlights the divergent parenting styles in her recent book, Bringing up Bébé. I believe her insights are relevant to a discussion of why French children are not diagnosed with ADHD in anything like the numbers we are seeing in the U.S.
Drugs, Drugs, and more Drugs
Do you really know what the drugs are that are being used to treat ADHD. So many people just agree to take whatever they are told to give themselves or their children without so much as a second thought. Take a peek at the long list below of medication prescribed for ADHD. My biggest concern is all of the AMPHETAMINES! Wowzers!!!!!
The side effects above are serious, especially for our growing young children. The graph below is real. Is it possible to find new treatments for ADHD that aren't so scary?
Today one of the biggest problems we now face are people stealing and selling these prescription meds to get high. There are teens not only swallowing these pills for fun, but also snorting them and even injecting them. These real and scary facts bring me to a lighter subject, thankfully, and that is diet and supplementation.
Before I share with you some of the latest nutirtional infomation related to ADHD, I do again want to clarify that this is not a controversial post about whether ADHD is real or fake etc. I personally do believe there is just cause to classify ADHD as a legitimate diagnosis. I also believe it is severely over diagnosed and also diagnosed prematurely. Before drugs are pushed, shouldn't we give diet and exercise a chance? Some of these youngsters that we are quick to diagnosis with ADHD eat 90% or more processed foods with most of that being sugar. Lucky Charms for breakfast is not feeding your child's body or brain. You are giving them pure sugar, then asking them to sit still, focus, and not pass out from the post sugar rush coma. Also, the lack of physical exercise these children now get is at an all time high. Some of these children get the most exercise from their day from only recess. The go home, snack, and sit the rest of the afternoon and evening in front of screens. So evaluating the individuals diet and exercise is a very important first step.
Now we look at those whom still struggle after a diet and exercise program was not as successful as needed. Well, the exciting new word is that Magnesium may just be what the doctor needs to order (lol, for realy though).
We are starting to see some great research emerging on the relationship of Magnesium and ADHD.
The following study is one of many to choose from. This one is short and sweet, so I thought I would include it.Magnesium supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Magnesium supplementation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Author:FaridaEl BazaHeba AhmedAlShahawiSallyZahraRana AhmedAbdelHakim
Under a Creative Commons licenseAbstractBackground
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with associated mineral deficiency.
Aim To assess magnesium level in ADHD children and compare it to the normal levels in children. Then, to detect the effect of magnesium supplementation as an add on therapy, on magnesium deficient patients.
The study was conducted on 25 patients with ADHD and 25 controls. All subjects had magnesium estimation in serum and hair. ADHD children were further assessed by Wechsler intelligence scale for children, Conners’ parent rating scale, and Wisconsin card sorting test. Then magnesium deficient patients were assigned into 2 groups, those who received magnesium, and those who did not. The difference between the studied groups was assessed by Conners’ parents rating scale and Wisconsin card sorting test.
Magnesium deficiency was found in 18 (72%) of ADHD children. The magnesium supplemented group improved as regards cognitive functions as measured by the Wisconsin card sorting test and Conners’ rating scale. The patients reported minor side effects from magnesium supplementation.
Magnesium supplementation in ADHD, proves its value and safety.
Another Great Article:
Magnesium deficiency is found more frequently in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than in healthy children. In one study of ADHD children, magnesium deficiency was found in 95 percent of those examined (1). Does this warrant magnesium supplementation for hyperactive children? The answer is yes.
Supplementation with magnesium appears to be especially helpful for alleviating hyperactivity in children (2). In a group of children supplemented with about 200 milligrams (mg) per day of magnesium for six months, there was “an increase in magnesium contents in hair and a significant decrease of hyperactivity” compared to children in the control group who had not been treated with supplemental magnesium (3).
Magnesium Is Safe and It Works
A review that looked at studies done on magnesium for the treatment of ADHD in children concluded that although “studies supported that magnesium is effective for treating ADHD…until further strong evidences for its efficacy and safety are provided, magnesium is not recommended for treating ADHD.” (4) This is typical of modern “evidence-based” medical literature. Some medical professionals will ignore what is already known unless a sufficient number of double-blind randomized studies have been performed. Magnesium supplementation is safe and effective, and it is critically important for children who are deficient.
The safety of magnesium has been well established. There have been no deaths reported from magnesium supplementation. None (5). An overdose of magnesium may result in loose stool. This is temporary, and will go away once dosages are reduced or divided into smaller amounts of magnesium given throughout the day. Magnesium supplementation is safe and it is worth trying, especially when we consider the dangers of ADHD drugs.
ADHD Drugs Are Dangerous
Depending on which ADHD drug is being taken, side effects of overdose include mydriasis, tremors, anxiety, agitation, hyper-reflexia, headache, gastrointestinal upset, combative behavior, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, dizziness, dystonia, insomnia, paranoia, movement disorders, tachycardia hypertension, seizures, and yes, even hyperactivity, the very condition an ADHD drug is supposed to be treating. Oh, and they can kill you (6,7). Even if “fatalities are rare” (7), I imagine this brings little comfort to parents. Moreover, the most common side effects of ADHD drugs, taken as prescribed, are appetite loss, abdominal pain, headaches, sleep disturbances, diminished growth, hallucinations and psychotic disturbances (8). Magnesium produces none of these effects. And even though magnesium is both safe and effective, nowhere in the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Clinical Practice Guideline for ADHD is magnesium supplementation recommended (8).
When it comes to the potential for kids to die suddenly from taking their prescribed ADHD medication, concerns are dismissed by the AAP with statements like “evidence is conflicting as to whether stimulant medications increase the risk of sudden death” (8). One would hope that with this level of uncertainty about the risk of death, the medical advice would be against the use of ADHD medication. Instead, the recommendation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is “continue your ADHD treatment as prescribed by a healthcare professional” (9). Just be sure to “talk to your healthcare professional about any questions you may have about ADHD medications.” Well, never has “talking about it” made medication any less dangerous.
Other Benefits of Magnesium
In addition to its effectiveness for treating hyperactivity, magnesium also benefits children in other profound ways: it can help kids sleep better at night, relieve discomfort from sore muscles and growing pains, relieve constipation, reduce anxiety, and reduce headache days (10).
“I have come to the conclusion that everyone could benefit from extra magnesium supplementation.”
– Carolyn Dean, MD, ND
Magnesium and Other Nutrients for ADHD
ADHD is not caused by a drug deficiency. Instead of giving drugs to our children, we should look to the benefits of providing them with optimal nutrition. Children with ADHD may benefit from optimal levels of several nutrients including vitamin D (11), iron (12), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids (13). In addition to removing refined sugar from the diet, avoiding artificial food dyes, and providing healthy food, pediatrician Ralph Campbell, MD, recommends a vitamin B complex supplement be given with breakfast, an additional 100 mg of B6 at another meal, and 200 mg or more of magnesium per day for ADHD children (13). Other helpful tips include limiting screen time and increasing exercise, especially in the outdoors.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of magnesium for children ages one to three is 80 mg per day. Children ages four to five: 130 mg magnesium per day. By age nine, our government recommends that kids should be getting (at least) 240 mg of magnesium per day. And at age fourteen, between 360 to 410 mg per day. Keep in mind, only about 30 to 40 percent of dietary magnesium is absorbed by the body (14). Remember, too much magnesium in a less-absorbable form can cause loose stool. This side effect can be prevented by reducing the amount of magnesium given and providing it in a more absorbable form. If larger total daily doses of magnesium are required, divide the dose into smaller amounts and give it multiple times throughout the day.
One of my favorite articles you can google if you are more interested comes from The Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics (www.ejmhg.eg.net). Original article title: Magnesium Supplementation in Children with Attention Defect Hyperactivity Disorder May 2015. The article has graphs to show the success with Magnesium supplementation for those with ADHD.
As we dig a little more we do find that other vitamins and minerals are super important also for the management of ADHD.
As a health care provider that strives to help others find the causes of their health care concerns and help treat them, rather than band-aid them, it gives me a lot of positive hope to share this post with you. I hate to see the road to prescription help being the only road possible for people. From the articles above, you know there is no harm that can be done from eating healthier, exercising more regularly, and supplementing your diet with high quality supplements. I have three daughters of my own, I know it is NOT easy to make sure they take extra supplements to fill in those inadequacies that we have from our diet. I will say this though, our supplement companies that we carry do an AMAZING job of supplying us with kid friendly supplements. We try each and every supplement ourselves to know how they taste. The most excited and newest addition to Standard Process, one of our supplement suppliers, is the new Magnesium
These make me SO excited!!!! This is such a easier way to get your Magnesium, plus it's kid friendly. This was just released and we were able to get a sneak peek preview and taste about a month ago. Not going to lie, it looks a wheee bit like grass, but it taste great. You can easily add a stick to a simple water bottle on the go, or in your other shakes. I am going to add a little more info about it below.
E-Z Mg™ is a plant-based, multiform magnesium (Mg) developed to support patients with inadequate dietary magnesium intake. Made from two key ingredients: Swiss chard (beet leaf) and buckwheat – both grown on our sustainable and certified organic farm in Wisconsin.
The plant-based, multiform magnesium in E-Z Mg™ may be absorbed by the body the way nature intended.
The naturally occurring multiform magnesium in E-Z Mg™ is not expected to contribute to gastrointestinal side effects that are common in other forms of magnesium supplements. Also, recent findings show our plant-based magnesium exhibits significantly higher levels of ionized magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid after only 14 days after administration.Why is There a Gap in Dietary Magnesium Intake?
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in processed foods and carbohydrates, low in vitamins and minerals. This inadequate daily intake of plant materials helps contribute to magnesium deficiency.3 Data also suggests that produce - especially vegetables - has experienced a decline in mineral content over the last century.4
Key IngredientsE-Z Mg™ consists of extracts of two key ingredients: organic dried Swiss chard (beet leaf) juice and organic dried buckwheat (aerial parts) juice delivering 85mg of elemental magnesium. The PRAL value in each serving is estimated at -8.9mEq which may help promote urine and whole-body alkalization.
The following are three great and highly recommended Supplements for your kiddos:
Catalyn Chewable contains vital nutrients from whole foods and other sources.*
Congaplex Chewable is used for short-term support of the immune system.*
Tuna Omega 3 Chewable delivers essential omega-3 fatty acids*
Please don't hesitate to stop by the office and ask about the supplements we carry and how we can help you.
THYROID Health - Hormones 101
The Thyroid is a very important little gland in the human body and chances are you have heard about it from time to time. This popular little gland makes the news quite a lot considering it's major function in our metabolism. Not only do you hear about it in the health and weight-loss news, but also quite a lot in the avenue of moods, depression, etc. What do you really know about the thyroid though? It's so easy for one to assume that they might be hypothyroid because they have a hard time losing weight, are depressed, and possibly fatigued. Before jumping into the WebMD self diagnosed world, I'm here to offer a little more info on that important gland and what it does for us.
The Thyroid gland produces 2 hormones: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).The thyroid hormones act on nearly every cell in the body. They act to increase the basal metabolic rate, affect protein synthesis, help regulate long bone growth (synergy with growth hormone) and neural maturation, and increase the body's sensitivity to catecholamines (such as adrenaline) by permissiveness. The thyroid hormones are essential to proper development and differentiation of all cells of the human body. These hormones also regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, affecting how human cells use energetic compounds. They also stimulate vitamin metabolism. Numerous physiological and pathological stimuli influence thyroid hormone synthesis.
As you have just read, that small little gland in your neck has a pretty big job. When the thyroid starts to malfunction, you get one of two outcomes, HYPOthyroidism or HYPERthryoidism.
Insufficient hormone production from the thyroid gland.
Diagnosed: 3% of the population (9.3 million in the US). Most common in women over 35 (>20% of US menopausal women are diagnosed with thyroid dysfunction.
Blood Test Analysis:
High TSH (thryoid stimulating hormone), Low Free T3, High or Low Free T4
High Calcium : Potassium ratio
***************Don't worry, I'm coming back to explain everything in more detail shortly*******************
Overactive thyroid hormone secretion.
Approximently 1.3 percent of the population. This increases to 4 to 5 percent in older women. Hyperthyroidism is more common in those whom smoke. Graves disease is often found in younger women.
Blood Tests Analysis
Low TSH, High free T3, Normal to High T4
Low Calcium : Potassium Ratio
Making Sense of the Thyroid Gland Function
Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form. If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and have the correct amounts of T3 and T4, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body. If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers. T3 is critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to rev up your metabolism by burning fat. This is how T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps keep you lean. Your T3 levels can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, and this lead to a series of complications, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, which today are three of the most prevalent thyroid-related diseases.
Today we are seeing far more HYPOthyroid related health problems due to the nature of our lifestyles. The number 1 PRIMARY cause of an under-active thyroid gland is due to Iodine deficiency. Iodine is deficient in our food supply, but equally deficient because of our bodies inability to absorb the iodine effectively. The most common factors contributing to decreased thyroid function include food sensitivities, Stress, soy, and bromines. Obviously we are all different and have different sensitivities, but any one food sensitivity that causes inflammation and an immune response can hurt your thyroid function. I am not even going to go into the nastiness of SOY! Just know that it is BAD BAD BAD, especially the nonfermented soy products like soy "meat" , cheese, and milk. If you want to read up more on soy, simply google soy on the internet along with unhealthy benefits of soy. Soy and the thyroid specifically: soy phytoestrogens are significant anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism. Bromine, and element found in A LOT of things we eat and come into contact with daily such as pesticides, few bakery goods/flours, some soft drinks, vegetable oils, some medications, and some fire retardant products and hot tub water treatment. Bromine can take the place of iodine in our receptor cells thus not allowing iodine into the thyroid. Bromine toxicity can lead to psychiatric problems along with decreased thyroid health and many other health concerns.
Lastly and I think is a massive contributor to thyroid health is STRESS! If you have studied health and stress even a little, you know that stress is an adrenal killer. The Thyroid and Adrenals are vital to each other and desperately need to work in harmony to keep our hormones balanced. Many of us are under chronic stress, which results in increased adrenaline and cortisol levels, and elevated cortisol has a negative impact on thyroid function. Thyroid hormone levels drop during stressful times, which is when you actually need it the most. When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals – adrenaline and cortisol – produced by your adrenal glands interfere with your thyroid hormones, causing a whole gamut of health-related issues like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or unstable blood sugar levels. A prolonged stress response can lead to adrenal exhaustion, which is also known as adrenal fatigue and which is often found alongside thyroid disease.
Lets revert back to the iodine sources in our food supply briefly. The biggest contributors to decreased iodine consumption today include: diets focusing less on fish and seaweed, vegan/vegetarian diets, less iodide in the food and agricultural industry, fluoridated drinking water, food contamination, and decreased use of iodized salt. What we can do to make healthier changes daily; eat organic as much as possible, avoid eating or drinking from plastic containers and choose glass or ceramic instead, look for organic whole grain bread flours that are "bromine -free", and avoid sodas. Outside of our dietary changes, steer away from Bromine in your hot tubs, read labels on your daily personal care products to avoid harsh chemicals, and try to ventilate with as much fresh air as possible as often as you can.
Two Main Points to Thyroid Care
Tyrosine is the basis for thyroid hormones and the three catecholamines: epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Great sources of Tyrosine are eggs, raw cheese, raw milk, raw almonds, avocado, grass fed beef, and organic chicken and turkey.
Key Supplementation for above: Vitamin C, Vitamin F, and Tyrosine
Simply ask us at the office about a few of the products we carry, or just feel free to ask more questions about Thyroid health in general.
Fall is in the Air
Summer is simply the best, I think we can almost all agree, but fall isn't too far behind in the favorite season category for most of us. Fall, especially in Northern Michigan as absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The weather is amazing and the colors are gorgeous. As the temps cool of, sadly we put away the swimsuits and watch our tans fade away. The good ol football hoodies become a daily favorite. Along with the weather and wardrobe change come a huge schedule change for those of us with kids. Back to the daily routine of alarm clocks, packing lunches and snacks, after school taxiing and activities, dinner, and homework all to go to bed and do it all over again the next day. Not going to lie, but with an 8th grader, 5th grader, and 3rd grader I was kind of looking forward to putting these crazy girls back into a routine. Although their new routine also changes up my routine A LOT! This is the time of year where everyone gets incredibly busy and overwhelmed with activities, the comfy cushy clothes come back out, we get exhausted, then naturally put ourselves on the back burner. No longer are you trying to eat as healthy, you are slipping into those cozy clothes, you aren't making your workout time a priority in your busy schedule, and you slip FAST. You know as well as I do, a week or two off while you are trying to get into the fall grove and suddenly its a week, next a month, then a year goes by and you slipped away. Right now the gyms are slow, the local trails for biking and running are nearly abandon, and everyone is trying to figure out what and how to eat during this in between of summer BBQ and winter comfy food.
You are missing out on the best time of the year to workout!!!!!
The heat of the summer has now passed, the humidity is nearly gone, and you can't beat the amazing color change outside! Now is the time to get out and hike or mountain bike through the woods on nature trails, or get on the road bike or your sneakers on for a good cool jog or ride. I know you are CRAZY busy, but you are missing out on SO MUCH of you let fall slip away from you. Most importantly, make the time for yourself and make it a priority. You may think you are being a good parent by carting your kids to their activities while staying on top of the important responsibilities of the household, but if you are doing these things while being crabby from a lack of exercise (which you know makes you a much happier person) then you are really not being a good parent at all. The happiness you carry within you is the most important thing you give to them every single day. For years and year and even still today I hear the same ol question, "why do you workout so hard? Are you training for something?" My answer, "heck yes I'm training for something...it's called life!" "I'm training hard because I need to keep my sanity even more so than my physical fitness." "I'm training because I have three daughters at home watching me." "I'm training so that when one of my daughters coaches needs a fill-in on the soccer field or basketball court, I can get out there and play with them." These are the reasons I train. Training is not about vanity, and I need to make this a REALLY big point to those that think "gym people" are so vain. There is a really good chance that people that think "gym people" are vain, have never really stepped foot inside of a commercial gym. Most of us there are not supporting a six-pack set of abs and watching ourselves in the mirror nonstop. If you have ever seen any of my workouts, then you know the level at which I am working, and I don't have the shredded bod to show off because quite frankly I like to eat and eat a lot. The workouts are about my sanity, the athletic build is just a positive side-effect.
Be a Priority
Getting started....one of my favorite products that is crazy user friendly that I suggest everyone to start on is the Standard Process SP Detox and/or Purification Program. They have tweaked it over the past few years making it so much easier to use and for the consumer. They have 2 different programs, the SP Detox (10 day or 28 day) and the Purification Program. I could spend the next 2 hours giving you all of the details of both, but instead I'll give you the link to explore them both.
So besides being part of a Detox program, as I mentioned, I use the SP C Detox shake as a supplemental protein shake also. My 2 cents on protein shakes: not everyone needs a protein shake just because they are working out and trying to get into shape. If you are eating enough protein and getting your macoros and more importantly MICROS daily, there is not a need for extra in a shake. In regards to using this shake and other shakes for uses other than Detox, please evaluate if needed. For myself, I know I burn a lot of calories in my training. In order for me not to lose condition, keep my immune system strong, and support my dietary needs, I do incorporate shakes about 4-5 days out of the week or more dependent on activity level.
OrthoMolecular is spot on with their shakes also. This company has gone even further to formulate shakes for different needs. They are the following:
MitoCore: Stimulates mitochondria and recharges cellular energy, strengthens immune function, and increases detoxification.
Calories: 120, Fat 3g, Carbs 7g (fiber 1g/sugars 3g), PROTEIN 15g
InflammaCore: Enhanced G.I. barrier function, mucosal cell regeneration, supports a healthy inflammatory response
Calories: 200, Fat 6g, Carbs 12g (4g fiber/8g sugars), PROTEIN 19g
GlycemaCore: Supports healthy blood sugar levels, increases insulin sensitivity, and improves metabolism plus supports weight management.
Calories: 150, Fat 3.5g, Carbs 17g (12g fiber/sugars 2g), PROTEIN 10g
LifeCore Complete: Clean and diverse blend of plant based protein, supports healthy weight management, and promotes a feeling of fullness plus reduces cravings.
Calories: 210, Fat 7g, Carbs 12g (4g fiber/2g sugars), PROTEIN 20g
My two favorites include the MitrCore and the LifeCore. The fun factor to their supplements are the flavors. The MitoCore has 2 flavors: strawberry and lemon, both are amazingly tasty and a great change from your basic chocolate and vanilla. The LifeCore truly hits the mark when you are super hungry after a tough workout and need to grab a protein rich snack mid-day.
My personal arsenal for supplements. As a soon to be 40yr old athlete, I have spent some time digging to see what supplements can help me function day to day better along with helping me preform and recover on a fitness level. My two most important supplements include OrthoMoleculars OrthoMega and Orthobiotic.
Second on my list is the OrthoBiotic. I plan to devote another blog post to the massive importance of gut/intestinal health, so I'm not going to linger here for too long. This supplement is a very high quality probiotic. Gut health is directly proportional to health gut bacteria. Low good gut bacteria = lowered ability to absorb nutrients = lowered immune system. Another topic to spend some time researching if you are unfamiliar with gut health and probiotics.
Supplements for the Aging Athlete
My List of OrthoMolecular Supplements for myself, the aging athlete:
CoQ-10: Coenzyme Q-10 is a pro enzyme produced naturally in the body. It plays a critical role in energy (ATP) production, and is one of the most powerful lipid-soluable antioxidants that prevents lipid and mitochondrial DNA oxidation. CoQ10 naturally decreases with age.
DHEA: or dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone precursor that promotes healthy hormone levels and supports our bodies stress response system. DHEA is an important counterpart to the stress hormone cortisol. It helps provide an inflammatory balance and protection to brain tissues, along with supporting healthy aging, mood regulation, memory, and bone density.
Collogen: This supplement combines hyaluronic acid (HA), Type I collagen, Type II collagen bioactive peptides, mucopolysaccharides, and vitamin C to stimulate collagen regeneration and support joint health. Lifestyle factors and aging reduce the elasticity in tendons and ligaments, which leads to soft tissue and joint discomfort.
MSM: Helps to promote new cells and tissues, naturally supporting soft tissue health and regeneration. Significantly supports connective tissue health and maintains normal inflammatory balance. MSM is a natural compound that provides a high concentration of sulfur. This boosts the body's antioxidant mechanisms, supports detoxification pathways, and strengthens the immune system. MSM naturally decreases with age.
AminoComplex: A blend of all 9 essential amino acids (EAA's) plus the most commonly deficient conditionally essential amino acids that become essential during stress, disease, and poor diet. Optimal amino acid intake is essential for supporting muscle strength, immunity, gastrointestinal health, and neurotransmitter production in the body. Amino acids are simulators of protein synthesis , which is not only a key component of muscle recovery, but also important for muscle maintenance in all age groups. There is a natural and gradual decline of muscle mass beginning around our fourth decade of life.
Chondro-Flx: A combination of glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, vitamin C, and bromelain to promote healthy cartilage within our joints. These work together to decrease inflammation, re-hydrate, and increase joint integrity within our bodies.
You are probably looking at all of this wondering how on earth I take all of them in a day. Really, most of them are just once a day, so it really isn't over the top crazy. I will not tell you that I am super disciplined and never miss a supplement, because that would be lying. The two I rely on the most are the CoQ10 and the DHEA. I make the collegen a little easier and sometimes buy it in the powered form, which allows me to put it into my shakes. I do get a lot of my Amino acids in my shakes, so dependent upon my workout week and if I have had my shakes, the AminoComplex is not at the top of my list. The MSM and Chondro-Flx for me are interchangeable, and I base the need on them solely on my workout intensity and recovery.
None of the supplements above that I take are by any means "enhancers". These are all products specifically formulated to work with our bodies already existing chemicals. The supplements for me "fill the gaps" sort-a-speak that are forming with my aging. I'm not ready to slow down because I'm ageing. I am thinking that my 40's just might be my most active years yet!
The numbers don’t lie. According the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- 9 out of 10 Americans are deficient in potassium
- 7 out of 10 are deficient in calcium
- 8 out of 10 are deficient in vitamin E
- 50 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium
- More 50 percent of the general population is vitamin D deficient, regardless of age
- 90 percent of Americans of color are vitamin D deficient
- Approximately 70 percent of elderly Americans are vitamin D deficient
It is a well-known fact that processed junk and fast foods have become staples in the American diet. Fresh, nutrient-rich foods are often considered taxing on time and finances, deeming these food choices a luxury rather than the standard at dinner tables throughout the country. Along side of the fast food eruption, the soil of farmland all across the globe is deficient in micronutrients. So really, even if processed junk food and fast food were not a part of the food supply, deficiencies would still be rampant, as soil quality is diminishing at a rapid rate and reducing the nutrient value of produce. Sick, mineral depleted soil grows mineral depleted foods. The animals that we eat are being fed these micronutrient depleted vegetables and wheat. This means that the meat you buy is also far lower in health producing micronutrients than ever before. The bottom line is: “Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals, and sick people.”
"Hidden Hunger" is a term that was brought about to describe the serious hunger our bodies have for the much needed vitamins and minerals the we are NOT getting. It's not just about third world countries that are starving for lack of food. Our own country is starving for real nutrients in this over processed country we live in. The worst part about all of this, is it effects the children the most! Kids today are not being raised on produce from the back yard or local farmers markets. They aren't eating meat from healthy sources. Fast food and processed freezer meals are feeding our kiddos in this nation. Yes, we are all crazy busy with non-stop activities for our families, but that does not mean they can only crap food. When you start to look a little deeper into the dangers facing our children from a lack of nutrition, you may want to take the time to figure out a little pre-meal-planning for the week. Is it really too much to ask of you to wake up 10 minutes early to put actual meat from a good butcher shop or local farmer into the crockpot? Is it really that hard to was a few fruits and veggies each day for healthy snacks? If you plan ahead, you can make larger quantities of food and have left overs for half of the week. Left overs that are versatile and able to be made into wraps or sandwiches. The meals that you spend a little more time on make a huge difference in the health of your children. Below are examples of common deficiencies in children and the effects they have to their mental and physical development.
The most common Deficiencies
Typical deficiencies found within these health conditions
Nutrient deficiencies cause by common drugs
Let's Talk Life
Health and Fitness Series
I hear too often how everyone is so unhappy with themselves. How they need to lose weight to feel better about themselves. How they don't have time to even think about eating healthy or exercising for a hour a few times a week. As a mom, business owner, farm owner, etc, I do know the struggles of making time. Here's the thing; make your "ME" time a priority, and get creative with your health and fitness. Not all of your "workouts" must be on your own in a gym every week. Include your partner, kids, coworkers, or friends. Involving your spouse/partner is a great first step. Yes, there might be a struggle at first, but at least try to involve them and get creative with your fitness time. Kids are another GREAT way to not only help you spend time with them and get your workouts in, but it is SO AWESOME to get them active and enjoying new things also.
My time is not spent in the gym all summer long. As a family we play together and stay active while enjoying some fun down time. For instance, we LOVE to bike, go for runs and/or walks, kayak, swim, ride horses, and lift weights together. The kids are always the first on the bus so-to-speak when I mention we are going for a family run, but you need to make it creative. Make it a fun game, do a few little races, or explore new places on runs. I do want to share with you our personal time to give you a few ideas of how to snatch up that little bit of free time and make it productive for your health while also enjoying LIFE.
As an active family, we try to encourage others around us also to step out and do more active things. In the last few weeks, we have kayaked as an office together, which was so much fun. Leaving the work environment and enjoying each others company helps the entire team. This last weekend, our non-profit put together a memorial paddle with a group of veterans. This paddle was not only our workout for the day, but more importantly we spent time as a family reaching out to local veterans to try and give a little something back to them for all that they have done for us. Our kids were active with us, and they had the opportunity to meet veterans and their families, while understanding the meaning of what we were doing.
Health and Fitness Series
A few years ago I stumbled upon these two words an it felt like the fitness universe finally came together. It all made sense and almost everything was right in the world...almost everything. Now people just need to start embracing health and fitness as a way of life instead of letting the days of their lives slip away from them as unhappy and unhealthy people.
The definition is simple: functional fitness is a personal fitness program that will help you function at a higher fitness level in daily activities. Helping to function more efficiently and safer. Training your body to handle real life situations. A huge emphasis on core strength and stability, balance, endurance, flexibility, and overall strength. It can enhance the coordinated working relationship between the nervous and muscular systems of the body. Below is a basic list to recognize the benefits:
-Improves balance and coordination
-Is designed to optimize movement
-Enhances athletic performance
-Increases strength and endurance
-Helps your muscles recover faster from injuries
-Strengthens your core muscles
-Involves compound exercises that mimic real life movements
-Suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels
-Restores posture, muscle imbalances, and dynamic stability
So what are we talking about with all this? Really it's a mixture of training programs that focuses on exercises that are going to help you in you everyday life. What I enjoy the absolute MOST about functional fitness is that it can be yours to own. You can decide yourself, or with the help of a trainer/professional, what you really need to focus on in your workouts. Someone in the military, police, fire dept, etc may choose to focus their workouts on strengthening movements with the added bonus of stability, mobility, etc. Where someone that is in their senior years will have a primary focus of balance, then strength, posture, stability, etc. The exercises are even great for young athletes to get started on strength/core training. This is why I love functional fitness so much, it's adaptable to your personal preference. When utilized correctly, your muscles learn how to engage properly and that decreases personal injury rates immensely. The majority of functional exercises use compound movements. Movements that incorporate multiple muscles and joints at the same time are compound movements. Now, if you are a bodybuilder and want to increase your bicep peak, by all means have at the billion bicep curls you are doing. Not going to lie, I love the feeling of a good pump in my biceps by doing curls. On that note, I will do those cute little bicep curls at the end of my full body workouts if I am not already blasted and I have enough time. The same goes for leg extensions. These work on primarily your quad strength and aesthetics, but do very little on the "transfer effect" of daily living strength. Instead, walk past that machine and do some squatting.
Time management, the key word being TIME! If you are trying to get into better shape whether it is losing weight, heart health, getting stronger, etc, your time management plays a pretty big role. Not everyone has 2 hours to spend at the gym 6 days a week. I think I am speaking to the majority here when I say it would be darn nice to get a killer strength workout in while doing cardio at the same time in under 45 minutes 3-5 days a week. Functional training programs put all of this together. They hit almost all beneficial levels of fitness in a time manageable way for the average person.
Before I glorify this too much, let me pull back and clarify some things also. Just like a lot of the trends in the fitness industry, this came in as the latest and greatest explosion recently. It's actually been around for many many years from physical therapists. Their job is obviously to get you to heal from an injury to get back to your activities of daily living with less pain. Then the crossfit revolution hit around the year 2000. These seemed to somewhat mesh together in my opinion. So why not promote crossfit you may ask...I will never tell you that I don't promote crossfit. I happily promote anything that helps our society find health and fitness. I personally do a lot of crossfit, just not in a box (crossfit facility). This is because I have taken years to tweek my own personal workout programs that I enjoy doing at my schedule and my pace. As you read last week, I tailor my workouts on how I feel. I like a mix everything up to keep challenging myself. My only 2 cents on Crossfit is this: push yourself against yourself, not your gym crew. Too many injuries are made from coaches that aren't paying enough attention to keep you safe. Not that it is the coaches fault, but know your limits and stay safe. A great coach will know how to start you slow, get the patterns/moves correct, and strive to keep you safe. I know a lot of people that love crossfit because they don't have to plan their own workouts. It's one less thing they have to think about, and that's great too.
If you hop online and do a little google search about Functional Fitness, you do get a little bit of a variety and some not so optimal training ideas. Every industry has their idiots (true statement #sorrynotsorry). When you take the functional fitness people trying to promote stabilization and strength, with a few dim light bulbs that see an exercise ball, you get some idiot that tries to barbell squat while standing on an exercise ball. Please use sense when lifting, it may save your life.
I'm going to put ideas together along with a list of types of equipment for functional training, but there is one last VERY important point to make first. It is not recommended to jump right into a functional fitness program that you might see on YouTube or a google search. If you do not currently workout or are not familiar with compound lifting, you need to spend some time finding your weaknesses if you have them (and we all typically do). This is where injuries happen frequently. Often people initially exceed their own physical capabilities of the average exerciser and this leads to injury.
Stability Stability Stability
The most important foundation of any training program.
The three key groups in need of stability training are:
- the deep abdominal (transverse abdominal and internal oblique),
- the hip abductors and rotators
- the scapula stabilizers.
*As always, consulting with your primary care physician is recommended before the start of any workout program.
Besides the above that I have to mention, my personal recommendations for a someone exploring the idea of functional fitness is 1 of 2 things. One option is starting very slow as a beginner and focus only on body weight exercises. Basic air squats, planks, pushups, assisted pullups, etc are a great foundation to build strength and stability to carry over into the more difficult exercises. Having a mirror or now days a selfie video is a great way to assess your body while doing these exercises. Examples: while squatting: lower yourself so your thighs are parallel with the floor or below, back straight, shoulders up, heels down. Planks and pushups: body a flat line without sinking or bridging of the pelvis. Pull-ups: start in the completely lowered position, retract scapulas first, then pull body weight up (assisted with a long band if needed). Secondly, find a gym or fitness trainer to work with that can help you get started. They can help you with form, addressing weaknesses, and give you exercises to help get you started and avoid injury.
My 2 cents about gyms...I can't tell you how often I hear people complain about not being a "gym" person, but seconds later say that they can't find the discipline to workout at home. You can't say these two things in the same conversation! Yet, I hear it ALL OF THE TIME! So I understand the discipline factor of having trouble working out at home, especially in the winter. I have a home gym myself, but you are likely going to find me at my regular commercial gym. I too struggle with this, especially as a mom. If I'm home, I'm doing laundry, picking up the house, making food, putting list together for shopping, etc. Before you know it, time is up and you need to run and get kids from something, then boom your day is gone and you didn't work out. Knowing you have to make time to LEAVE and go to the gym for an hourish is easier (for me), it's scheduled in just like the rest of the important stuff. Summertime has the added bonus of longer day light hours and more workouts outside even with the family, like biking, hiking, paddling, and running. Now back to not being a gym person...my question is why aren't you a "gym" person? If you have ever stepped into a gym, then you know there are all kinds of makes and models sort-a-speak. Not everyone in a gym is a week away from a bodybuilding show, it's actually quite the opposite. A small amount of people may be ripped up, but I can almost guarantee you that those people are likely to be some of the nicest and happiest that you are there working out too (as long as you have good gym etiquette of course.) Do you feel uncomfortable about the machines? If yes, then either spend some time scoping those machines and users out while doing some cardio nearby, or just simply ask. The people that work at these gyms and even own them are typically very happy to help. Some trainers even offer up a free training session upon your initial signup, just ask. Do you feel not strong enough in comparison to others? This one I know is very common, especially for the men. They are afraid to walk into the squat rack and squat 45 lbs when the last dude just squatted 300+. Believe it or not, that dude that just finished the 300+lbs, once squatted 45 lbs also, then worked his butt off to get to 300+lbs. Please don't ever feel intimidated by people judging you at the gym. Nobody knows if what you are benching that day is your true maximum bench. Maybe you went wakeboarding or wall climbing the day before and are still sightly fatigued, so you are lifting light that day, honestly do you really truly care what someone might think? What you are doing in the gym is not affecting their life, but it is affecting yours so don't be nervous about others. I guess that was a long 2cents, but I have been wanting to say that for a long time.
Okay.....my lists for Functional Fitness
Equipment: You may not even need equipment to get started, but below is a list of suggestions to keep things interesting and challenging.
- Barbell : by far my first on this list. (my favorite price of equipment)
- fitness rubber bands - multiple sizes
- medicine balls (multiple weights)
- exercise ball
- wooden box (18in, 24in, or 36in)
- TRX bands
Basic Body Weight Exercises
- Squats!!: regular squats, sumo, close stance, pistols, split, jump (JUST SQUAT!)
- Pushups (keep those elbows tucked in or at the most 45 degrees out)
- Pull-ups (banded if needed)
- Lying hip raises/hamstring bridges
- Lunges: All the kinds, front, back, to the side, switch jump
- Planks: on elbows, on hands, one arm, one leg, leg extensions with one arm reaches, rotating hip touches
- Burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jumping rope, knee high running in place
- Squats: All varieties
- Deadlifts : many varieties
- Cleans and Presses
- Step ups (box step ups)
- Farmer Carries
- Bench Press
How do we put this all together? Make a goal for how many days in the week you want to incorporate a function fitness workout. They can be pretty demanding so maybe start with 2-3 days a week. Aim for at least about 30-45 minute workout. If you have a time restraint, you can bust a hard workout in under 25 minutes, but you better make it worthy and difficult. DO NOT try to go all out your first couple of workouts, no need for heart attacks or the inability to function the next day. You can do these as just body weight at a tempo similar to Tabata. Your phone likely has a tabata timer app to help you time yourself. If you are going to push yourself with weights, you can tone the timer part down and/or just shoot for "cycles". By cycles I mean pick 3-5 exercises to do in a particular order, then repeat them 4-8 times.
Example of one of my cycles:
- Barbell Squats (light) x 10-15
- Jump Squats (15lb-20lb dumbbells) 12-15
- Barbell Bench (light)10-12
- Sandbag Get-ups 45lb sandbag on shoulders Left x 10 and Right x 10
Example for a Beginner:
- Air Squats x 10
- Push-ups x10
- Mountain Climbers x 10
- Lunges Left x 10/ Right x 10 or 5 left and 5 right
Example for Intermediate:
- Thrusters (barbell or Dumbbell)
- Sandbag Row
- Weighted jump squats (dumbbell)
The idea is to build strength while also getting your heart rate up to get some great cardio work in. You can always add in a slower run or bike ride to for more aerobic aspects to your workouts, or just do those things on our active recovery days. The first few weeks, you may simply want to write all of the exercises down, take a sneak peak on youtube how to do them if you are unsure, and then just practice form and flow before you make them into a full workout. Like I mentioned earlier, building a strong core and posterior chain (back, booty, and legs) is far more beneficial to every day living than a little 2 mile elliptical stroll and bicep curls if you are really looking at getting healthier and stronger. Not saying the elliptical and curls are bad, because they are way better than your couch and curling a beer to your lips, but I think you know what I am getting at for this segment. I have seen some pretty cool animations of proper lifting form. If I find the links, I'll definitely try to put them together. Maybe next week I will go into form. Form is Key in the fitness world, and the absolute foundation to a healthy program.
If there is interest, I can start throwing a few workout programs on here to help everyone. They will basically be my workouts and you can tone them down or go harder, your preference. My weeks do incorporate these functional fitness days, but I also mix in many pure strength training and cardio specific days into my schedule. Together they hit all aspects of training. Even though I am approaching forty, I still consider myself an athlete. I will continue to work hard to keep myself worthy of that title.
Check out this link below. The initial video just gives you an idea of what functional fitness is about, plus gives you a little extra motivation.
First Steps in Fitness
Health and Fitness Series
Anyway, off my rant and back to the importance of fitness. The definition of fitness straight out of the dictionary; the condition of being physically fit and healthy. The definition of physically fit out of the same dictionary; to be in a state of health and well being. Physical fitness is defined as the body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist disease, and to react to emergency situations. I know these seem pretty self explanatory, but if you think a little bit deeper here, some people that are "thin/skinny" may NOT be physically fit, and on the flip side, you can be overweight and be physically fit. This is a debate that many argue with me and it is my personal opinion, but I believe you are far healthier to be 10-20 pounds overweight and able to physically keep up with workouts of any kind then those that are lean and not able to run even a mile. Fitness does not have to be defined as lean. The purpose of fitness is to FUNCTION optimally in a healthy state. Function is a huge word and I am going to keep bringing it to you. Fitness is having a healthy cardiovascular system, meaning your heart and lungs are not taxed and tired from simply walking up a flight of stairs. The heart and lungs function to move blood and nutrients throughout your body with ease. The only way to keep the cardiovascular system happily working in harmony in you body is to make it work.
Heart Rate Zones...Let's get to it!
There are various Heart Rate Zones to understand and those include resting, target, reserve, and max. There are 5 other Zones to help describe percentages of your heart rate under working conditions. The general calculations for Heart Rate are below:
Resting Heart Rate: heart rate at rest; typically taken as an average of calculations counting beats per minute optimally in the morning before you arise from bed.
Maximum Heart Rate = 220 - Age
Heart Rate Reserve: the difference between resting heart rate (HRrest) and maximum heart rate (HRmax).
HRR = HRmax - HRrest. Heart rate reserve is used when determining exercise heart rates.
Target Heart Rate: is defined as the minimum number of heartbeats in a given amount of time in order to reach the level of exertion necessary for cardiovascular fitness, specific to a person's age, gender, or physical fitness.
Max Heart Rate 220 - 39(my age) = 181 beats/minute (Max HR)
Resting Heart Rate 50 beats per minute (fitbit and machine morning average)
Heart Rate Reserve 181 - 50 = 131 beats/minute
Target Heart Rate 131 (reserve) x .5 (50%) = 65.5 --------65.5 + 50 (resting) = 115.5 Target
*these are specific to my and my personal calculations for example purposes
Light walk with friends or pet
*Exercise Benefits: Body fat decreases, blood pressure lowered, cholesterol lowered, muscle mass improvements, decreased risk for degenerative diseases, safety high.
Zone 2 - Easy Transition Zone: 60% - 70% of your Max Hr Fat Burning Zone – you can train for extended periods of time in this zone. 75% - 85% of all calories from fat as fuel, Beginner Safe, early intermediate
Easy power walk or light jog, able to still talk with ease
*Exercise Benefits: Gain muscle mass, lose fat mass, strengthen heart muscle, fat utilization zone.
Zone 3 - Aerobic Zone: 70% - 80% of your Max HrAerobic Zone – Moderate energy expenditure. Running is a great example. You can speak, but not easily hold a long conversation with ease due to heavier breathing.
Intermediate and early advanced
*Exercise Benefits: Improved overall functional capacity with increase in the number and size of blood vessels, increased vital capacity, respiratory rate, max pulmonary ventilation, pulmonary diffusion, increase in size and strength of the heart, improvements in cardiac output and stroke volume.
Zone 4 - Threshold Zone: 80% - 90% of your Max Hr
Anaerobic & max caloric burn, intense exercise, breathing hard/panting
*Exercise Benefits: Max fat burn, but you must be fit enough to train with some oxygen present for additional fat burn. No fat burning if exercising above fat burning heart rate, high total calories burned during exercise, carbohydrates as source of calories/fuel, improved VO 2
Zone 5 - Preformance Topline Zone: 90% - 100% of your Max HrPeak Race Zone – Athlete Only Zone! Advanced +
All out training, example: sprints
*Exercise Benefits: Highest total calories burned, but lowest percentage of fat calories. This zone is only for the very healthy and fit!!! Spending too much time in this zone, even for elite athletes can be painful, cause injuries and lead to over training, which leads to poor performance!
Next week I will go more in depth with my training schedule, but I wanted to briefly touch on it now to put the heart rate zones into more perspective for training purposes. I schedule my training for all eight days of the week (I know there are only 7 days in a week, my workouts typically fall into an eight day cycle), this includes an active recovery/rest days. I don't structure this program on particular days of the week, because it's impossible with life interfering. My entire week is scheduled around my hardest day of the week, for me that is leg day. Leg day is the lightest cardio but most strength challenging day of the week. This is the day I try my hardest to push through barriers and work at my highest peak. Leg days also leave me in a pretty good world of hurt from muscle soreness. My typical week is designed below with a lot of room for change ups. Nothing is set in stone, I just try my best to get the following in for my week.
Day 1: Leg Day Zone 2-3
Day 2: Mix Day; Cardio and Strength Training Zone 3
Day 3: Active Recovery/Rest day Zone 1-2
Day 4: High Intensity Training Zone 4-5
Day 5: Long distance Endurance Training Zone 3
Day 6: High Intensity Training Zone 4-5
Day 7: Mix Day; Cardio and Strength Training Zone 3
Day 8: Active Recovery/Rest Zone 1-2
There is a lot more detail to bring to you about the training schedule above, but I can't squeeze it into today's post. Next week I'll explain to my personal preferences to my training program, and why I have structured the program the way that I have for myself.
Health and Fitness Series
Carb Cycling is a planned alteration of your carbohydrate consumption over a chosen time period, or an enjoyable and capable lifestyle habit.
Carb Cycling is considered by some to be an aggressive and high level nutrition strategy in order to prevent a fat loss plateau, plus help maintain a good metabolism without hindering workout performance. This last sentence is obviously pretty loaded, so I'm going to break everything down for you. Yes, carb cycling is a nutritional strategy, one in my opinion is GREAT! I LOVE it and utilize it often. I don't feel it is "aggressive", but rather easier to use since it gives you some wiggle room and is not as difficult. I will say that I don't think carb cycling is for beginners trying to figure out how to lose body fat while making positive lifestyle changes. If you are just learning how to count calories and macros while trying to incorporate exercise, keep at it my friend and keep making those changes to your lifestyle. Now, if this isn't your first rodeo and you understand the macro stuff, carb cycling may be something you can throw into the mix.
The Benefits of Carb Cycling
- Keep favorite meals on your menus
- Keeps hormones balanced
- Aids in muscle recovery and prevents muscle wasting
- boosts weightloss
- helps prevents metobolic dip
- helps prevent hunger and fatigue
- Increases energy and endurance
- Easier to manage and maintain since it is less restrictive
The basic idea behind Carb Cycling is to plan a certain amount of days when you eat higher carbs verses lower carbs. There are MANY different varieties and ways to cycle. Some people will try to sell you plans saying one way is better for fat loss, another is better for muscle gain, etc etc. Personally, I go with what my body tells me. I have structured my carb cycling based mostly on my workouts and water retention.
After spending a lot of time discussing the Keto diet last post, I am hoping I left you with an understanding that carbs are NOT bad. To revisit for a brief moment, Carbs are needed as a fuel source for your workouts. Carbs replenish glucose and glycogen to prevent fatigue and help repair tissues. When in ketosis, you use fatty acids (fat) as a fuel to live and even workout, but you will not have much success in building muscle without glucose (carbs). Those carbs aid significantly in recovery and support of muscle growth, cause the body to burn more calories, and provides you with ENERGY. One of the biggest fallacies is that eating carbohydrates makes you fat and even eating carbohydrates at the wrong time will make you fat.
Eating too many CALORIES makes you fat.
Insulin has unfortunately been thrown under the bus A LOT the last few years. Once again, Insulin does not make you fat, overeating does. Revisiting the job description of Insulin and why people presume it's bad:
- Insulin stops burning fat and tells the body to start burning what's available from what you just ate.
- Insulin causes the body to store a portion of the energy you just ate (from food) as body fat.
high carbs = high insulin = burn less fat = store more fat = fatter & Fatter & fatter
low carb = low insulin = burn more fat = store less fat = stay lean
HOWEVER, this completely violates the principles of energy balance, which is how much energy you eat and how much energy you burn.
Weight gain results in a surplus of energy stored as fat. You cannot lose weight without an energy deficit.
For those into building and maintaining muscle mass (that should be all of you since muscles increase metabolism), insulin actually decreases catabolism.
Muscle growth = increase in carbohydrate diet = increase in glycogen: which improves performance = more strength & energy for workouts = helps progressively overload muscle fibers = muscle growth
Research shows that low carb/low glycogen levels post workout reduce cell signaling related to muscle growth. Also, resting cortisol levels rise and testosterone decreases with the lack of glucose/glycogen.
So how do you carb cycle? Lets talk about ways to match lifestyles and activity levels. Another reminder here, go ahead and read this post, but if you are still working on your macro counting and trying out other things like intermittent fasting, don't rush to jump into this until you are ready. It's easy to bombard yourself too early with everything without enough time to make the other changes habitual and a lifestyle. Come back to this when you are ready and want to try it out.
For carb cycling, you are going to continue to follow your calories and macro that we already calculated (see macro post here). Those macros will now fluctuate with carb cycling. As I said earlier, there are many different "cycles" you can use and I'll give you examples. Basically you are going to increase and decrease your carbohydrate intake depending on the day. Some people will tell you to stick with a pretty strict cycle of maybe a 1:1 ratio of a high carb day followed by a low carb day. Others use a 3:1 ratio of three low carb days followed by 1 high carb day. Another possibility is a fluctuated carb cycle of low, moderate, and high carb days throughout the week. Lastly, there are those that like to live on the wild side and decide to put no carb days into the mix. The other macros are not going to change significantly. The idea is that the lower carb days, are days that you caloric intake will be lower, even lower than maybe what you have calculated for your daily caloric needs. An important factor is not to decrease your protein consumption. So yes, you will still macro count or go back to macro counting for a little while until your food choices become natural and you just "know" what you are eating.
Planning your personal cycle...it's all about your personal needs. If you are getting to the point of trying this, then I am assuming you are pretty disciplined with your workouts plus you know your caloric needs. Nobody is going to tell you what is right for you, only you will know that with experimentation. For me personally, I know I need high carb days thrown in when I have a hard workout planned. I don't have a particular "plan", I base my cycle on my activity. My leg days are ALWAYS high carb days. My gym days that I do a mixture of Olympic lifting/powerlifting/crossfit are also high carb days. Days that I run, bike, kayak, and weight train are moderate carb days. My rest days are no carb days (unless its a cheat day). Honestly thought, cheat days are not to much of a "cheat" day if you are putting yourself through a killer hard workout.
Here are a few examples below:
Nutrient timing is planning your food intake at a particular time centered mostly on your workout schedule. Some make sure to have certain nutrients upon waking and going to bed also, but I'm only going to briefly hit on the nutrient timing around workouts. The research has shown that there is a pretty significant importance in planning to digest particular nutrients pre and port workouts. Most importantly the "window of gains" post workout that you will likely hear from the muscle building world. They used to believe that you only had about 30 minutes to make sure your body would optimally uptake all the nutrients it could post workout from whatever you were trying to feed it. Now they are getting a little bit more relaxed and saying you don't need to rush. My thoughts, you absolutely DO benefit from a nutritious post workout meal/shake. Physiologically, if you just finished a pretty intense workout, your cells are depleted of nutrients, particularly glucose, and need to refuel for repair, which lead to growth and strength. I don't feel however, that you need to pack a full meal to the gym and eat it as soon as you finish your last rep. Refuel with healthy carbs and protein on those hard days, your body needs it! In relation to the intermittent fasting post, when you come out of your fast make sure you are not instantly hitting the carbs. Put a meal together with healthy proteins, fibrous carbs, and some fat first. Save those yummy carbs for after your workouts. The most optimal time to consume your carbohydrates is after your workouts. The key to understanding Nutrient Timing is understanding when your body is in need of particular nutrients.
- My personal nutrient timing: I come out of my intermittent fast one of two ways
- I have a Beet Juice (black cherry flavored & naturally sweetened shake with a scoop of collogen protein "pre-workout", then I workout, and eat a slice of homemade bread with honey and a protein shake "post-workout"
- or: I have protein (typically grilled chicken breast) and veggies for my first meal. This is then followed by the above #1 prior to my workout.
Soon I hope to start putting together a few workout ideas for everyone to help you get started, if you haven't already, on your fitness journey.
Dr. MJ Wegmann,
Dr. Kallie Wegmann and Dr. Chelsea Bachelor bring you the latest in health, fitness, wellness & prevention and science-based spine research.