What would be the benefits of changing your estrogen metabolites? Certain estrogen metabolites are related to a higher risk for estrogen related diseases. Breast cancer is one of those diseases. If you could change the ratio between the harmless metabolites and the ones related to an increased risk for estrogen related problems you would be better off. The reviewed research investigated if exercise could do that since exercise has shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer.(Smith AJ,et al. 2013).
The participants were healthy young women who were divided into either an exercise group doing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 5 days a week or a sedentary control group. The study went on for approximately 16 weeks.
Estrogen’s and estrogen metabolites were measured,and the rates of the different metabolites were calculated. The change from the baseline measurements increased significantly in the exercise group for 2-OHE1/16α-OHE1 which is the ratio of the estrogen metabolites associated with a decreased risk for estrogen related diseases. This change was not seen in the control group.
The researchers concluded that this may be the mechanism by which increased physical activity is decreasing the risk for breast cancer.
You don’t want to have a slow metabolic rate because that would make it harder to maintain a lean body composition. You can probably also agree that most of us are exposed to plenty of stress during a average day.
I think you will find the reviewed research interesting because it investigated how stress may affect our metabolic rate (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, et al. 2014).
Fifty-eight healthy women, with the average age of 53.1 years, participated in the study and were given high fat test meals. The day prior to eating the test meals, stressors were also assessed using a standard test. Fat and carbohydrate oxidation, triglycerides, cortisol, insulin and glucose were measured before and after the 2 high fat meals.
It was found that greater numbers of stressors were associated with lower fat oxidation after the meals and also higher insulin levels. The difference between stressors the day before and no stressors turned out to be 435 kj which is approximately 104 calories. The researchers estimated that it could add up to almost 11 pounds per year in weight gain.
This means that stress can contribute to weight gain.
You may not be able to control the factors contributing to stress, but you can, with some training, control how you react to stress.
In other words you can make yourself more stress resistant. Meditation is a great tool for that.
Who knew that even at the age of 53 you can get an idea about your risk of dying without doing extensive laboratory testing. Put another way, it can give you an indication of how likely you are to achieve a long and healthy life.
The reviewed research tested 1355 men and 1411 women at age 53 and followed them for 13 years(Cooper R, et al. 2014). The three tests consisted of grip strength, chair rise speed and standing balance time. The chair rise speed was done by timing how long it took to rise from a sitting position to standing with straight back and legs, and then sit down again 10 complete times as fast as possible.
The results suggested that the participants that were in the lowest one-fifth when it came to performance were almost four times as likely to die during the follow up compared to the ones in the highest one-fifth. The participants that were not able to do any of the tests were more than eight times more likely to die than the best performers.
This shows how important it is to stay in good shape even at middle age. Keep in mind that these tests, even if they were testing physical ability, also reflected on the biochemistry of the body, since balance is affected by receptors and the health of the nervous system. The nervous system is again affected by free radicals related to the food we eat and our lifestyle.
As we get older we gradually experience a certain degree of brain atrophy. The rate of which the brain volume is changing is, however, not the same for everyone. The good news is that there is something you can do to slow down this process.
An Austrian study of 201 participants evaluated brain volume changes over 6 years. Using MRI scans, it was documented that the participants with higher Hemoglobin A1c levels also had a higher rate of brain atrophy (Enzinger C, et al. 2005). Hemoglobin A1c is a measurement of long term glucose control.
The participants with high alcohol intake also lost brain volume faster, and so did the ones with a high body mass index.
As you can see, these are things you can do something about. If you get into the habit of eating low glycemic index meals it will help to make you more insulin sensitive and lower Hemoglobin A1c. If you also add some exercise to that, it will help even more.
We have all heard that exercise is healthy and it is, but is it healthy for everybody and are all types of exercises healthy?
This is what you need to know.
When lifelong competitive endurance veteran athletes were compared with younger endurance athletes and control age-matched participants, they were found to have myocardial fibrosis which is abnormal changes to the heart muscle(Wilson M,et al. 2011).
This finding was significantly associated with the years spent training, the number of competitive marathons and ultra endurance marathons completed.
Keep in mind that this was hard endurance training and extreme endurance competition over a lifetime, it does not mean that exercise is not good, it just means that this type of activity does not seem to be the best.
Another study compared participants with coronary heart disease with different levels of physical activity(Mons U,et al. 2014). They found that participating in strenuous endurance exercises more than 5 hours per week increased cardiovascular mortality. Exercising less than twice per week also increased the risk.
What does this all mean? It means that it is important to be sure you get enough recovery time, and long hours of endurance training is not the best way of spending your time. You are more likely going to reap more benefits if you do high intensity, short interval training and include some resistance training the other days.
One of the important things to keep in mind is that recovery from the exercise is as important as the exercise itself. Without proper recovery it just adds stress.
Elevated blood glucose causes damage to tissue and can increase low grade inflammation which increases the risk for chronic diseases.
We have known for a long time that exercise helps to transfer the blood glucose into the cells, that way lowering the blood glucose. As it turns out it does not take a lot of activity to do that. The reviewed research is interesting because it compared two approaches of activity during 9 hours of sitting(Peddie MC, et al. 2013). The participants were 70 adults who were each given 3 meal replacement drinks during the 9 hours. On one occasion they walked for 30 minutes and were then sitting for 9 hours and on another occasion they were breaking up the sitting with walking for 1 minute and 40 seconds every 30 minutes. The results showed that both blood glucose levels and insulin levels were reduced more when they walked for 1 minute and 40 seconds every 30 minutes as compared to continuous walking for 30 minutes. In my experience, you don’t even have to spend that much time being active if you practice a certain type of activity. I will be writing more about that in a future article.