Sleep is critical in the well being of all animals, such that animals deprived entirely of sleep lose immune function and die in just a matter of weeks. Further, many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. The Institute of Medicine estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for fully 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. That would mean that drowsy driving causes approximately 1 million crashes, 500,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Lack of sleep exacts a toll on perception and judgment. In the workplace, its effects can be seen in reduced efficiency and productivity, errors, and accidents. Just one week of sleeping fewer than six hours a night resulted in changes to more than 700 genes, and even one night of sleep deprivation is linked with brain tissue loss.
Sleep hygiene’ is the term used to describe good sleep habits. Sleep hygiene guidelines are designed to enhance good sleeping, and provide long-term solutions to sleep difficulties, without the use of medications. Medications used to treat insomnia tend to be effective in the short-term. Ongoing use of sleeping pills may lead to dependence and interfere with developing good sleep habits, prolonging sleep difficulties. Most sleep medications simply make the patient amnestic to their poor sleep, and do not result in restful or restorative sleep. Restorative sleep is essential in hormone production, stress control, cardiometabolic health and treatment of obesity.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
Have a bedtime. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off! This regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your body something to work from.
Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time awake in bed. Do not nap outside the sleep time.
Get up & try again. If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again. Sit quietly on the couch with the lights off (bright light will tell your brain that it is time to wake up), or read something boring like the phone book. Avoid doing anything that is too stimulating or interesting, as this will wake you up even more. Don’t turn on the television, get on the phone or computer, or listen to the radio.
Avoid caffeine & nicotine. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) or nicotine (cigarettes) for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. These substances act as stimulants and interfere with the ability to fall asleep. Do not exercise 3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid alcohol. It is also best to avoid alcohol for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. Many people believe that alcohol is relaxing and helps them to get to sleep at first, but it actually interrupts the quality of sleep.
The bed is for sleeping. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping and sex, so that your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop, pay bills, and other things, your body will not learn this connection.
No naps. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for less than an hour and before 3pm.
Sleep rituals. You can develop your own rituals of things to remind your body that it is time to sleep – some people find it useful to do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed each night, or sit calmly with a cup of caffeine-free tea.
Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can be useful, as it will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops again. Research shows that sleepiness is associated with a drop in body temperature.
No clock-watching. Many people who struggle with sleep tend to watch the clock too much. Frequently checking the clock during the night can wake you up (especially if you turn on the light to read the time) and reinforces negative thoughts such as “Oh no, look how late it is, I’ll never get to sleep” or “it’s so early, I have only slept for 5 hours, this is terrible. ”
Use a sleep diary. This worksheet can be a useful way of making sure you have the right facts about your sleep, rather than making assumptions. Because a diary involves watching the clock (see point 10) it is a good idea to only use it for two weeks to get an idea of what is going and then perhaps two months down the track to see how you are progressing. The point of the sleep diary is NOT to create a log of complaints to share.
Regular exercise is a good idea to help with good sleep, but try not to do strenuous exercise in the 3 hours before bedtime. Morning walks are a great way to start the day feeling refreshed!
Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet will help you to sleep well, but timing is important. Some people find that a very empty stomach at bedtime is distracting, so it can be useful to have a light snack, but a heavy meal soon before bed can also interrupt sleep. Some people recommend a warm glass of milk, which contains tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer.
The right space. It is very important that your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable for sleeping. A cooler room with enough blankets to stay warm is best, and make sure you have curtains or an eyemask to block out early morning light and earplugs if there is noise outside your room. Background noise or white noise improves the ambiance and will reduce wake cycles.
Keep daytime routine the same. Even if you have a bad night sleep and are tired, it is important that you try to keep your daytime activities the same as you had planned. That is, don’t avoid activities because you feel tired. This can reinforce the insomnia.
Get regular exposure to outdoor or bright lights, especially in the late afternoon. Use blackout curtains in the bedroom to eliminate light in the bedroom during bedtime. Turn off or cover all sources of light in the bedroom.
Don’t take another person’s sleeping pills or over-the-counter pills. Taking over-the-counter sleeping pills causes rapid development of tolerance. Diphenhydramine (an ingredient commonly found in over-the-counter sleep meds) can have serious side effects for elderly patients.
Designate another time to write down problems & possible solutions in the late afternoon or early evening, not close to bedtime. Do not dwell on any one thought or idea—merely jot something down and put the idea aside.
While there is a clear genetic predisposition for some individuals to develop autoimmune disorders, there are also significant environmental interactions, with a near epidemic rise in autoimmune disorders and food allergies in the industrialized world occurring in less than fifty years. Access to clean water, safe food, sanitation, and modern medical care in the last century has led to a near elimination of parasitic infections in modern cultures. Unfortunately, improved sanitation has also been closely associated with an increase in hypersensitivity and autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s, and peanut allergies. It should be noted that tropical and subtropical parts of the world with poor sanitation have high numbers of people with ongoing parasitic infection and extremely low incidences of inflammatory diseases. Additionally when immigrants relocate to the western world with its pristine sanitation, the next generation develops autoimmune disorders and food allergies similar to the industrialized world.
The “hygiene hypothesis,” suggests that parasitic worms fine tune the human immune systems and protect against allergies and autoimmune diseases. Parasites have co-evolved to manipulate their environments so they can live and reproduce without causing the illness or death of their host. By mediating the immune system’s attack against them, parasites can live and reproduce comfortably. Parasites release substances that interact with the host’s chemistry, and the human immune system has slowly adapted to the presence of certain intestinal parasites. By removing the worms and the inhibitory effect that they have on inflammation, the human body can overproduce inflammatory agents, resulting in autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune reactions occur when the immune system launches an attack at something that is not harmful, either a substance in the environment or the individual’s own tissues. Exposure to certain organisms in our natural environment teaches the human immune system which things it needs to respond to and which things it can safely ignore. Exposure to helminthic parasites triggers the fine-tuning of the immune system and teaches it to tolerate the parasite, as well as some overlapping antigens seen in Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s and peanut allergies. If the immune system is never exposed to helminths and other fecal microorganisms, it doesn’t mature properly and resulting in an exaggerated response, and development of allergies and autoimmune diseases.
Other autoimmune mediated diseases that may be reduced by parasitic infections include Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, atherosclerosis, some cancers, eczema, hay fever, Parkinson’s disease, type one diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
The use of helminthic therapy with hookworm and TSO is being currently investigated. Data suggests that Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s and severe peanut allergies all benefit from induced parasitic infections.
We traditionally think of bacteria as dirty, something we want to keep outside of our bodies. Intestinal bacteria are very important for digestion; they break complex fiber polysaccharides (sugar molecules connected to each other), into simple absorbable sugars by a process called fermentation, converting nutrients into calories. The large intestine houses over 1400 species of bacteria, numbering over 100 trillion. Reality is that the human body contains ten times more microbial cells than human cells, and the human body is dependent upon the genetic information encoded in these bacterial cells for specific metabolic pathways.
Our microbial partners have coevolved with us, in a beneficial (symbiotic) relationships, involving nutrient sharing. The ability to store energy would be a beneficial attribute for ancient humans, who had variable access to food, and when nutrient dense food supply was available, consuming it and storing it would benefit both the human and its bacterial symbiotes later when food supplies were diminished. However, in modern, developed societies, where there is ready access to large-portion, high-calorie diets, this “benefit” becomes a detriment, and we develop a previously rare condition (historically seen in the wealthy) called over nutrition, over storage, or obesity
Obese individuals have a different mix of bacteria in their guts than thin people. The ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (called the F/B ratio) is higher in obese people than in lean people, and it drops as those people lose weight. Both Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria are involved in complex polysaccharide breakdown, but Firmicutes are much more efficient than Bacteroidetes bacteria, and having more Firmicutes bacteria in our gut makes more energy available, leading to increased caloric intake and eventually obesity. Firmicutes overload is also associated slowed intestinal motility [chronic constipation].
In studies of genetically identical twins, bacterial populations have been found to differ, depending on whether the twin is lean or obese, with much higher level of Firmicutes in the obese twins. In obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery, colonic bacteria change to become more like those of normal-weight individuals after the operation, reducing their Firmicutes levels.
Antibiotic over utilization may also indiscriminately eradicate the beneficial bacteria in your gut along with the bad ones. Conventional farmed meats are doped with antibiotics, with nearly 50-70% of all antibiotics produced in the United States used on healthy livestock to promote growth and weight gain in the animal feed. Consuming these antibiotic-laden meats may be a significant factor enhancing growth and weight in the human population [obesity] as well. This further stresses the importance of eating grass-fed and organically raised meats of all kinds.
The amazing thing to keep in mind is that you can rapidly change your gut bacteria within 72 hours, to a healthy ratio, simply by immediately eliminating refined carbohydrates and increasing your fiber intake. Supplements of “get thin bacteria” will soon be available as well.
Obesity is among the most important medical problems in the United States today. Currently, 1 in 4 children and 1 in 2 adults are overweight, and prevalence rates that have increased by 50% since the 1960s. The Federal government and various official medical agencies, at the behest of grain producers, have advocated decreasing intake of total fat, while increasing consumption of “complex carbohydrate.” Consumption of carbohydrates has increased over the years, and the nation’s levels of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease have dramatically risen. Americans, on average, eat 250 to 300 grams of carbs a day, accounting for about 55% of their caloric intake.
All carbohydrates (a category including sugars) convert to sugar in the blood, and the more refined the carbs are, the quicker the conversion. When you eat a glazed doughnut or a serving of mashed potatoes, it turns into blood sugar very quickly. To manage the blood sugar, the pancreas produces insulin, which pushes glucose from the blood stream into cell to be used for energy conversion or storage.
When cells become more resistant to those insulin instructions, the pancreas needs to make more insulin to push the same amount of glucose into cells. As people become insulin resistant, carbs become a bigger challenge for the body. When the pancreas gets exhausted and can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the glucose in the blood, diabetes develops
The first sign of insulin resistance is a condition called metabolic syndrome — a red flag for impending diabetes and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome (found in nearly 1/4 of adults) is diagnosed when people have three or more of the following:
high blood triglycerides (more than 150 mg)
high blood pressure (over 135/85)
central obesity (a waist circumference in men of more than 40 inches and in women, more than 35 inches)
low HDL cholesterol (under 40 in men, under 50 in women)
elevated fasting glucose.
Glycemic Index measures the “effect of food on blood glucose levels.” It is a ranking of foods based on the how quickly the blood sugar levels will increase after ingestion. A low glycemic food gives a slow increase in blood sugar levels. A high glycemic index food gives a more rapid rise in blood sugar levels.
GI is specifically defined as the measurable glucose response curve after consumption of 50 g carbohydrate from a test food, divided by the response after consumption of 50 g glucose.
The GI for glucose would be defined as 100.
High GIs are above 50
Intermediate GIs range between 35 and 50
Low GIs are below or equal to 35
[learn_more caption=”High Glycemic Index Foods (GI>50)”]
In general, refined grain products and potato have a high GI, exceeding that of table sugar by up to 50%, whereas most vegetables, fruits and legumes have a low GI. Other factors including carbohydrate type, fiber, protein, fat, food form and method of preparation, determine the GI of a particular food.
According to data from the Department of Agriculture, >80% of the carbohydrate currently consumed by children ages 2–18 has a GI equal to or greater than that of table sugar. Moreover, carbohydrate absorption rate (and therefore GI) is increased after a low fat meal because fat acts to delay gastric emptying.
The rapid absorption of glucose from the high GI meal results in a high insulin secretion; which promotes uptake of glucose in muscle, liver and fat tissue and inhibits fat breakdown (lipolysis). In the post absorptive period, a transient hypoglycemia ensues, with blood sugars falling below normal due to high insulin, resulting in hunger and agitation. In some individuals, this may cause tremendous anxiety, which may create a feedback loop of carbohydrate addiction. Experimental evidence also suggests that elevated insulin levels, even just for 48–72-h period (in the presence of normal or reduced blood sugar levels) decreases insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects creating a diabetic effect of insulin resistance.
Without a doubt, high GI foods elicit (calorie for calorie) higher insulin levels than low GI foods. In humans, high acute insulin secretion after intravenous glucose tolerance tests predicts weight gain. High insulin levels also reduce Growth Hormone levels, which may reduce metabolic rate. Hormonal responses to a high GI diet stimulate hunger and favor storage of fat, which promotes excessive weight gain.
The LiveHealthProtocol dietary recommendation is designed to lower the insulin response to ingested carbohydrate (low GI), which improves access to stored metabolic fuels, decreases hunger, and promotes weight loss. The LiveHealthProtocol recommends abundant quantities of vegetables, and fruits, moderate amounts of protein and healthful fats, and decreased intake of refined grain products, potato and concentrated sugars.
Milk products (whey protein) have a GI which is low, but have paradoxic high insulinemic index (release high amounts of insulin). Milk products appear insulinotropic as judged from 3-fold to 6-fold higher insulinemic indexes than expected from the corresponding glycemic indexes. So even if you are consuming a low GI milk product, from the insulin standpoint it is a very high load.
Starchy fruits increase their Glycemic Index depending on ripeness. Green bananas have low GI of 40 but when they are ripen it will raise to 65.
Glycemic Load [GL] relates the GI to the amount of carbohydrate eaten in a normal serving or in 100 grams. It measures the total amount of carbohydrate, and is decreased by fiber consumption.
Serotonin release in the brain controls functions such as sleep onset, pain sensitivity, blood pressure regulation, and control of mood. Serotonin-releasing neurons are unique in that the amount of neurotransmitter they release is normally controlled by food intake: Carbohydrate consumption–acting via insulin secretion and the “plasma tryptophan ratio”–increases serotonin release dramatically (by enhancing the brain uptake of its precursor, tryptophan). Elevated serotonin causes significant mood enhancement and a generalized sense of contentedness. Patients learn to overeat carbohydrates (particularly snack foods and drinks, like soda, potato chips or pastries, which are rich in carbohydrates) to make themselves feel better.
Self-medication with carbohydrate rich foods as though they were drugs is a frequent cause of weight gain, and is often seen:
In patients who become fat when exposed to stress
In women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
In patients with “winter depression” (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
In people who are attempting to give up smoking. (Nicotine increases brain serotonin secretion; nicotine withdrawal has the opposite effect causing cravings.)
As a consequence of chronic patterned carbohydrate consumption causing hardwired changes in neurons, such that there are cravings and feelings of withdrawal when carbohydrates are withheld
Carbohydrate load is so closely linked to addiction, that the Glycemic Index (GI) of specific carbohydrates correlates closely with their relative addictive strength and activates addiction neural pathways.
The take home message, carbohydrates are an addiction. Carbohydrate consumption promotes neurochemical changes, which reinforce additional carbohydrate consumption. There is now evidence that carbohydrate binging is akin to heroin addiction, with the cravings for carbohydrates reduced by opiates and more interestingly, carbohydrate cravings dramatically increased during opiate withdrawal. Unfortunately, carbohydrate addiction will definitely make you fat.
Obese people have, on average, eight percent less brain tissue than people of normal weight, according to a new study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping. Even overweight people have four percent less brain tissue than their normal-weight peers. Obesity is independently associated with poor educational attainment and may be responsible for the cognitive deficiency manifested in lower intelligence test scores (IQ). Excessive body weight gain has a shrinking and aging effect on the brain with a reduction in measureable IQ, in addition to the previously recognized increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The terminology of obesity and ever weight is defined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the Body Mass Index (BMI). Obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 30, and overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9.
The new study showed that age, gender, and race don’t matter. MRI brain scans of obese people revealed that their brains are smaller (atrophy) and appeared to be 16 years older than brains of lean people. The brains of overweight people appeared to be 8 years older. The presence of brain shrinkage is associated with dementia and depletes cognitive reserves in later years, which puts you at greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain.
The primary areas of the brain affected include the frontal and temporal lobes, which are responsible for planning and memory.
The mechanisms which links obesity to gray matter atrophy (brain shrinkage) include:
Reduced blood flow to brain due to blood vessel shrinkage
Reduced perfusion due to hypertension and loss of vessel elasticity
Toxic xenoestrogens released from excessive adipose tissue
Insulin resistance with chronically elevated blood glucose, leading to glycation, inflammation, and protein degradation
Expansion of the penumbra zones (enlargement of the stroke zone), possibly even with micro strokes or silent strokes.
This lack of blood flow to the brain causes cell and tissue death resulting in brain shrinkage. Interestingly, the research also showed that regular, vigorous exercise has the reverse effect. Physical activity can actually conserve brain tissue, which further supports the idea that blood flow is at least partly responsible for the maintenance or shrinkage of our brains. Of course, exercise also helps greatly in preventing obesity and its related conditions and risks.
According to the World Health Organization, a poor dietary habit with reliance on convenience and processed foods significantly contributes to obesity. The lack of portion size control is a particular problem in the United States, where “Super Sizing” every restaurant meal has contributed to our expanding waistlines. Additionally, food engineering and tremendous food diversity titillates our taste buds into over consumption.
These new study results highlight the importance of exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet of fresh, whole foods and limiting your portion sizes. Not only will these healthy habits go a long way towards maintaining your weight and reducing the risks associated with obesity, they can help you maintain a healthy brain – which will end up affecting much more than how you look.
If you thought the only dangers of smoking were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and lung cancer, think again. New studies now link the expensive (financially and health-wise) habit with new concerns.
One recent paper, “Smoking History and Cognitive Function in Middle Age From the Whitehall II Study,” appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Head investigator, Séverine Sabia, MSc—from the Institut National de la Santé and de la Recherche Médicale in Villejuif, France— looked at recent discussions linking smoking with dementia, considered related through the effect smoking has on vascular disease.
The Whitehall II study evaluated over 10,000 participants, aged 35-55 (at baseline, phase 1, 1985-1988). Assessments were made on smoking history at both phase 1 and phase 5 (1997-1999). Among the group, 25% were light smokers (≤ 5 cigarettes per day) and 25% were heavy smokers (1-2 packs per day). Smokers had an average of 14 cigarettes daily; only 27 participants smoked over two packs a day.
Cognitive data (memory, reasoning, vocabulary and semantic/phonemic fluency) were available for 5,388 study subjects at phase 5—when participants were 45-68 years old/mean age 55.5. Of those, 4,659 were retested 5 years later for phase 7, when study subjects were 50-74 years old/mean age 61
• Smoking was associated with greater risk of poor memory.
• After adjustments at phase 5, smokers had a 37% higher risk for cognitive decline.
• Long-term ex-smokers (stopped prior to study) demonstrated a 30% lower risk for poor cognition (vocabulary decline and reduced verbal fluency)—possibly due to health behavior improvements.
• Positive midlife health changes (better nutrition, exercise, alcohol consumption, etc.) and smoking cessation were linked.
• Middle-aged smokers are more likely to be lost to follow-up by death or through nonparticipation in cognitive tests. Therefore, the smoking-decline cognition link could be undervalued.
• Additional research indicates that mild cognitive decline continues at an accelerated rate to clinically diagnosed dementia.
• A 2007 meta-analysis of 19 studies of over 26,000 elderly (mean age 74) demonstrated that current smoking increased risk for dementia and cognitive decline by 40%-80%, depending upon measure employed.
• A ten-year study of over 3,600 Australians demonstrated a four-fold increased risk of age-related macular degeneration compared to non-smokers.
• A June 2008 study showed that smokers have higher all-cause mortality, equivalent to a non-smoker 5-10 years older.
The excuse of weight gain: One objection smokers often give for not quitting is weight gain. That may be true for light smokers (less than one pack per day), but heavy smokers (greater than one pack per day) tend to have other associated health habits, such as weighing more and having an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The bottom line: Smoking shows no benefits on any level.
Smoking is counterproductive to healthy aging. You can stay active, alert, lean and healthy with established protocols, shown to improve cognitive function and physical/sexual energy as well as enhance libido and body composition (lean muscle mass, reduced body fat), strengthen your immune system and ability to manage stress.
Optimizing fat burning while simultaneously building muscle should be the goal of any effective exercise program, the critical linkage between exercise and the food we eat is ATP. This article describes the importance of understanding what ATP is, and how different foods are converted to ATP, and when different fuels (protein, carbohydrate, or fat) are used for energy. Understanding these concepts provides the blueprint for the LiveHealthProtocol.com diet and exercise guidelines.
I frequently talk to patients about the foods they eat, and how it impacts their health. I think its very important to understand that converting food to usable energy is far more than simply chewing big pieces of food, which are digested into small pieces, and used directly by the cells. Your body does not directly take the food particles it consumes and transfers them to your cells for metabolism. It converts these particles to fundamental substrates, which are then converted to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the actual fuel for your cells.
(Other substrates are used for structural growth and for cofactors, as well as immune recognition purposes; but the apple you eat does not become a little apple that your cells consume, it instead converts to sugars, proteins, and fats which are metabolized to ATP, which power your cells.)
The universal currency for life is ATP, the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. ATP functions like a tiny battery debit card, an ATP molecule consists of adenosine and three negatively charged inorganic phosphate groups when it is fully charged and ADP (adenosine diphosphate) when it has released its energy and has only two phosphates.
Recharging ADP to ATP requires fuel substrates, which is the converted food that you eat, whether it be protein, carbohydrate, or fat. The exact recharging is coupled to the molecular destruction of Carbon bonds, similar to gasoline combustion in your car.
The recharging of ADP to ATP is what couples the food you consume to usable energy, the discharging of ATP to ADP transfers energy to usable cellular function for either chemical or mechanical reactions. Available ATP (and Phospho Creatine- a related Phosphate storage bank in muscle) is depleted within 15 seconds of vigorous exercise.
Substrate to ATP
There are three significant fuel sources or substrates of energy to reform ATP from ADP.
Carbohydrates are metabolized to glucose, which quickly regenerates ADP to ATP through a process called glycolysis. Consumed carbohydrates are directly available as glucose, or excessive consumed carbohydrates are stored in muscle and liver as glycogen for later reconversion to glucose. (Excessive carbohydrates in the presence of insulin are also converted to fat in fat cells.) Use of carbohydrates for energy does not require large amounts of oxygen and can occur even during anaerobic conditioning. Production of lactate and lactic acid occur with use of carbohydrates for fuel. Available carbohydrates provide energy to recharge ATP for the first 45-60 seconds of high intensity therapeutic exercise.
Fat is a slow energy release form, typically stored in fat cells. Lipolysis is the term used to describe the breakdown of fat (triglycerides) into the more basic units of glycerol and free fatty acids, which then undergo beta-oxidation. Combustion of fatty acid molecules produces significantly more ATP, compared to glucose molecules. However, because fatty acids consist of more carbon atoms than glucose, they require more oxygen for their combustion. Fatty acids are oxidized by most of the tissues in the body; except, the brain, red blood cells, and the adrenal medulla. It is a huge storage reservoir, but is too slowly released for immediate energy utilization. Lipolysis provides energy after the first 60 seconds of exercise, but only effectively in the presence of large amounts of oxygen.
Protein can also be used as an energy source, but it must first be broken down to amino acids before being converted to glucose. Protein is thought to make only a small contribution (< 5%) to energy production, but up to 18% of total energy requirements during long strenuous activity, sometimes characterized as rhabdomyolysis.
The Physicians’ Health Study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA) reveals that as little as seven extra pounds combined with little or no exercise can significantly increase your risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Regardless of the level of activity, higher body mass index equates to higher heart failure risk.
Even modestly overweight men had increased heart risk—a risk that increased with excess pounds.
Every 7 pounds of excess weight equated to a 11% increased heart risk in the 20 year study—1 kg/m2 increase in BMI, men over 5’10” tall in a multivariate analysis.
Overweight study participants had a 49% heart failure increase.
Obese study participants had a 180% heart failure increase.
18% reduction in heart failure risk in active men—with one to three times per month of physical activity.
36% reduction in heart failure in higher activity men—those with five to seven times per week of physical activity.
A higher BMI increased heart failure risk in both active and inactive men, the “beneficial effect of vigorous physical activity in reducing the risk of heart failure was observed in lean, overweight and also obese men.” The American Heart Association says: Healthy adults ages 18-65 should get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days per week.
Couch potatoes—physically inactive people—are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
Two-thirds of Americans have excess body weight—and about only 30% exercise regularly.
660,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
80% of men and 75% of women aged 65 and older diagnosed with heart failure die within eight years.
Too much belly fat ups risk for other health problems: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Women with excess body fat are at higher risk of heart disease — even if they don’t have other risk factors.
Even just walking 30 minutes a day can . . .
Reduce coronary heart disease risk
Reduce the risk on non-insulin dependant [Type 2] diabetes
Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Improve blood lipid profile
Maintain body weight and reduce your risk of obesity
Enhance mental well-being
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
Even a minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise at an anaerobic or lactate threshold production level increases circulating Growth Hormone in adults. Increasing Growth Hormone results in enhanced production of Thyroid Hormone and Testosterone, with improved vessel elasticity. The risk of death was reduced by 50% with an improved exercise capacity attained of just 30 minutes per session, 5-6 days per week. And even if 30 minutes was too much , splitting the routine into 10-15 minute segments (morning/evening) gives the same benefit.
Even reducing your weight just a few pounds or exercising even ten minutes a day can have a huge impact. For more information regarding high intensity exercise check out the article on “Exercise as if your life depended upon it!”
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