Your Road to Wellness

General Health

How can you improve insulin sensitivity other than paying attention to what you eat?

Posted by on 11:43 am General Health | 0 comments

When you are insulin sensitive your insulin can transfer the blood glucose into the cells efficiently because the receptors on the cells function well, they are not resistant to the insulin.

If these receptors start to lose their sensitivity to the insulin, your blood glucose will increase. That can lead to type 2 diabetes if it keeps getting worse, but even if it does not get that point, it can cause a lot of problems.

Insulin resistance usually leads to weight gain, increased inflammation, increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and it can even result in neuropathies.

The food we eat is extremely important when it comes to preventing insulin resistance. There are however also other ways to improve insulin sensitivity.

A lot of aerobic exercise can help, but few people are willing to put in the time necessary to see the results.

When young men performed 2 weeks of supervised high intensity short  interval training consisting of 4-6, 30 second sprints per session for 2 weeks with 3 sessions per week on a stationary bike, this is what the researchers found (Babraj JA, et.al., 2009).

Insulin sensitivity was improved by 23%, while aerobic cycling performance improved by approximately 6%.

That was not a lot of time spent exercising, and the benefits were great.

Does this only work for young people? No, in the following study the participants were healthy sedentary older adults with an average age of 65 (Hwang CL, et.al. 2016).

One group did high intensity training for 4 minutes at 90% of peak heart rate with 4 repetitions and another group did 32 minutes of moderate-intensity continuous training. Both groups exercised 4 times a weeks for 4 weeks.

Insulin resistance decreased by 26% and only in the group which did the high intensity short interval training.

References

Babraj JA, Vollaard NB, Keast C, Guppy FM, Cottrell G, Timmons JA.Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males.BMC Endocr Disord. 2009 Jan 28;9:3.

Hwang CL, Yoo JK, Kim HK, Hwang MH, Handberg EM, Petersen JW, Christou DD.Novel all-extremity high-intensity interval training improves aerobic fitness, cardiac function and insulin resistance in healthy older adults.Exp Gerontol. 2016 Sep;82:112-9

 

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Do you want a bigger brain and better memory?

Posted by on 7:33 am Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging, Cognition, Dementia, Exercise, General Health, Memory, Research, Stay healthy, Wellness | 0 comments

 

Is it really possible to increase the size of the brain later in life?

Data from a randomized controlled study of 155 older women, who participated in 52 weeks of resistance training showed reduced cortical white matter atrophy on MRI scans when compared with the control  group (Best JR, et.al., 2015).

This means that they ended up with a bigger brain than they would have had if they had not done the resistance exercise.

Twice-weekly resistance training also promoted memory and increased peak muscle power when they were followed up after 2 years.

The control group did balance and toning.

If you instead prefer aerobic type of exercise, that may also improve your cognition.

Research showed that an individual’s cardio-respiratory fitness was a better predictor of cognitive gains than the exercise dose (Vidoni ED, et.al., 2015).

To improve cardio-respiratory function you can do regular aerobic exercise, or you can do high intensity short interval training which will save you time.

This study compared the effects of long slow distance training with high-intensity interval training in rowers (Ní Chéilleachair NJ, et.al., 2017).

High intensity short interval training was more effective than long and slow distance training in improving performance and aerobic characteristics.

References

Best JR, Chiu BK, Liang Hsu C, Nagamatsu LS, Liu-Ambrose T.Long-Term Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Cognition and Brain Volume in Older Women: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2015 Nov;21(10):745-56.

Vidoni ED, Johnson DK, Morris JK, Van Sciver A, Greer CS, Billinger SA, Donnelly JE, Burns JM,Dose-Response of Aerobic Exercise on Cognition: A Community-Based, Pilot Randomized Controlled TrialPLoS One. 2015 Jul 9;10(7):e0131647.

Ní Chéilleachair NJ1,2, Harrison AJ2, Warrington GD,HIIT enhances endurance performance and aerobic characteristics more than high-volume training in trained rowers.J Sports Sci. 2017 Jun;35(11):1052-1058

 

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What else can you do to improve your cognition other than pay attention to the food you eat?

Posted by on 10:31 am Anti-Aging, Cognition, Exercise, General Health, Health, Vigorous Activity, Wellness | 0 comments

 

You actually have quite a lot of control over how functional your brain is going to be.

Research has shown we can slow down memory loss and even improve our memory.

The food we eat is extremely important, but another tool we have is exercise.  Resistance exercise is especially effective.

The following study included 155 older women participating in resistance training 2 days a week for a year (Best JR, et.al., 2015).

They were compared with a group doing balance and toning twice a week and were evaluated at the beginning of the study, after 1 year and after 2 years.

Resistance training improved executive function compared to balance and toning. It also improved memory, reduced cortical white matter.

Atrophy verified on MRI and increased peak muscle power at 2-year follow-up. The balance and toning exercises did not do that.

Men and women doing resistance exercises 2-3 times a week for 6 months significantly improved overall cognitive function, with maintenance of executive and overall benefits over 18 months (Fiatarone Singh MA, et.al., 2014).

They were compared with a group doing seated calisthenics which did not result in the same benefits.

Doing resistance exercise twice a week does not require a lot of time and can help to keep your brain healthier.

That’s time well spent.

References

Best JR, Chiu BK, Liang Hsu C, Nagamatsu LS, Liu-Ambrose T. Long-Term Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Cognition and Brain Volume in Older Women: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2015 Nov;21(10):745-56.

Fiatarone Singh MA, Gates N, Saigal N, Wilson GC, Meiklejohn J, Brodaty H, Wen W, Singh N, Baune BT, Suo C, Baker MK, Foroughi N, Wang Y, Sachdev PS, Valenzuela M. The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) study—resistance training and/or cognitive training in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized, double-blind, double-sham controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2014 Dec;15(12):873-80.

 

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Can nuts improve insulin sensitivity even in diabetics?

Posted by on 5:17 am Diabetes, Diet, Eating, General Health, Insulin resistance, Nut consumption | 0 comments

It is important to be as insulin sensitive as possible.

When you are insulin sensitive, your insulin effectively transfers the glucose from you blood into the cells where you can use it for energy, and your blood glucose stays in a low and normal range.

Elevated blood glucose will cause problems because it will increase inflammation, free radicals and damage your tissue. That’s why people with diabetes are much more susceptible to chronic diseases.

High glycemic index carbohydrates will raise your blood glucose too high because this type of food is converted to sugar and absorbed fast. Especially flour (white bread), potatoes and white rice will do that, but foods like whole grain bread, at least the regular whole grain bread you normally get in the store, as well as brown rice, unless you have very little a one time, will do that also.

That’s why substituting those foods for something else can make a significant difference.

That is exactly what was done in the following study.

The research was carried out in a hospital research center.

A group of men and women with type 2 diabetes was put on one of three diets for 3 months (Jenkins DJA, et.al., 2018).

One group was put on a diet getting 477 calories from 75 grams of mixed nuts, one group got 471 calories from 3 whole wheat muffins, and one group got half a serving of the nuts and half a serving of the muffins.

The group consuming the 75 grams of nuts showed a reduction in Hemoglobin A1c, a marker of long term glucose control, compared to the group having the muffins.

Several cardiovascular risk factors also improved in group eating the 75 grams of nuts daily.

Nuts works better than whole grains if you want to improve your glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors.

75 grams of nuts are approximately 2 and a half handfuls of nuts.

Reference

Jenkins DJA, Kendall CWC, Lamarche B, Banach MS, Srichaikul K, Vidgen E, Mitchell S, Parker T, Nishi S, Bashyam B, de Souza RJ, Ireland C, Pichika SC, Beyene J, Sievenpiper JL, Josse RG. Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet: a reanalysis of a randomised controlled trial.Diabetologia. 2018 Aug;61(8):1734-1747.

 

 

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How can you protect yourself from the neurotoxicity of mercury?

Posted by on 6:30 am Antioxidents, Diet, Eating, General Health, mercury | 0 comments

Everybody agrees that having a well-functioning nervous system is of great importance if we are going to function well and be healthy.

There are several things that can damage the nervous system, and mercury is one of these toxins. Contamination of the environment and subsequently our food is common, mercury in fish is one example.

Contaminated fish is one way mercury enters our body.

One way of avoiding the mercury in fish is of course not to eat fish, but we can be exposed to mercury from other sources as well. It is difficult not to be exposed to mercury at all. Mercury has been found to cause oxidative damage and induce neurotoxic damage with involvement of the mitochondria (Aschner M, et.al., 2007). The mitochondria is the energy producing component of the cell.

The body has mechanisms in place to deal with toxins and oxidative stress, otherwise we would not have survived. The protection we have is not always enough, even if we eat food that includes a lot of plants which can help to provide antioxidant protection.

The most effective antioxidant the body is making is glutathione, and it works very well if we have enough of it to deal with the toxins and free radicals we are exposed to. Data indicates however that the availability of glutathione to the cells may not be sufficient to provide protection against mercury toxicity (Becker A, Soliman KF, 2009). As we get older we make less glutathione each year, and after we turn 40, we can use some additional help. In some cases, even younger people can benefit from some assistance, it depends on how much toxins and free radicals the body has been exposed to through the years.

We now have an effective form of glutathione we can take in capsule form, and that is S-Acetyl Glutathione.
The most common form on the market, reduced glutathione, is not a very effective form since it is oxidized in the stomach and offer very little protection. S-Acetyl Glutathione is however transferred into the cells where it is needed. (Cacciatore I, et.al., 2010).

References

Aschner M, Syversen T, Souza DO, Rocha JB, Farina M. Involvement of glutamate and reactive oxygen species in methylmercury neurotoxicity. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2007 Mar;40(3):285-91.

Becker A, Soliman KF. The role of intracellular glutathione in inorganic mercuryinduced toxicity in neuroblastoma cells. Neurochem Res. 2009 Sep;34(9):1677-84.

Cacciatore I, Cornacchia C, Pinnen F, Mollica A, Di Stefano A. Prodrug approach for increasing cellular glutathione levels. Molecules. 2010 Mar 3;15(3):1242-64.

 

 

 

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Green Tea Provides many Benefits, but you Need to Know this Before you Drink it.

Posted by on 8:56 am Bloodsugar, Cholesterol, General Health | 0 comments

The antioxidants called catechins in green tea is the main reason for the many benefits green tea provides.

It is very important to be insulin sensitive and have good glucose control because elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance cause inflammation and damage tissue.

When 17 studies were reviewed which included 1133 participants, the researchers found that green tea consumption significantly reduced fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) (Liu K, et.al., 2013). Subgroup analysis also found that green tea significantly reduced fasting insulin.

 

As you get more insulin sensitive, you don’t need as much insulin to transfer the blood glucose into the cells. As blood levels of insulin go down, you will also start to use more fat for energy.
The following study investigated green tea extract in capsule form instead of drinking green tea. (Bogdanski P, et.al., 2012).The participants were obese, had high blood pressure and took either a capsule of 379 mg of green tea extract or a placebo capsule for 3 months. This was the results.

 

 

 

Total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides decreased, while HDL (high-density lipoprotein) increased in the treatment group, but not in the placebo group. The group taking the green tea extract also had a significant decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure as well as a significant decrease in TNF-alpha and CRP, both inflammatory markers. Glucose, insulin and insulin resistance also improved.

 

This is all very good, but you need to be careful when you buy green tea.

 

 

When black, green, white and oolong tea sold in tea bags were steeped for 3-4 minutes and the tea tested, this is what was found (Schwalfenberg G, et.al., 2013).

73% of teas brewed for 3 minutes and 83% brewed for 15 minutes had lead levels considered unsafe for consumption during pregnancy and lactation. Aluminum levels were above recommended guidelines in 20% of the brewed teas. 

 

No mercury was found at detectable levels in any of the brewed samples.

Tea can possibly also be contaminated with pesticides.

You need to be sure that the tea you buy is of high quality and not grown in contaminated soil. This is something to keep in mind when you buy green tea extract also.

 

 

References

Bogdanski P, Suliburska J, Szulinska M, Stepien M, Pupek-Musialik D, Jablecka A. Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients. Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;32(6):421-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.007.

Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi LY, Zhu JD, Mi MT. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;98(2):340-8.

Schwalfenberg G, Genuis SJ, Rodushkin I.The benefits and risks of consuming brewed tea: beware of toxic element contamination. J Toxicol. 2013;2013:370460.

 

 

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Polyphenols (catechins) are the active ingredients in green tea providing a variety of benefits.

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