Your Road to Wellness

Research

This is affected by too little quality sleep

Posted by on 8:03 am General Health, Research, Sleep, Wellness | 0 comments

The following was a small study, but it is interesting because the participants were young females and males with an average age of 28.8 years (Montesinos L, et.al., 2018).

Their average body mass index was 23.4 and their resting heart rate was 63.1 which are considered good.  Sleep and balance were assessed over two days, and balance was assessed in a gait lab.

Even in young people like, this decreased sleep quality for only a short time was causing problems.

The participants with a day-to-day deterioration in sleep quantity and quality saw significant changes in balance.  

Sleep quantity and quality were defined by decreased duration and increased fragmentation, increased night time activity and decreased heart rate variability.  As more and more research is done in the area of sleep, we discover how important sleep really is, even balance is affected by sleep. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why some people lose their balance as they get older.

If you have problems relaxing, try meditation, especially in the evening in a room without bright light.

Reduce your exposure to bright light and light from computer screens some time before you go to bed.   Exposure to bright light in the evening can alter your circadian rhythm and affect the release of the hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to get quality sleep.

Reference

Montesinos L, Castaldo R, Cappuccio F, Pecchia L, Day-to-day variations in sleep quality affect standing balance in healthy adults. Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 30;8(1):17504.

 

 

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Can a simple thing like this help us stay healthier as we get older?

Posted by on 2:29 pm Anti-Aging, Cholesterol, Fish Oil, Flaxseeds, General Health, Low glycemic meals, Omega-3, fish oil, Research, Stay healthy, Supplements | 0 comments

There is not much point in living a very long life if we don’t feel and function good.  So what can you do to improve your odds of staying healthy? A low glycemic index, high nutrient plant based diet and regular exercise would help you do that, but you probably already know that.

According to this research it can be quite easy to improve your odds of staying healthy as you get older by just adding one simple thing (Lai HT, et.al., 2018).  The study participants were 2622 adults with an average age of 74.4 years. They were healthy at the start of the study and were followed for 15 years.

The phospholipids of omega 3 fatty acids from both plant sources and seafood were measured in the blood.  The results showed that higher levels of long chain omega 3 fatty acids from seafood were associated with an 18% lower risk of unhealthy ageing.  The researchers wrote that the findings support guidelines for increased dietary consumption of omega 3 fatty acids.

You can eat fish a couple of times a week, but fish is getting more and more polluted.  You can, however, decrease your exposure to these pollutants and instead use high quality fish oil capsules which has been verified to contain lower levels of pollutants.

You can raise your blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids by taking capsules as long as it is a product that has high enough levels of these fatty acids, it’s not more difficult than that.

Reference

Lai HT, de Oliveira Otto MC, Lemaitre RN, McKnight B, Song X, King IB, Chaves PH, Odden MC, Newman AB, Siscovick DS, Mozaffarian D. Serial circulating omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy ageing among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2018 Oct 17;363:k4067.

 

 

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Oxidative stress is involved in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by on 8:28 am Alzheimer’s, Anti-Aging, Cognition, Diseases, General Health, Health Risk, Research, Stress, Wellness | 0 comments

Increased oxidative stress has been documented in the frontal cortex in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and in patients with mild cognitive impairment (Ansari, MA 2010).  One of the emerging causative factors associated with Alzheimer’s pathology is oxidative stress. This AD-related increase in oxidative stress has been attributed to decreased levels of the brain antioxidant, glutathione (Saharan and Mandal, 2014). 

The body uses antioxidants to limit the damage done by oxidative stress and glutathione is the body’s most effective self-made antioxidant.  Glutathione is a part of the body’s natural defense against free radical damage.

The following study used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure glutathione levels in both healthy individuals and patients with alzheimer’s disease (Mandal PK et. al, 2015).

The researchers found a reduction of glutathione in both the hippocampus and frontal cortex–which are two different areas of the brain–in Alzheimer’s patients.  It is interesting to note that glutathione reduction in those regions correlated with a decline in cognitive function.  The researchers concluded that the study provides compelling evidence that the glutathione levels in specific brain regions are relevant markers for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.  

So how can we ensure that our glutathione levels remain at healthy levels?  One way is to add it into our daily routine via supplementation.  It is now possible to supply glutathione in a bioavailable form–which gets it into the cells where it is needed–and that is by using S-Acetyl Glutathione (Cacciatore et. al., 2010).

The body is making less glutathione as we get older, that happens to everybody, but some are making less than others.

References

Ansari, A, and S W Scheff. “Oxidative Stress in the Progression of Alzheimer Disease in the Frontal Cortex.OUP Academic, Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology , 1 Feb. 2010, academic.oup.com/jnen/article/69/2/155/2917186.

Cacciatore I1, Cornacchia C, Pinnen F, Mollica A, Di Stefano A. “Prodrug approach for increasing cellular glutathione levels.” Molecules, 3 Mar. 2010, https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/3/1242

Mandal PK, Saharan S., Tripathi M., and Murari G. “Brain glutathione levels–a novel biomarker for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.” Biol Psychiatry, 15 Nov. 2015,  https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S0006322315003121

Saharan S., Mandal P.K., “The emerging role of glutathione in Alzheimer’s disease.” J Alzheimers Dis. 23 April 2014. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad132483

 

 

 

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Improve your genetic potential

Posted by on 8:50 am Anti-aging, General Health, Happiness, Meditation, Research, Stress, Wellness | 0 comments

While we can’t change our genes yet, we can however improve the expression of our genes.  There are several factors that affect how we express our genes.

One of the more important factors is stress.

In this study, researchers tested several functions after a practice session of healthy individuals who had practiced meditation for many years and participants that had only practiced for eight weeks, comparing it with participants who listen to health education (Bhasin MK, et.al., 2013).

The practice of meditation enhanced expression of genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, and reduced expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress-related pathways.

The response was stronger in those who had been practicing meditation for a long time.

In another study the researchers found that practitioners of “Loving-Kindness Meditation” had significantly longer telomere length than controls when Genomic DNA was tested (Hoge EA, et.al., 2013).

Telomeres relates to how fast we age.

Shorter telomeres have been linked to chronic stress and shorter telomere length can serve as a marker of accelerated aging.

When telomerase was measured in participants practising meditation at a retreat, an increase in telomerase activity was found compared to the control group (Jacobs TL, et.al., 2011).

This was also very interesting. Increases in “Purpose in Life” directly mediated the telomerase group difference, whereas increases in Mindfulness did not.

So the research shows that not all meditation produces the same results.

References

Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang BH, Joseph MG, Denninger JW, Fricchione GL, Benson H, Libermann TA.Relaxation response induces temporal transcriptome changes in energy metabolism, insulin secretion and inflammatory pathways. PLoS One. 2013 May 1;8(5):e62817.

Jacobs TL, Epel ES, Lin J, Blackburn EH, Wolkowitz OM, Bridwell DA, Zanesco AP, Aichele SR, Sahdra BK, MacLean KA, King BG, Shaver PR, Rosenberg EL, Ferrer E, Wallace BA, Saron CD. Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 Jun;36(5):664-81.

Hoge EA, Chen MM, Orr E, Metcalf CA, Fischer LE, Pollack MH, De Vivo I, Simon NM.Loving-Kindness Meditation practice associated with longer telomeres in women. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Aug;32:159-63.

 

 

 

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Feel more relaxed, improve your focus and be more stress resistant by controlling your breathing.

Posted by on 8:43 am Blood Pressure, Breathing, General Health, Happiness, Health, Pain, Research, Stress | 0 comments

The way you breathe has a strong effect on how you feel and function. Research has shown that the amount of times you breath and also how you breathe is important.

The following study included 47 healthy college students which implemented different breathing patterns (Lin IM, et., al., 2014). Anxiety and relaxation levels were measured as well as heart rate variability (HRV).

The reason HRV was measured is because research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening of depression or anxiety. A low HRV has even been associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. People who have a high HRV may have greater cardiovascular fitness and be more resilient to stress.

In this study the researchers showed that breathing at a rate of 5.5 breaths per minute and with an equal time used to breathe in and out resulted in a higher HRV and an increased feeling of relaxation. The other breathing patterns were not as effective.

A breathing frequency of 6 breaths per minute has been the frequency found to be most effective in most of the studies.

Using your diaphragm when breathing is also important. Implementing that with slow breathing increased sustained attention and lowered cortisol levels–cortisol is a stress hormone– in another study (Ma X, et.al., 2017).

When you use your diaphragm in breathing, you will see your abdomen raising when you breathe in.

This type of breathing has even shown to improve sleep when practiced before bed time (Tsai HJ,et.al., 2015).

 

References

Lin IM, Tai LY, Fan SY,Breathing at a rate of 5.5 breaths per minute with equal inhalation-to-exhalation ratio increases heart rate variability, Int J Psychophysiol. 2014 Mar;91(3):206-11.

Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, Zhang H, Duan NY, Shi YT, Wei GX, Li YF, The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults,Front Psychol. 2017 Jun 6;8:874. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00874.

Tsai HJ1, Kuo TB, Lee GS, Yang CC,Efficacy of paced breathing for insomnia: enhances vagal activity and improves sleep qualityPsychophysiology. 2015 Mar;52(3):388-96. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12333.

 

 

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How much do you have to exercise to improve your endurance and aerobic fitness?

Posted by on 7:28 am Exercise, Health, Intensity Training, Research, Sports performance, Vigorous Activity, Weight loss, Wellness | 0 comments

 

A lot of people don’t exercise because they think they have to spend a lot of time doing it every week, and that does not appeal to them.  Let’s see what research has found.

Several years ago research was conducted on what was called high intensity short interval training. Since the start of that, a lot of research has been published on that topic, experimenting with different durations of exercise.

The original research started using a stationary bike doing 30 seconds intervals, peddling as hard as possible, then resting for up to 4 minutes. This was then repeated 4 to 6 times.

This regime was very effective documenting that just 2 minutes of actual exercise time produced the same results as an hour of regular intensity aerobic exercise.

So how little can you exercise and still improve your performance? Is 30 seconds interval as low as you can go?

The following research tested six sub elite triathletes comparing them with 6 endurance-trained sub elite athletes maintaining their normal training routine .(Jakeman J, et.al., 2012).

These athletes were already in good shape. It’s harder to improve the performance at that level, compared to starting with people out of shape.

6 of the participants did 10, 6 seconds sprints on a stationary bike with a resting period of 1 minute in between, 3 times a week for 2 weeks. The resistance on the bike was set to 7.5% of the body weight.

Two weeks of the high intensity short interval training resulted in a 10% decrease in a 10-km time trial.

The time taken to reach the onset of blood lactate accumulation, defined as the point where blood lactate reaches 4 mmol·L⁻¹) was significantly increased. This is another way of measuring improved aerobic fitness.

The actual exercise time was only 1 minute 3 times a week.

It is amazing, spending only 3 minutes a week for 2 weeks can improve aerobic performance.

If you want to improve cardiovascular fitness, but want to spend as little time as possible exercising, this is the way to do it.

You need a stationary bike to implement this protocol, but if you have that at home, you don’t necessarily even have to do the 10 sprints at one time. You can split them up throughout the day depending on what’s most convenient for you.

Other studies has documented that it is more beneficial to be active several times a day compared to exercising longer only once a day.

Lack of time is no longer a valid reason not to exercise. Most people would most likely have 3 minutes a week to spend on exercise considering the benefits.

Reference

Jakeman J, Adamson S, Babraj J.Extremely short duration high-intensity training substantially improves endurance performance in triathletes. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Oct;37(5):976-81.

 

Research has shown that sitting for a long time can be bad, but you don’t have to be active for very long to reap huge benefits.

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