Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Anti-Aging Breakthrough

The anti-aging industry has seen incredible growth over the last 10 years.  According to several reports the industry is projected to exceed $115 billion in 2010.  The newest science behind anti-aging is focusing its attention on the speed of chromosome shortening and the affect of critical hormones.  It is now recognized that certain lifestyle behaviors do influence the key hormones and genetic components that allow us to age with grace and beauty.     
There are 75 trillion cells within the human body.  The function and aging process of each of these cells dictates the function and aging process of our body.  Each cell contains a nucleus with 2 chromosomal (arms) that contain your DNA.  Each chromosomal arm is made up of about 100 million protein bases.  At the very top of each end of the chromosome is the telomere.
The average telomere is about 15,000 bases long at conception.  As we develop in the womb, the process of cellular division begins.  As the cells divide the telomeres begin to shorten.  During the 9 month gestation period we lose 5,000 bases.  So by the time we are born we are already down to 10,000 bases.  According to the most cutting edge new theory on aging your telomere length will dictate your aging process and eventual death.  Once your telomeres reduce down to about 5,000 bases your DNA can no longer support life.  
Based on normal cellular division, the human lifespan should be approximately 120 years. If the cell divides at an abnormally high level, however, the telomere shortening process accelerates and we essentially age faster.    Several factors play a significant role in cell division and telomere shortening.  This process is about 30% related to the genetic foundation we have inherited and 70% is based upon our lifestyle habits.  
Lifestyle factors that increase free radicals accelerate the aging process.  Free radicals caused by oxidative stress cleave bases off of the telomeres.  This chemical reaction speeds up the telomere shortening process. Our modern culture is inundated with lifestyle toxins that create massive amounts of oxidative stress throughout our system.  We are also highly deficient in using resources and strategies that enhance our anti-oxidant defenses that fend off the free radicals.
Insulin and growth hormone are two key hormones that are associated with the aging process.  Elevated insulin levels increase cellular division and telomere shortening.  Researchers have estimated that over 80% of the US population has some level of insulin resistance.  When the cells are resistant to insulin our pancreas has to secrete more insulin in order to lower blood sugar.   This creates chronically elevated insulin and accelerated cellular division and telomere shortening.
Growth hormone (HGH) enhances the cellular repair processes that allow us to age with grace.  HGH regulates metabolism to burn fat, build muscle, and slow-down the negative effects of stress.  Another important characteristic of HGH is that it enhances collagen production and repair.  Healthy collagen creates softer skin, reduces wrinkles, and enhances one's complexion.  Additionally, this strengthens and supports our joints as they age.   Most people see their HGH levels decline with age, however, certain lifestyle modification help to maximize HGH secretion throughout life.  
Healthy Aging Tips:1.       Eat a diet low in carbs & high in nutrient-dense superfoods
2.       Drink your body weight in ounces of pure water daily.
3.       Do high-intensity exercise for short periods of time daily
4.       Get ample time outside soaking up the sun daily.5.       Be asleep by 11pm and get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.
6.       Maintain good posture & get chiropractic care to maximize your nervous system's self-healing capabilities.7.       Reduce exposure to toxins - do a daily & quarterly detox
8.       Maximize the peace and relationships in your life.
9.       Take time each day to breathe deeply.

10.     Keep your mind focused on gratitude for everything.
11.     Live your life with a high level of integrity & humility.
12.     Ask God to show you the purpose He created you for and pursue that with everything you have. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get Fit with Surge Training

A surge refers to an activity or event that is quick and of high intensity.  A glacier surge is a short-lived event where a glacier can move up to velocities 100 times faster than normal.  An electrical surge is a very short but intense spike in voltage. 
Surge training is a new form of exercise that refers to a high-intensity spike in energy output for a short period of time.  Research has shown that this form of exercise boosts metabolism and reverses aging more effectively than any other form of exercise or body movement.    

Surge training forces the body into an extreme anaerobic state where the vast majority of the energy being utilized is in the form of stored sugar or glycogen.  Fat metabolism depends on the presence of oxygen whereas sugar can be burned without oxygen.  High-intensity training puts the body into a state of "oxygen-debt," where fat cannot be burned and glycogen is the primary fuel source.  After a typical bout of surge training the body has utilized a majority of its glycogen and switches its metabolic preference over to burn fat.  Research has shown this "after-burn" can last anywhere from 24-36 hours after the bout of exercise.   
Surge training also impacts our hormones in a desirable way.  The oxygen debt and increase in lactic acid as a byproduct of anaerobic exercise signals the anterior pituitary gland to secrete human growth hormone (HGH).  HGH is considered the quintessential anti-aging hormone.  It is known to help build muscle & bone density, burn fat, and stimulate our immune system.  In addition, it also helps joint function by repairing cartilage, ligaments, & tendons.  It also helps prevent and reverse wrinkles by supporting the dermis in the formation of healthier skin.  A lifestyle consisting of regular bouts of surge training, a nutrient-dense diet, healthy neurological function, and good sleeping habits has been shown to maximize HGH secretion at any age. 

Surge training has been shown to enhance testosterone secretion as well.  Testosterone is a critical hormone for both men and women.  Both sexes often have reduced testosterone levels as they age.  Optimizing testosterone levels is critical for a healthy physique, libido, & cancer prevention.  New research has shown that optimal testosterone levels are essential for healthy memory and cognitive function.  High-intensity, anaerobic exercise that uses large muscle groups is the premier way to naturally enhance & optimize testosterone levels.
Other Benefits of Surge Training vs. Traditional Aerobic Exercise:
           Only takes 10-15 mins daily                          
           Gives you an INCREDIBLE pump
            Increases muscle strength
            Increases HDL, decreases LDL & triglycerides
            Stabilizes resting blood pressure      
            Revs up metabolism to burn more calories
            Burns fat while you sleep
            Increases heart & lung power

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

21st Century Weight Loss

New Concepts For A New Age of Understanding:
As time passes and new discoveries are made, older ideas and concepts wash by the wayside as new and more progressive understandings of how the body's systems are applied.  This is certainly true for the health, fitness, & weight loss industry. 

20th Century Weight Loss Myth:   Fat makes you Fat
This idea was sparked in large part due to the calorie model which stated that we needed to burn more calories than we consumed in order to effectively lose weight. Because fat contains 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories in carb/protein, fat was thought to be the easiest thing to remove from the diet. 

This false, yet widespread belief created a "Fat Phobia," where the health conscious looked to avoid fat at all costs.  Where fat was used; it was often the cheap, inferior vegetable oils rather than the rich, nutritious animal and plant fats. 

Result:  The low fat diet craze focused on a heavy carbohydrate based diet.  These carbohydrates all broke down into sugar and triggered certain hormonal reactions in our body that turned us into sugar burning, fat storing machines.  In addition, this reduction in healthy fat consumption created severe fatty acid deficiencies, and massive hormonal, cognitive, and mood altering problems (since the brain and hormones are primarily made up of fat).  
In response, the pharmaceutical demand for synthetic hormones, hormone replacements, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medications went through the roof. In addition, people did not effectively lose weight, in fact, they often got even heavier.

21st Century Weight Loss:  Hormones control weight gain/loss and the body's ability to burn fat.  If we want to be lean, trim, & strong then we need to be mindful of these hormones, their pervasiveness & influence on bodily tissues. 

Pro-Inflammatory, Fat Storage Hormones: Insulin & Cortisol    

Insulin:  The major storage hormone of the body.  Insulin triggers sugar to be stored in muscle and liver cells, once these cells are full, the rest of the sugar gets stored as fat. High circulating insulin levels also trigger inflammatory pathways in the body, increase cellular reproduction, and inhibit tumor destroying mechanisms.  These reactions allow cancerous cells to grow rapidly. 

Naturally, insulin should increase slowly during food consumption, taper and diminish 2 hours after the meal.  However, when we consume high glycemic foods, insulin levels spike rapidly to quickly remove blood sugar. This quickly causes a stress response in the body, initiating the inflammatory cascade.  High glycemic load foods such as whole grains are thought to be healthier, but they still cause a large increase in insulin that is slower than high glycemic index foods, but lasts for a longer duration.  The chronically heavy consumption of these carbohydrate rich foods will cause insulin levels to be elevated on a consistent basis.

Cortisol;  Released during times of stress, cortisol is designed, along with the catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine), to give us an instant surge of energy.  It does so by releasing stored glucose within the liver and muscle cells for fuel utilization.  Naturally, cortisol should peak during the waking hours of the morning and taper as the day goes on.  However, when our body is under chronic physical, chemical, or emotional stress cortisol levels remain elevated during the course of the day, wreaking havoc on our body.  Elevated cortisol advances our aging process by promoting inflammation and breaking down proteins necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails, joints, & organs.     

Anti-Inflammatory, Fat Burning Hormones: Leptin, Testosterone & Growth Hormone

Leptin:  The antithesis to cortisol & insulin, leptin is released by the fat cells as they begin to enlarge and signals the hunger center in the hypothalamus to turn off, giving the individual a sense of satiety.  Leptin also stimulates a fat burning reaction in the body. The receptor sites in the hypothalamus are very sensitive to inflammatory mediators (cytokines) that when provoked will compete and alter the leptin receptors. 
The Modern Day Problem:  Our food guide pyramid emphasizes the consumption of cereals and grains, skim milk (lots of lactose sugars), and all kinds of supposedly healthy cereal bars, etc. that are loaded with high glycemic index/load foods that stimulate our body to burn sugar (glucose) as fuel. 

With elevated sugar comes the release of insulin to lower the blood sugar and fill up the liver, muscle, and fat cells.  High glycemic index (lots of glucose immediately) and load foods (lots of glucose released over a period of time), naturally stimulate the need for lots of insulin.  This causes a large burden on the pancreas to produce enough insulin.  Also, since insulin naturally stimulates the inflammatory pathway, cytokines interact with the leptin receptors in the hypothalamus causing a desensitivity in the leptin response of satiety and fat burning. 

This series of reactions swings our body into sugar burning mode.  Once insulin is finished lowering blood sugar, cortisol is released from the adrenal cortex to elevate blood sugar again (by metabolizing stores sugars in the muscle/liver and breaking down key proteins), which then releases more insulin causing blood sugar to dip and the pattern continues. 
This insulin/cortisol tag-team continues to dominate our body until either a healthy fat/moderate protein meal is eaten, physical nerve stress is removed, or appropriate burst training exercise is performed to lower stress, balance blood sugar levels, & stimulate growth hormone and testosterone.

Eventually the insulin/cortisol reaction will continue to wreak daily havoc until we teach our bodies through proper nutrition, detox, exercise, postural, & breathing patterns to burn fat more effectively.  For most this will take a period of time as the hypothalamus must undergo a period of healing to allow the leptin receptors to take their rightful place and the cellular insulin receptors to regain sensitivity.  . 

Cellular Healing Diet = Healing Leptin/Insulin Receptors

The healing diet is the advanced nutritional protocol for quieting down the inflammatory cascade and allowing the body to regain its natural sensitivity to these critical metabolic hormones.  The healing diet is highly beneficial for about 60% of the population, including anyone who has:
  High Triglycerides
  High Blood Pressure
  High Glucose/Insulin/Leptin
  Genetics/Blood Type:  Blood type O, & protein types
  Anyone who wants to lose a significant amount of weight

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Digestive Health

Whether you know it or not, like it or not, your body houses about 10 times the number of bacteria than it has cells in the body.   There are estimated to be close to a quadrillion bacteria compared to the 75 trillion cells that make up the body.  If you were to truly analyze the human body from a microscopic point of view, you would probably think we were just a large reservoir for microbial life.  We are in essence, 5 star microbial hotels, complete with room service, cable, swimming pool, & a fitness center.

The next time you get on the scale, you can rest assured that 2-3 pounds that are registering are not you...they are the bacteria you are hosting!  In fact, we host over 500 different species of bacteria with some of these being classified as good and others being bad.  In other terms, we have a symbiotic relationship (life enhancing for both parties) with some and a parasitic (life-stealing) relationship with others.  The correct ratio for health and wellness is considered to be about 85% good to 15% bad.
In utero, the fetus is completely devoid of microbes.  However, the child's first (and perhaps most important) meal comes as it heads down the birth canal, which is full of bacteria.  These microorganisms make their way onto the newborn's skin, eyes, & mouth as the baby pushes through the vaginal walls.  From that moment on, every mother's kiss, every swaddling blanket, carries on it more of these special critters, which are introduced into the baby's system.
By about the age of 2, most of a person's microbial community is established. Amazingly, just small differences in our microflora may have a big impact on the genetic expression of the individual.  Factors, such as maternal health, early childhood nutrition, nervous system function, and antibiotic usage play a gigantic role in the maturity of the gut flora.  Experts believe that the critical colonization period happens in the first few years, which explains why the microflora fingerprints of adult twins, who shared an intimate environment (and a mother) in childhood, more closely resemble each other than they do those of their spouses, with whom they became intimate later in life.
Most of the bacteria reside in our digestive system and play an enormous role in the digestive process, allowing nutrients to be easily assimilated into our systems. These probiotic organisms also help clean up toxic debris and contaminating food particles in our gastro-intestinal tract.  They produce vitamins, in particular thiamine, pyroxidine and vitamin K. These little friends of ours also create the enzymes necessary to metabolize cholesterol and bile acid. Finally, they are absolutely necessary for us to digest complex plant polysaccharides, the fiber found in grains, fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be indigestible. 

Our immune system is also very much dependent on these microbial beings to compete with the virulent strains of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, & fungus who would love to take control.  These parties fight over nutrition and attachment sites on various cells in the colon tissue.  If the pathogenic strains take over they steal nutrients, destroy cells, release toxins into the blood stream and create massive inflammatory responses from our immune system.  An improper microflora balance most often leads to disruptions in digestive, immune, & neurological function leading to a variety of pathological processes. 

The gut bacteria live within the mucus membrane that surrounds the epithelial tissue of the intestine.  This layer of mucus is called "biofilm."  Within the biofilm, the bacteria produce certain vibrations which communicate with the intestinal epithelium and throughout the body.  These vibrations stimulate a healthy immune response that affects all of the major tissues and regions.  This is the reason for the ingestion of probiotic bacteria to affect nasal, & vaginal health. 
Our diet & lifestyle have a powerful affect on the microbial balance in our gut. Throughout the ages, every traditional culture has fermented foods to add "life" and longevity to the dish.  Ancient Rome used sauerkraut at nearly every big meal.   In India, they enjoy a pre-dinner drink called a lassi, which is basically a raw, fully cultured yogurt drink. At the end of the meal, they'd have a small serving of raw, cultured curd.
These Indian traditions were based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.  Other examples are all around us. Bulgarians are known both for their longevity and their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir. In Asian cultures, pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots still exist today.