Friday, October 26, 2007

Low testosterone is bad for you & how to boost it ….

Today's post: Friday, 10-26-2007

A recent headline in Yahoo News said that: “Older men with low levels of the hormone testosterone may die sooner than other men their age with normal testosterone levels, a study suggests.” And, “Older men with low levels of the hormone testosterone may die sooner than other men their age with normal testosterone levels, a study suggests.”

The article went on to discuss whether or not a drug that boosted testosterone would improve things or not.

The very clear answer is already known. It’s both YES -- AND, it’s NO sometimes.

The good news is that you can improve things in each category of that answer without waiting for a drug to be developed or given the FDA OK to be used.

1. First, the YES answer:

Al Sears, MD often writes on this subject & is one of the most knowledgeable doctors on this subject.

He finds that low testosterone harms both health & quality of life and does so for BOTH men AND women.

(Healthy younger women DO have testosterone. They just have less of it than men. And, when it gets too low women of all ages have many of the same problems that men with low testosterone experience.)

He has found that simply boosting too low testosterone levels directly DOES improve health & quality of life. And, he said in a recent email that he’s found that it works even better for women than men.

He has separately said that strength training AND the kind of cardio he recommends, repeated intervals of high intensity cardio followed by a sort rest & recovery period for several of these intervals over a relatively short time, perhaps 10 to 15 minutes, reliably boost testosterone levels.

(This is one of the reasons regular exercise improves mood & sex lives for BOTH men & women, by the way.)

And, he has said that taking the supplement tribulus &/or taking the lesser known supplement, Tongkat Ali, which comes from a tree native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, boosts testosterone.

Lastly, he has found that eating lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, & cabbage tends to lower excessive estrogen levels & seems to boost the effective blood level of testosterone & boosts its effects.

He’s found that both for both men & women low testosterone produces feelings of being tired, low in stamina, depressed, & apathetic, and dramatically lowers libido. And, it tends to produce people with overfat, flabby bodies. He also said that he finds that low testosterone levels also increase risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression. This is in addition to the tendency towards getting too fat & obese that he mentions. This certainly explains or helps explain the recent research finding of an increased death rate in people with low testosterone.

So, clearly, YES, directly boosting testosterone improves mood, improves energy enough it makes it more likely you’ll feel like exercising, helps you lose excess fat, & can often restores your youthful libido & zest for life.

And, in addition to the direct health improving effects of boosting low testosterone, each of THOSE effects tends to also improve your health.

So, again, YES, simply boosting low testosterone is health protective. Interestingly, though Dr Sears finds doing so with his methods works well for men, he finds it often works spectacularly well with women.

And, again the good news is that you can do it NOW, starting today. You do NOT need to wait for new drugs to be developed & approved.

2. But the other part of the answer is NO, sometimes boosting low testosterone by itself may often NOT be enough to improve the lowered death rate.

This is when the low testosterone is caused by something and that cause is NOT reversed.

Significant illness, unrelieved chronic stress, depression from other causes than low testosterone, and NEVER getting regular exercise also cause testosterone levels to fall to low levels & they tend to cause, or be closely linked to, increased death rates & poor health.

But if you successfully treat any significant illnesses & depression; get adequate stress relief, & start regular exercise and continue it, these causes can usually also be reversed. This will tend to increase your testosterone level. And, it will also directly help avoid the higher death rate leaving these causes untreated can produce.

3. These things are interactive as well. If you boost testosterone with supplements, you may well find your energy improves enough to do regular exercise. And, the higher level of testosterone & exercise each tend to eliminate depression. Exercise also tends to relieve stress somewhat & increase the amount of hassles you can deal with without becoming stressed.

Similarly, if you improve your mood and energy level & testosterone level by getting regular stress relief, your ability to survive & recover from significant illness goes way up.

Lastly, Dr Sears has found that boosting too low testosterone levels helps people get better muscle tone & lose fat even without exercise or improve results from exercise. He finds this effect to be quite strong for women.

By the way, boosting low testosterone, particularly if you include regular strength training & vigorous cardio exercise, also will tend to dramatically improve your sex life.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking vitamins is still a good idea ….

Today's post: Wednesday, 10-24-2007

Some of you may have read the Reader’s Digest article recently called, “The Vitamin Hoax,”

I. Unfortunately, it gave & gives mostly bad & badly researched advice.

It’s main points that most people should try to rely on food only & to NOT take extra of certain vitamins & minerals at all is totally wrong to such an extent it’s very bad editorial judgment on the part of Reader’s Digest to publish it.

If someone reading their article, stops taking multivitamins or certain key vitamins at all, the evidence I’ve seen suggests they will harm their health.

II. First, here’s what they got right:

A. It says that the best way to get vitamins & mineral is to eat foods that contain them.

That’s important & it’s partly true for three reasons:

1. Really nutritious foods, like blueberries & broccoli for example, have an enormous amount of health enhancing & protecting nutrients besides the vitamins they contain. So eating a wide variety of nutrient rich or dense foods like most of the ones in the Readers Digest list is actually a good idea.

Using our two example foods, in addition to the vitamin C they contain, both blueberries & broccoli contain fiber that helps you feel full without getting fat; & they also contain potassium that helps keep your blood pressure low enough for good health. Blueberries also contain anthocyanins & flavonols that seem to improve mental functioning in older people & to prevent stroke & which may also help prevent all cardiovascular disease. And, broccoli contains many carotenoids which are also extremely valuable nutrients AND it contains at least two known cancer fighters besides the carotenoids.

2. Many vitamins are actually the best known or most important of a family of related life & health sustaining substances. But in foods rich in the vitamins in vitamin pills, you get the whole family of related nutrients. Vitamin E from foods, for example, is NOT just the alpha tocopherol that you get in vitamins. In addition to alpha tocopherol, there are 3 other tocopherols & four tocotrienols. You get those in foods like avocados, nuts, some leafy green vegetables, & wheat germ.

3. The vitamins stated on the labels of vitamin pills are often NOT the real vitamins. Many vitamins are organic molecules which are literally ONE of two mirror image molecules, called the left handed & the dex or right handed forms by chemists. Many vitamins made from synthetic sources are only half the real thing. Even if the mirror image version causes no problems, foods & vitamin pills that only contain vitamins from natural sources, have the real thing only & are at least twice as potent.

So, regardless of whether or not you take vitamins, they are right to recommend that you should eat as many of the foods high in them as you can.

(The tuna fish they recommend is often too high in mercury. And, they recommend meat & poultry which are too high in omega 6 oils & saturated fat when grain fed and which many people already eat more of then is good for them. Wild & pasture fed poultry & meat in moderation is much safer to eat & has some omega 3 oils. They also recommend fish. Similarly, farmed fish tend to be grain fed & so high in pollutants & low in omega 3’s they are likely best not eaten. Mercifully wild caught are mostly still good for you.

The good news is that, particularly if organically grown, the nuts, legumes, fruits & vegetables they recommend are good for you.)

B. Second, they got something right; but irresponsibly left out the most important parts. And, their coverage was incomplete. So the article is a very BAD guide for people.

Some vitamins are actually bad for people in excess. They did get that right.

But except by not taking any of the vitamins in question, which the research I’ve seen shows in extremely bad for people to do, they fail to give enough information to guide people in taking those vitamins.

The animal form of vitamin A is not good for you if you take 25,000 iu a day or more. But it does have some value. And, I’ve never heard of research saying that getting 5,000 iu from a supplement & another 5,000 iu from food has caused problems. And, most vitamins now only have 5,000 iu of beta carotene, the water soluble, plant form of vitamin A.

They do say that high levels of beta carotene from pills only did have a bad track record in smokers. But they don’t emphasize enough that taking some, 5,000 iu, PLUS eating a wide variety of vegetables high in the whole family of carotenoids has been shown to have the REVERSE & positive effect.

They suggest that taking folic acid, B6, & B12 can cause problems if not in balance. Then they say NOTHING about what an OK balance is. This is irresponsible & stupid in the extreme since taking these 3 vitamins is one of the best ways to lower homocysteine levels if they are high or to prevent them from getting high. And, high homocysteine increases your rate of aging; sharply increase your chance of dying soon; & causes cardiovascular disease.

If they know so much, why leave that information out?

Even worse, they left out that taking B6 in excess of 200 mg a day often causes neurological & sensory problems.

That’s actually well known. Why leave it out? But it’s also true that taking up to 100 mg a day total, for sure & maybe up to 200 mg & getting as much as you can in foods will either lower your blood pressure if it’s high or keep it low enough for good health to begin with.

Zinc can be harmful in excess. More than 50 mg a day for an extended period has the reverse effects of getting 25 to 45 mg a day. And, they leave out that if you get extra zinc, you may need to take a bit of extra copper as zinc & copper have bad effects if they are not balanced by about ten percent of the intake of zinc as copper. So taking 30 mg of zinc suggests you should also get a total of 3 mg of cooper each day. But to suggest NOT taking any zinc when the lower amount is actually proven to have health benefits is NOT sound or desirable. The lower amount, 25 to 45 mg a day total, actually boosts HDL levels which is heart protective & has other positive health effects. Their suggestion to simply leave those potential benefits on the table & not take any since too much has the reverse effect is not very bright.

C. They also probably got right that taking 2,000 mg of vitamin D3 is a good idea based on the recent research on this & more people getting outside in the sun less.

It works with calcium to keep your bones strong & your blood pressure low enough for good health. And it seems to improve immune functioning enough to prevent you from catching serious diseases like TB; get well faster; & to prevent or kill off cancer. It may also prevent or help treat autoimmune diseases like MS.

They don’t say that the form of vitamin D in most multivitamins is a form that is only about 30 % as strong as D3. (That means the 400 iu stated only has the effect of 120 of D3 though 120 is a LOT better than none.)

Oddly, like vitamin A, taking more than 25,000 iu a day for an extended period may not be wise. And, they say nothing about this.

Since it’s relatively easy to get up to 15,000 iu a day from summer sun exposure, taking up to 2,000 to 5,000 iu a day should be quite safe however.

III. The worst part of the article though is the part where it suggests that NOT taking any extra of most of the main vitamins is either desirable or good for your health.

And, here again they state correctly that some vitamins are harmful in excess but they ignore the proven benefits of lower amounts & do NOT state how much is definitely too much & how much is actually quite safe.

Here are a few examples.:

Vitamin C They state that there is no conclusive evidence taking it prevents heart disease. Unfortunately, they or the research they relied on seems to have conveniently ignored quite substantial research that basically proves this incorrect.

I got this in an email not long ago:
The Nurses' Health Study followed more than 85,000 women for up to 16 years. This study found that a higher intake (more than 359 mg a day from food and supplements) reduced cardiovascular risk by 27 percent.

Similarly, an analysis of NINE other studies of more than 290,000 people total found a 25 percent reduction in risk in people who took more than 700 mg vitamin C, compared with those who took none.

I find it strange that they would write an advice article in a publication like the Readers Digest that goes to millions of people & not do enough due diligence to find that information.

Personally, even without the other studies I’ve read about the health benefits of vitamin C, studies like the Nurses Health Study that are reasonably well done & which include such large numbers over several years strike me as being close to conclusive.

Niacin Similarly, taking niacin is enormously protective for your heart & cardiovascular system.

It RAISES your beneficial HDL cholesterol better than anything else yet known. And, even if some of the drugs to do that eventually work, niacin will still be safer, likely as effective, & cost a LOT less.

It lowers your LDL cholesterol nearly as well as statin drugs. And, even more importantly, it causes much of your LDL cholesterol to bunch up into pillows of it that are too large to fit into the molecular chinks in your artery walls & prevents it from sticking to your blood vessels & causing high blood pressure & cardiovascular disease. (Regular exercise has all these same beneficial effects by the way.)

Taking niacin has been found to LOWER death rates.

So is it a hoax to suggest taking niacin? Is it sound advice to suggest ONLY eating tiny amounts in food instead? It certainly is NOT.

The evidence is that taking up to 1,000 mg a day is quite safe for most people. And, for people who take more than that, the risk of liver damage does exist.

And, if you do take three 500 mg capsules of time release niacin as heart health expert, Robert Kowalski, recommends & does himself, you do have to have periodic liver function blood tests to check for problems. But problems are not common & when problems occur cutting back the amount or discontinuing over the counter or prescription pain pills like NSAID’s or cutting back on excessive drinking often solve the problem & can be done in time to avoid permanent harm.

This is actually well known & the authors of this piece conveniently didn’t mention it.

Lycopene Lastly, 30 mg a day of lycopene, when taken in the form that is derived from extracts of real tomatoes did once test as slowing existing prostate cancer. And , it also has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure in people where it was too high before.

They are right to suggest eating tomatoes. They have other health benefits besides lycopene for example. And, eating tomato sauce is better as lycopene & the other carotenoids in tomatoes are more bioavailable when cooked & eaten with the extra virgin olive oil that is often in tomato sauces. You also wind up eating more tomatoes at a time.

The same kind of thing is true for the other vitamins they suggest NOT taking.

The bottom line is that almost all the conclusions they reach are wrong or stated in a way that LEAVES OUT the information that would enable readers to safely get the proven benefits of taking vitamins & the other supplements they include.

I’ve seen evidence in earlier times that the Readers Digest used to have higher standards.

X* X* X *X *X

They do quote a study that found that taking vitamins seemed to increase prostate cancer incidence or the amount of the more dangerous form.

A recent study found that eating either cauliflower or broccoli even once every week cut the incidence of the more dangerous form in half. So, even if the study showing this negative effect is true, I suspect you can take vitamins & eat those foods more than once a week and cancel out this effect even if it exists.

Many multivitamins contain iron & copper. These are valuable nutrients for many people. But some people don’t process iron well & get excessive iron build up. This also happens to some people with copper. And, if you take iron or copper, it’s important to keep your intake of saturated fat low as that high saturated fat plus taking iron or copper is apparently harmful. Keeping your saturated fat intake low is a good idea anyway, so that seems like the better way to solve that problem to me.

Those effects might explain this finding since most multivitamins contain copper & many contain iron though there are now multis that leave out iron.

But until further studies show more exactly what this effect is & confirm it exists, I remain skeptical. And, even then, I prefer to counteract the effect in other ways without losing the value of taking the vitamins.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Optimize these biomarkers & slow aging & stay well ….

Today's post: Tuesday, 10-16-2007

If you know what blood tests to get; get them; & see what your readings are, you can take effective action to improve your measures on any of these tests that are in the danger zone. You can even improve your measures on any of these tests that are not quite at optimum levels. Doing that set of things will improve & protect your health. And, it also slows aging & can even reverse its effects in some ways.

We’ve covered many of them here in earlier posts. Your HDL cholesterol level & your homocysteine level are very important.

Recently, I read an excellent intro to this topic by Al Sears, MD.

It’s good enough, I’m reprinting it here & will add some comments.

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise’s Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit "

5 Keys to Becoming Biologically Younger

By Al Sears, M.D.

Conventional medical wisdom is leading millions of people down the wrong path. Part of the reason is that so many "experts" continue to scoff at or ignore the exciting discoveries in the new field of anti-aging medicine.

Just as they did with nutrition as a new field, conventionally educated doctors are willfully remaining ignorant while sticking to the now preposterous position that anti-aging is impossible.

By the time you finish reading this you will know how unfortunate this ill-informed position is.

On the surface, you can observe aging as your hair turns gray, your waistline grows and your body goes soft. But there are biochemical changes underneath that drive this physical aging. Measure and manipulate what happens at the cellular level and you can control the way you age to stay younger longer. Here's an easy example to understand:

As you age, the composition of your body changes with an increase in fat. Measure your body fat and reduce it. Measure your muscle mass and increase it. Now you've changed those particular markers of aging to be more typical of a younger person. That's anti-aging!

You simply change the important physical and chemical characteristics of age that you can influence back to what is typical for a younger individual. As you can see from this example, anyone who claims that this is impossible really hasn't even bothered to learn what anti-aging is.

Today, I'll show you how to test for and then reverse five chemical biomarkers of aging that I have identified as both important and modifiable. Most doctors don't look at these markers in this way. This is a BIG mistake if you want to hold onto your youthful features as long as possible. You can and should take control of your:

Insulin: The overlooked secret to high energy and a lean body.
Triglycerides: More important than cholesterol for heart health.
HDL: The good cholesterol that drugs can't give you.
CoQ10: The often-deficient anti-aging nutrient.
HGH: Nature's master rejuvenator.

Each of these undergoes a transformation as you age. I have proven in my clinics that each of us can achieve control of all five with specific anti-aging therapies. I'm going to start with the first one, which will lay the groundwork for opening up opportunities with the other biomarkers. If you don't take care of this first, it has a way of hijacking your metabolic energies and you won't make good progress with the others.

Insulin. When you hear the word insulin, you probably think of diabetes. But insulin isn't just about this disease. In fact, changing insulin levels plays a key role in aging.

Insulin tells your body to build fat. The more insulin you have, the more fat you'll pack on (all other things being equal).

Most hormones decline with age, but insulin increases with age. If you want to stay lean, strong and vigorous at any age, keep your insulin blood levels low:

Risky: 20 and higher.
Normal: 11 to 20.
Best for anti-aging: 4 to 10.
You can effectively lower your insulin with these four tools:
Eat more protein. This stabilizes insulin.
Eat less total quantity of carbohydrate.
Use the Glycemic Index as a guide to help you choose the healthiest carbs. If you don't have one you can get mine here.

Exercise. For the purpose of lowering insulin, you don't have to be too choosy here. Just about any type of exercise has been shown to work, with the general rule that the harder you exert yourself the better the insulin control.

Triglycerides. You can lower these with the same strategies that lower insulin. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. They are a marker of age because as you age your triglycerides tend to steadily rise. High levels put you at risk of heart disease and can make you fat. That's why it's essential to get a triglyceride test. Here's an idea of where yours should be if you want to maintain a healthy heart:

High: 200 mg/ dl or higher.
Risky: 150 to 199 mg/dl.
Best for anti-aging: Less than 100 mg/dl.

My own triglycerides range around 55 to 60 and I'm keeping it that way. If your triglycerides measure high, use the four strategies above. Make the focal point of your diet natural protein. Protein from fish and grass-fed beef is best because these animals have healthy levels of omega-3s that will help to reduce your triglycerides, not to mention your waistline. For added power to achieve lower blood triglycerides supplement with one tablespoon of cod liver oil.

HDL. HDL is the good kind of cholesterol. HDL delivers life-giving nutrients and helps remove the bad LDL cholesterol from your arteries. Although a certain amount of LDL in your blood is normal and healthy, excess LDL often accumulates in elders. When this happens, doctors often prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs.
But if your doctor tries to put you on cholesterol-lowering medication, be warned. Those drugs DO lower LDL, but they don't increase HDL -- and that's what matters. Whether you have high cholesterol or not, you should work to increase your HDL to above 80:

Risky: 40 or below
Normal: Between 40 and 80
Best for anti-aging: Above 80

The best way to increase your HDL is with high-intensity, short-duration exercise such as my PACE® program.

Another good strategy I use very often in my clinics is relatively robust doses of the B vitamin niacin. For it to work, you have to take at least 500 mg per day. For many, I gradually work up to a dose of 2000 mg (or 2 grams) per day.

I should warn you that doses in this range often produce a facial flush or prickly hot sensation to the skin. It's usually harmless but can be a nuisance. If it happens back off on the frequency of dosing. Try it again after a few days and increase it more slowly next time. Usually the hot rushes decrease as you get used to higher niacin blood levels.

CoQ10. This nutrient plays a key role in supplying the energy that your internal organs need. It's a most critical energy source for your heart. CoQ10 is also a very powerful antioxidant. It can improve your immune system, reverse gum disease, increase your overall perceived energy and can help prevent and even reverse heart disease.

Unfortunately, research at my Wellness Research Foundation has proved that CoQ10 levels decline as much as 80 percent through the years, so I include it as one of your most important biomarkers of age. Studies clearly link this decline to the diseases and illnesses of aging, especially cardiovascular problems. And, more than 80 percent of my older patients have turned out to be deficient in CoQ10.

You can measure this critical nutrient in your blood, but very few doctors order it. You will have to ask. It's imperative you get your levels checked and see how much CoQ10 anti-aging power you're missing. Then you can start doing something about it.

First, you can add more CoQ10 to your diet by eating red meat and eggs. However, modern animal husbandry has led to lower levels of this anti-aging wonder so you will want to go to the extra trouble to get grass-fed red meat. Supplementation with this particular nutrient is also important. For general anti-aging benefits, I recommend taking 100 mg per day. If your level is low, double that. In some stubborn cases I have used well over 1000 mg per day.

I can't recommend general anti-aging measurements for CoQ10 or HGH (below) because those are medical decisions based on your individual case history. Talk to your doctor or an anti-aging specialist for specific recommendations.

HGH. Your body produces high amounts of HGH when you're young, but production declines throughout your adult life. HGH is responsible for rejuvenating and repairing all tissues in your body. As your HGH declines, it orchestrates many of the changes of aging, such as loss of muscle tone, wrinkles, energy decline and excess fat gain. But add HGH back and you reverse some of these consequences of aging.

A recent study at the National Institutes on Aging once again proved that HGH improves lean body mass and decreases body fat -- even in healthy men. Studies also show it improves strength, sexual capacity and physical function and reduces frailty in elders.

So how do you affect your HGH? I've found you can effectively boost HGH in three ways:

Eat More Protein: Since HGH makes you build muscle, and when you eat high amounts of protein you have the material to build muscle, it makes sense that your HGH would rise in response to a high-protein diet. And indeed, it does. This is a mild elevation, but nonetheless HGH is so powerfully beneficial, even a slight increase can make a big difference.

Perform Strenuous Exercises: Strenuous exercise also increases levels of HGH in your body. Now I'm NOT talking about a brisk walk around the block. I mean gut-wrenching exercises like heavy squats and dead lifts. This is not a tip for the faint of heart. If you're athletic and in good shape, you should try it.

Supplement with Arginine: Several amino acids have been shown to boost the blood markers for HGH. But they have to be taken in relatively large doses to work. The one I use most myself is arginine. Pills don't work because you can't get enough. I use a powder at 5 grams per day mixed with water and taken 30 to 90 minutes before exercise. If you don't exercise the next best time to take it is before bedtime. Then you will get a slight boost in HGH while you sleep.

Stay tuned for my next anti-aging installment in THB. I'm going to tell you what I've learned about balancing your sex hormones to maintain more youthful features in both men and women.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, Chairman of the Board of Total Health Breakthroughs, is a practicing physician and a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness and heart health.”

* X * X *

My comments:

“Insulin: The overlooked secret to high energy and a lean body.”

Dr Sears fails to mention blood glucose levels in his article which are closely related to insulin.
The steps he lists that lower insulin also tend to lower excess glucose levels. It’s extremely important to keep your fasting glucose at 109 or below & readings in the 80’s, 81-89 are better.
If you tend to have this level of fasting glucose, your HBA1C, a very accurate measure of your average blood sugar levels will be in good shape also. It’s extremely important that your HBA1C level is 5.9 or less; & 5.7 or less is better.

In addition to the steps he lists for lowering insulin, I’d add to simply not consume either regular or diet soft drinks and to simply not consume commercial baked goods or desserts or snacks; take action to remove any excess fat or fat weight you might have; & to get both strength training and cardio exercise each week. Also cut as much of the sugar our of your food & drink intake as you can manage. Taking chromium supplements & alpha lipoic acid also helps lower excess glucose.

The fun one is that adding powdered cinnamon to sweet foods or your coffee or both also helps keep your blood sugar from rising.

Lastly, if your glucose or insulin is high, while you are bringing it down, take DMAE & Carnosine supplements since the glycation excess glucose causes is the way excess glucose ages & damages your cells. And taking those two supplements helps to prevent that from happening.

“Triglycerides: More important than cholesterol for heart health. “

In addition to the steps he suggests for lowering triglycerides also follow all the steps for lowering insulin & excess glucose. My understanding is that your body produces triglycerides from the sugars you ingest, particularly excess sugars. And, if taking cod liver oil to get omega 3 oils is not your style, consider taking DHA supplements, Omega 3 supplements, & eating wild caught fish that are high in omega 3’s at least twice a week. These omega 3 oils lower triglyceride levels.

I’ve also read that adding a lot of onions to your food lowers triglycerides.

“HDL: The good cholesterol that drugs can't give you.”

PACE is Dr Sears system of alternating intense exercise with temporary recovery at rest or doing easier exercise. Regular strength training if you have to exert yourself a bit to finish each set also boosts HDL. So does using the principle of his PACE program in alternating moderate & more intense to intense exercise during cardio exercise. Separate research shows that gets you into shape faster than a steady pace does. Just be sure to not overdo it at first or to do it in sessions longer than about 25 minutes. And, doing a total of 1200 to 1500 calories a week of exercise of all kinds & drinking red wine moderately also boost HDL.

Dr Sears also mentions in a separate article that getting enough choline in your diet boost HDL. Choline & lecithin supplements can help. Egg yolks, wheat germ, & liver are high in choline. Liver from any but the most organically raised animals is likely too high in pollutants to eat. But if you aren’t allergic, eating a few whole eggs & a moderate amount of toasted wheat germ each week, can boost your HDL levels quite well. Both foods are also good sources of the higher protein intake he recommends.

“CoQ10: The often-deficient anti-aging nutrient.”

Since taking CoQ10 can boost your energy levels, take it at breakfast & lunch but not later in the day. And, take an extra 100 mg a day beyond the 100 to 200 mg he suggest if you take statin drugs as they LOWER you levels of CoQ10.
“HGH: Nature's master rejuvenator.”
The steps Dr Sears suggest to increase HGH are sound. And, they are reasonably inexpensive & have many other health benefits. (I find that taking 500 mg capsules of arginine from NOW supplements is MUCH easier to take than the bad taste of arginine powder.) And, I take half my daily dose just before I exercise to maximize the HGH release from the exercise & half just before bed so my body repairs itself better while I sleep.

Unfortunately, while these steps to increase your body’s natural HGH release are reasonably inexpensive & have many other health benefits, taking supplements that say they have HGH or getting HGH shots are often either ineffective or dangerous if do they work. And they cost a lot or an enormous amount respectively.
Dr Sears doesn’t list them & I suggest not using them.

He leaves out being sure that you have a homocysteine level of 8.9 or less. 6.0 to about 8.0 is ideal. We covered how to do that in a recent post. Homocysteine levels also increase with age if not managed. And, every step above 8.9 sharply INCREASES your rate of aging & your likelihood of dying. High homocysteine levels also cause cardiovascular disease & may help cause Alzheimers & other kinds of senility.

If you get these & measures done, the five he lists plus fasting glucose, HBA1C, & homocysteine & then work to improve them & get retested every few months to see your progress, this can be a great way to get into & maintain a lifestyle that will keep your health & dramatically slow aging.

Even better, you focus most on improving the measures that the tests show need improving the most.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What kind of exercise fights type II diabetes best? ….

Today's post: Tuesday, 10-9-2007

Is aerobic or cardio best to control blood sugar levels or is strength training best?

The HSI e-newsletter for Monday, 10-8 had a neat story that had part of the answer. And it was good news. (Their sneak attack title was “Donut Therapy.”)

Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada studied 251 type II diabetics who were between 39 to 70. The researchers split them up & then studied four groups:

The Aerobic Group worked out for 45 minutes 3 days a week on exercise bikes &/or treadmills.

The Strength Training or “Resistance Training” Group worked out for 45 minutes 3 days a week with weights.

The Combined Group apparently did both. (The article didn’t say whether that was some of each for 45 minutes 3 days a week or an hour & half with 45 minutes of each 3 days a week or if it was something like Mon Weds Fri for 45 minutes of strength training & Tues Thurs Sat for Aerobic for a total of 6 days a week. I suspect it was the last one where they exercised 45 minutes for 6 days a week.)

The Control group did no exercise at all.

The researchers did a before and after test of the HBA1C levels which is the most accurate way to check average blood sugar levels on each of the four groups.

After six months, the Aerobic Group had improved their blood sugar readings; the Resistance Training Group improved quite a bit more; & the unfortunate Control Group did NOT change or improve.

The Combined Group got by far the best results. In fact, some people in that group did well enough to get back into the normal range.

It would have been nice had the article given more specifics.

But the clear conclusion is there. The best kind of exercise to control & bring down high blood sugar readings, if you only do one, is strength training.

And, doing some of each -- plus exercising five to seven days a week for at least some time each of those days is apparently the best.

Even twenty minutes of aerobic exercise on alternate days for 3 days a week plus doing twenty minutes a day of strength training on the two days in between will help.

Plus that kind of regular exercise reliably makes you less fat; improves or prevents depression; & improves your sex life for both men & women. It even grows new brain cells for you & increases the level of the protective HDL that helps you avoid heart attack, stroke, & other problems.

Truly, if people really knew what regular exercise did FOR them & NOT doing regular exercise did TO them, almost everyone would exercise.

What about you?

If you aren’t exercising now, even a 10 minute walk three days a week or working out with weights for 20 minutes two days a week on days with at least a day off in between is a start you can build on.

And, if you are doing regular exercise now, this is yet another reason to be glad of it & to keep doing it !!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Reasons why taking magnesium protects your health ….

Today's post: Tuesday, 10-2-2007

I’ve known for some time that magnesium is an unusually important mineral in nutrition because all the better informed doctors I’ve read on protecting your heart strongly recommend it. And, it is a key mineral in lowering high blood pressure or keeping it from becoming high. It helps increase HDL cholesterol, lowers excess blood glucose, and helps balance sodium as an electrolyte to normalize blood pressure. Each of those effects is heart protective.

These doctors recommend taking 400 to 600 mg a day in addition to eating foods high in magnesium like nuts, seeds, & greens.

And, the added benefit is if you take enough & eat those foods, you will hardly ever get constipated. The fiber in these foods plus the stool softening effect of the magnesium mostly prevent constipation.

So, when I saw the article I reprint below with even more good news about magnesium, I thought you should see it also. It also got my attention by saying most people, possibly including you, are not getting enough of it.

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit “

“The Most Important Supplement You Will Ever Take?

By Anthony Colpo

Magnesium could quite possibly be the most important nutritional supplement you will ever take. Without it, you can't produce adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), the substance that every cell in your body ultimately uses for energy.

Magnesium has a huge impact on healthy heart function. Deficiencies of this mineral have been implicated in hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia, and deadly heart attacks. Low magnesium intake has also been linked to diabetes, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, cramping, and exaggerated harmful responses to stress.

Clearly, magnesium is one nutrient you definitely do not want to skimp on - but that's exactly what most people do.

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that most American adults have a woefully inadequate magnesium intake. Per day, on average, Caucasian men get only 352 mg, African-American men get only 278 mg, Caucasian women get only 256 mg, and African-American women get only 202 mg. These amounts are well below the minimal recommended daily allowance of magnesium - 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women.

Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, halibut, tomato paste, spinach, artichokes, cashews, and almonds are some of the foods that are high in magnesium.

But the best way to ensure optimal intake is with supplements. Avoid the oxide form of magnesium, as it is poorly absorbed by the body. Instead, use magnesium citrate, aspartate, chloride, or malate.

My personal favorite is nigari, a Japanese seawater extract that is rich in magnesium chloride. Mix the nigari with water and drink it throughout the day.

Gradually increase your daily dose of magnesium until you notice a loosening of your stools. When this occurs, decrease the dosage slightly and maintain.

[Ed. Note: Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author….”

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Our comments:

It is possible to overdose on magnesium if you also take repeated large doses of Milk Of Magnesia on top of supplementing with magnesium & eating magnesium rich foods.

Similarly, I don’t recommend going over 650 mg a day of Magnesium as a supplement.

But taking 400 to 650 mg a day of magnesium plus eating these foods which have other health benefits besides magnesium is a great idea.

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