Thursday, February 28, 2013

Danger and lack of effectiveness in Calcium supplements....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 2-28-2013

Generally I favor supplements and often the “official’ recommended amount is too low due to ignorance or purposely failing to use the available research.

But calcium is a glaring and dangerous exception. 

The common practices and “official” recommendation have been to take calcium supplements and often in amounts research now shows to be dangerous AND ineffective and not even needed!

Here are several important facts about Calcium supplements that are NOT yet well enough known.

1.  Now, studies have been done for BOTH men and women showing an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and hardening of the arteries in people who take 1,000 mg a day of calcium supplements or more. (Hardening of the arteries tends to also cause high blood pressure or make it worse.)

One researcher who I think correct noted that this likely is made worse by taking calcium supplements on an empty stomach.  Since the calcium is NOT in food or with food, he says, and I agree, the calcium tends to build up in the blood of the person taking it and deposit directly into the walls of their blood vessels.  Oops!

Note that since it’s common for multivitamin and mineral supplements to contain 150 mg of Calcium and for calcium supplements to be in multiples of 500 mg.  So this suggests the highest likely safe dose for extra calcium is just 500 mg.

And, clearly both the multivitamin and mineral supplement with 150 mg of Calcium and any added calcium supplement should only be taken after a meal to slow the absorption of the calcium and its delivery into your blood.

2.  Taking calcium supplements is NOT on the list of the things that are effective in preventing or reversing osteoporosis!

Eating foods high in calcium AND doing the things that ARE effective at building bone or preventing its breakdown DOES provide enough calcium to do the job.  And unlike the supplements, eating foods high in calcium is both much more slowly delivered and more bioavailable for actual use by your body!

We did a recent post on the things that are most effective in halting or preventing osteoporosis. 

But here are the most important ones:

a)  THE most important one is doing super slow speed repetition strength training. In fact, it was originally developed to see if it would help halt or reverse osteoporosis.  It was found extremely effective at doing so! 

(This kind of strength training -- which you only need to do once or twice a week!  -- also helps fat loss by adding pounds of muscle that burns 3 times as many calories as the fat it replaces AND you burn extra calories for hours after you exercise due to how hard your body works to build you back up after you work that hard.)

See our post on it: “Breakthrough in fatloss and health.”  Our post for:  Tuesday, 1-29-2013 which describes it.  Or check out to see the information from the company that introduced me to this concept.  I've tried it and am delighted with how effective it is!

b) Take 3,000 to 5,000 mg a day of vitamin D3.  This is what people used to get from sunshine when everyone lived and worked mostly outside. And current research is showing it to be the real optimal intake.

And, research shows that people who take that much vitamin D3 do build bone better and lose it less.

Recently a pronouncement came out that taking calcium and vitamin D was ineffective to build bone.  This is accurate about calcium supplements but totally false about vitamin D.

How is that possible?  They limited their intake of vitamin D3 to 400 to 800 iu a day!

This is 8 to 10 times too low to work! 

c)  Never drink soft drinks!  Both regular and diet have phosphoric acid that makes the drinks feel “refreshing”.  But every drink of it you take removes calcium from your bones

d)  Take at least 400 mg a day of magnesium supplements and more may better.  Like vitamin D3 your body uses magnesium to install calcium into your bones. (Other studies show that people seriously deficient in magnesium tend to have far more bone breaks and hip fractures!)

e)  If, and possibly only if, you do the first 4 things, it does help to get enough calcium but from foods high in it!  500 to 900 mg a day of calcium from foods, or maybe even a bit less, will do the job.

But you have to cause bone building to happen with the strength training, and give the calcium the co-factors it needs and NOT take calcium out of your bones first by drinking soft drinks every day!

f)  Taking vitamin K2 supplements also helps because K2 to sends calcium to your bones and AVOIDS sending it to your blood vessel walls.


Is it wise or safe to take 1,000 mg a day or more of calcium supplements or take the ones you do take on an empty stomach?

No. The research shows it is NOT safe.

Can you halt osteoporosis  or reverse it in its early stages without taking calcium supplements at all?

Yes.  The research says that using the effective methods and getting calcium in your food will do the job!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ubiquinol, the effective CoQ10, normalizes blood sugar and helps lose fat....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 2-26-2013

1.  A recent animal study found that ubiquinol may also turn off insulin resistance AND burn excess fat!  That’s in addition to its other benefits which already make ubiquinol worth taking.

(More precisely, the researchers found that boosting the health and energy in the mitochondria in the cells did those two things.)

WOW!  Delightful news!

2.  Ubiquinol, we already knew, is very heart protective and helps avoid energy drop off in older people and can boost longevity by 10 to 24%.  You also tend to be more energetic and able to act as if you are younger during those extra years!

Depending on the person taking it, ubiquinol can also lower high blood pressure between 7 over 4 to 17 over 10.

BUT if it turns down insulin resistance too and helps avoid excess fat -- both fat loss and preventing you from gaining it too, That is HUGE news.

Even better, we don't need to wait for a possible drug for this for another 20 years from this research, we HAVE ubiquinol now!

3.  In case you aren’t familiar with ubiquinol, it’s the form of CoQ10 your body actually uses after it converts CoQ10, ubiquinone, to ubiquinol.

It was found that taking the ubiquinol directly as a supplement delivered more of this useful kind of CoQ10 to the body and kept up the level in the blood stream.  This was a huge difference, because ubiquinol delivered four times as much as taking CoQ10 AND that blood level lasted twice as long.

But why do you need it?  And, why do you need to take it?

The bodies of young adults tend to make enough ubiquinol from the protein foods they eat to keep the mitochondria in their cells fully functional.  But like many other things as people age this process begins to stop working and then virtually stops.

So that’s why you need to take it if you are over about 35 and a good bit more if you are over 50.

Here’s the key fact:  Each cell in your body has mitochondria which are the power and energy source for that cell.  And, to stay healthy and working well, your mitochondria use the ubiquinol form of CoQ10.

That means that your overall energy and the strength of your heart depend on having enough ubiquinol.

If you have enough ubiquinol, your body works as if it was younger and this has been shown to extend life and add healthy years of life.

For younger middle aged people 35 to 50, 50 mg a day of ubiquinol can be helpful.  100 mg a day likely makes sense once you pass 50 and 150 to 200 mg a day once you pass 65 as well.

4.  BUT, a huge number of people in those age ranges today take statin drugs.  Regardless of the fact that this is not that beneficial for many people or even needed in many cases, it’s still true.

(We’ve posted on that separately and what works better and more safely instead.)

AND the more effective a statin is or the higher dose that’s used in lowering LDL cholesterol, the more it DEPLETES your body of CoQ10 and ubiquinol.

That has 3 dreadful results. 

People who take statins tend to feel far less energy and act as if they were decades older than people the same age who don’t take statins. 

This effect may help cause and definitely worsens heart failure – which also kills people. 

But the worst result, recently confirmed by research, is that this ubiquinol depletion causes muscle damage in people who do exercise vigorous enough to be heart protective and to work well for fat loss or prevention.

We already knew that taking statins did this though few in the public knew it.  But, the better news is that since the ubiquinol depletion causes it, taking an extra 100 or 200 mg a day of ubiquinol can likely prevent it!

Note that this newest research also explains why taking statins tend to cause type 2 diabetes.

But again, it also looks very much like taking an extra 100 or 200 mg a day of ubiquinol can likely prevent that too!


People who want to stay trim, stay youthful and energetic – and live longer, protect their heart, and avoid type 2 diabetes and avoid being fat  -- should take ubiquinol.

People who take statins and want those things need to take an extra 100 or 200 mg a day of ubiquinol too in addition to that!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Diet soft drinks DO fatten and harm your health....

Today's Post:  Friday, 2-22-2013

A recent study found that in their very carefully regimented study people did not eat more when they drank diet soft drinks.

The much worse news is that longer studies of real diet soft drink drinkers show they routinely have MORE belly fat and more type 2 diabetes THAN drinkers of regular soft drinks. 

Does that mean they are WAY fatter and more at risk of disease than people who drink ice water or coffee without extra sweeteners or tea or green tea instead?

Totally, that’s exactly what those other studies mean!

Has this new study changed that?  Nope.

In fact a French study was reported in my Newsmax email earlier this month that said that in the women they studied more moderate drinkers of diet soft drinks were 33% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than women who drank regular soft drinks.  And heavier drinkers of diet soft drinks were 50% more likely to get type 2 diabetes than women who drank regular soft drinks.

And they found that women who drank diet soft drinks drank 75% more of them than women who drank regular soft drinks. 

So a woman who drinks 12 regular soft drinks a week their study found will drink 21 diet soft drinks if she switched to diet.

Last but far from least women who drank real fruit juice had about the same risk of type 2 diabetes as women who drank water only.

And there is worse news too!  Other studies also show that diet soft drinkers drink MORE of them than people who drink regular soft drinks.  Between falsely thinking it’s safe and not quite getting what they were getting from regular soft drinks before, studies now show this result.

But some of the health harms of diet soft drinks and regular come from ingredients in them that cause calcium loss from your bones.  Does that mean diet soft drinkers are more prone to osteoporosis even than regular soft drink drinkers & WAY more at risk than people who drink NO soft drinks.

Looks like it to me.

But there is more.  The artificial sweeteners used have regular reports of many kinds of minor and even a few health harms.  Apparently some people drink less or have better heredity to withstand this.  But when millions of people believe diet soft drinks are NOT fattening and safe, and drink this volume of them, there are a LOT of people artificial sweeteners seemingly DO affect.

Just recently went to a Chiropractor to correct a posture problem with more success than I’d initially expected.  And, on his wall he has a poster he made himself with a dozen or more of the kinds of pains he treats in his work.

Because of the research he has read, he says that many people get those or keep getting them because of their intake of artificial sweeteners.

So, as part of his service and a desire to see HIS patients pain free, he says plainly to avoid them, and STOP all intake of artificial sweeteners!

But obesity – getting way too fat -- and diabetes and related diseases, and making osteoporosis more likely are to me way more than enough to recommend very strongly to never drink diet soft drinks!  

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Very Effective interval cardio can be brief....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 2-19-2013

I’ve run across this idea many times in the last three years. 

And, I’ve tested it to work in many ways in my own work and exercise.  In fact, my own last test of this has been rather spectacular.

Dr Al Sears teaches this using different kinds of calisthenics or walking and both has found research supporting this idea AND gotten great results with his patients and followers.  He calls his version of it PACE.

I first ran across the idea when I saw a study that found that to get into good shape, that research found that short bursts of high effort helped people get into shape far faster than much longer cardio even if that was done at a moderately high but unvarying level of intensity.

Unexpectedly this happened to me on a single afternoon.  I hadn’t gone swimming in ages and found I was pretty unfit in swimming.  I soon got bored with steady state swimming where I ran out of gas so soon.  So, I decided to swim as fast as I could for short efforts.  That was a lot more fun and actually was easier to do.  I got the idea of using the steady state swimming as a change of pace for a bit after that.  THEN I found, much to my shock it was far easier!

My more recent experience has been even more spectacular!  I once did 24 minute sessions on the NordicTrack where I periodically would speed up a lot for a few seconds.  And, by doing that 3 times a week, I was very fit.

Then my machine broke.  And by the time I replaced it, I was a bit older and found that many sessions that long showed signs of causing me to need a hip replacement or two.

So, I decided to do just one session of 8 minutes a week instead.  Again, I used my system I periodically would speed up a lot for a few seconds several times during the 8 minutes.  I did get pretty fit.  But I often found I was a bit slower than I’d been when I did more sessions a week.

Then I read that doing fast jump rope sessions was a good way to lose fat.  But, again I found if I did as much as that source recommended each week, I would give myself overuse injuries plus I was initially terrible at it.

So, I hit on the idea of doing 3 very short sets each time but at very fast speed with a rest just long enough to catch my breath in between.  And, I did this two times some weeks but often just one. With about 3 turns per second for 14 to 23 seconds with about one minute in between, the whole set of three only takes me about five minutes – TOTAL although the set up and cool off time push that to closer to 12 to 15 minutes. 

That doesn’t sound like a lot does it?  The sessions are certainly brief enough and I only do two a week about half the time with the rest of the time I do it once.

Then all of a sudden, my times on my weekly Nordic Track session dropped to BELOW what had been my very best ever personal record I’d thought incredibly fast when I set it!

Now on my easiest and slowest days I still smash that old record.  On good days I break it by about 15 seconds for each of the 3 parts of my 8 minute session.  Yep.  I’m now 45 seconds faster than a record I thought I’d never break!

My seemingly tiny jump rope efforts literally tripled how fit I am!

To me that’s astoundingly effective!

That means that this kind of cardio where you do a short amount of very fast or intense effort and rest for a bit as I do in my jump rope sessions and repeat after a few seconds of rest, interval cardio, is extremely effective.

Similarly, the version I do on my Nordic Track where I do that kind of effort periodically and in between I go at a brisk to very brisk pace is also quite effective.  Variable cardio is a name for this.

What they both have in common are bursts of high intensity effort lasting from 14 to 60 seconds and with a rest or a slow down in between bursts.

Then on 2-14, last Thursday, I got an email with information from more advanced research.

Among other things, these kinds of high intensity burst tend to burn more fat than the calories burned while you do them.  This is just like the extremely slow reps strength training we posted on two weeks ago on Tuesday, 1-29-2013.

Also, some time back I’d read that just a few such high intensity bursts a week in a total time of something  like 15 minutes total per week was dramatically effective in lower HBA1C in men who initially had high readings and in men with more normal readings initially.

Here are some of the reasons this works so very well from the email with the research on high intensity burst training.

“The Most Effective, Efficient Exercise in Just 4 Minutes a Day”


JJ Virgin is a Nutrition & Fitness Expert who helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies. 

She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Her latest book, New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, is out now. Learn more at

(Chasing very fast fat loss is not always best.  I suggest putting all the key parts in place over 3 weeks and aiming for solid progress within 2 months – or 8 weeks instead of 7 days.

But clearly, any fat loss program that uses effective strength training and this kind of burst cardio will make your success quite likely over several months!)

“…. science backs burst training as the fastest, most effective exercise on the planet.

What is Burst Training?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called burst training, involves short bursts of high-intensity-style exercise for 30 to 60 seconds followed by one-to-two-minute recovery periods. (I will use burst training and HIIT interchangeably throughout this article because the work/rest ratio concept are the same in both.)

You can do burst training practically anywhere. Stuck at a hotel? Find the stairs. See that giant hill at your local park? Run up it.

The key involves full-out maximum speed for up to 60 seconds. Dump the longer-is-better exercise myth: If you can do burst training over a minute at a time, you’re not doing it hard enough. (Literally) step it up.

You’ll subsequently slow down to a normal pace to catch your breath, and then repeat.

“The science behind burst training is based on something called the ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’ (EPOC) effect, which is the recovery of one’s metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels,” says Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Jini Cicero. “It is a measure of how much oxygen the body utilizes in the period immediately following a workout or bout of exercise. EPOC directly effects fat oxidation in response to high-intensity exercise.”

In other words, when you burst, your body creates an oxygen debt that it must then repay. This recovery requires energy, which your body utilizes via fat oxidation. Literally, you’re burning fat to meet this demand.

Science Proves Fast Exercise Superior for Fat-Burning

Imagine you could find a way to pack your eight-hour workday into just one hour. It requires more intense work, but you get more done during that one hour than you ever did before. Think of all the time you could spend shopping and hanging out with your partner!
That’s how I want you to view burst training: as a fast, efficient way to get fat-blasting exercise. Sure, it takes more work than watching The View while working an elliptical machine, but burning more fat in less time is a nice trade-off.

Studies indicate that HIIT is superior to cardio. One in the journal Metabolism, for instance, compared a 20-week endurance-training (ET) program to a 15-week burst-training program.

The HIIT group showed a ninefold greater fat loss than the ET group.

Numerous other studies demonstrate burst training’s effectiveness for fat loss. One in the Journal of Obesity, for instance, found that burst training forces your muscle to utilize more fat both during and after exercise.

And a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that moderately active women burned impressive amounts of fat doing just two weeks of burst training.

You get it: Burst training burns more fat in less time than cardio. And now you’re wondering how exactly burst training provides those amazing results in just minutes a day. Let’s look at five reasons:

1. Burst training helps your body adapt to stress. Just to be clear: all exercise raises cortisol. This stress hormone gets a bad rep, but it can work for or against you depending on what you’re doing. “Cortisol is the Jekyll-and-Hyde hormone because it can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to fat loss,” says Dr. Jade Teta. “Long-duration cardiovascular exercise increases cortisol, but never breaches the intensity threshold necessary to get trigger [fat-burning hormones] like human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone.” (More on HGH in a minute.) Chronically elevated cortisol can lead to muscle breakdown and fat storing.
On the other hand, burst training raises those anabolic (building) hormones like testosterone and HGH, which increases fat burning. Burst training also teaches your body to better handle stress and recover more effectively.

2. Burst training promotes post-workout fat burning. Sure, you’re burning fat while you ride that treadmill, but the lower intensity doesn’t require any metabolic post-exercise repair. Because fat burning and metabolism are not enhanced post-workout, you get limited overall metabolic benefits. Put another way: the more intense your exercise, the bigger metabolic cost you create when you’re done.

“It’s not the workout itself that has the greatest impact on fat burning,” says Cicero. “Rather, it’s the effect of that workout on the rate of calories burned afterward, over the course of the day even into the following day.”

3. Bust training raises human growth hormone. Repeated, intense bursts raise lactic acid, which spikes human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is your “fountain of youth” hormone. It helps you burn more fat, boosts your immune system, increases testosterone levels, and decreases inflammation. Want a one-two punch to increase GH? Get an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep every night and then do burst training three or four times a week.

4. Burst training reduces your risk for chronic diseases. Fat isn’t just an aesthetic issue: it can also contribute to numerous problems like diabetes. HIIT can help reduce your risk for these and other diseases.

One study in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease concluded that, compared with endurance training, HIIT was an effective way to control and prevent hypertension.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, 24 million people have diabetes, and half of them don’t even know it. Burst training can provide an effective exercise to ameliorate diabetes. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, for instance, showed that for people with type 2 diabetes, burst training can rapidly improve glucose control and improve metabolic health.

Dr. Hyman also estimates 60 million people have pre-diabetes, or insulin resistance that paves the path for full-blown diabetes. A study in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders showed that exercise could help prevent diabetes in otherwise-sedentary younger males. “The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only [a small amount] of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable,” researchers noted.

5. Burst training saves you time. My clients often complain they don’t have hours to spend at the gym or otherwise get in shape. Burst training blows the time excuse out of the water. After all, you’re looking at 30 minutes max, which even the busiest person can schedule (yes, schedule) into their insanely hectic day.

You don’t need expensive equipment, fancy workout clothes, or a gym membership. Some people favor compact, portable machines like the Xiser, but you can get equally effective burst-training results in your mall stairs or park hill. The worst you can say is that people might look at you funny, but that’s a small price to pay to burn fat and get in peak condition.

One last thing: I’ve combined burst training with weight resistance in my 4 x 4 Workout, which you can do in just 15 minutes, three times a week. Talk about effective and efficient: these are serious kick-butt workouts that will leave you lean and toned in time for beach season. My readers can get a FREE 4 x 4 Workout.

Babraj JA, et al. Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males. BMC Endocrine Disorders 2009, 9:3.
Boutcher SH. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obes. 2011;2011:868305. Epub 2010 Nov 24.
Ciolac EG. High-intensity interval training and hypertension: maximizing the benefits of exercise? Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2012;2(2):102-10. Epub 2012 May 15.
Little JP, et al. Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia and increases muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Dec;111(6):1554-60.
Talanian JL, et al. Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. J Appl Physiol. 2007 Apr;102(4):1439-47.
Tremblay A, et al. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8.”

My follow up comments:

First when you begin this, make sure to go a bit easy at first in your bursts, 70 to 85% effort instead of 90 to 98%.

And, at first, do fewer sets and rest until you are close to fully recovered in between and do one or two sets instead of three or more.

I started with one set of 14 jumps in my jump rope.  Now after many months, I do one of 42 and one of 56 after a shorter rest and then do 70 after a slightly longer rest. The idea which I got from Dr Al Sears is to gradually burst at a higher effort and rest for shorter periods of time.

But the critical idea for safety is to do it very gradually over many months.  So start easy with enough rest between sets.  Based on my experience with the jump rope, you WILL get to a higher level in a few weeks to a few months.   And it is VERY effective.

Also, follow our information on preventing heart disease in our post on Tuesday, 2-12, a week ago.  That both makes burst training safer to do; and once you get used to it, burst training is one of the two best ways to protect your heart.  The more weeks in a row you do it the better the protection it gives you.

Lastly, JJ Virgin’s 4 X 4 strength training is her, I think, version of the extremely slow rep strength training. 


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Monday, February 18, 2013

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post:  Monday, 2-18-2013

As is often typical, this month’s end of the month report is mixed but a bit better than last time.

BUT, there are MAJOR improvements coming!!

This month’s post is much like last month’s post.

I lost no weight on the scale this month. 

But I also did NOT gain any despite having a holiday week the last week of the month due to eating out and eating extra meals and eating those out!

Again, this end of the month result obscures some strong progress from several sources.

The much more effective strength training and resulting muscle gain;  the greater control of my evening snacks; and my big drop in wheat and lactose intake are totally repeatable!

During the two weeks I did those with no outside problems and using these new upgrades I lost a pound each of those two weeks.

I did those the last week of the month too.  But I also celebrated my birthday that week three times and due to eating out and eating extra meals and eating those out, I gained back the two pounds I lost.  BUT, I did NOT gain 4 pounds but only 2 and those two I did gained that week did NOT cause ANY weight gain in my monthly results!

As I will do my normal program a bigger share of the time most months and I will add my second level of upgrades to my new upgrades, for the very first time, I really feel in control of the process!

(I now measure just my weight every Saturday to catch changes during the month between my main weight and measuring day I do one Saturday each month.)

Last time, I listed more details on my several new strategies that have given me this sense of control. (That post was on Monday, January 21,2013.)


Between cutting more calories with the exercise bike at work and adding that extra muscle in my at home strength training, I NOW EXPECT to see no more weight gains on the scale AND see some lower waist measurements!  I’ll lose fat and add muscle.

And, that’s far from all!

The other changes I’m making to cut sugars and milk and wheat from my diet most days and almost totally on two days each week, may help me lose a few MORE inches from my waist.

At the very least, the cut in my calorie intake each week will help me lose a few pounds on the scale.

The combination of those looks very promising to put it mildly!

Even better, it’s working well enough I now feel I am in control of the process.  For the past two months every week I did things right every day that week I lost a pound or more on the scale.

And, I am continuing to add upgrades from here!

Lastly, even though the fatloss still has a good ways to go, because of my more effective exercises, my muscle definition is already better!

As I lose the fat too, I’ll look great!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine’s Day Love info….

Today's Post:  Thursday, 2-12-2013

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dark chocolate in moderation is good for your heart!

Every year in February is Heart Month because the symbol of Valentine’s day is a heart.

We did that post last Tuesday, 2-12-2013 on effective ways to protect your heart.

And, the best news is that 90% of what both men and women need to have their sex lives go well you get by doing the regular extremely slow repetitions strength training and interval or variable cardio with intense sections and following a heart protective way of eating.

It can help to replace youthful hormones. But that’s a big & complex subject for another time.

But that kind exercise and health OK lifestyle gets both men and women 90% of the way there.  Blood flows where it’s supposed to go; you’re fit and strong and tend to look good; and your nerves are in good shape so you feel what you are supposed to fee.

But the best way to make it better is to have a great relationship with your partner.

If you like and trust and care about each other it gives you great leverage on making everything in your life better.  And, it’s critical where a good love life is concerned.

So what works to do that??

The wonderful news is that there is a large and usable list of things that do work!

I’ll post them in 3 parts.

1.  People can tell when your emotions are positive.

a)  So, it can really help to remember first why you do like your lover.  Even if there are problems with your relationship at times, there are also reasons why you like them.  Just bring those reasons to mind.  Focus on one or two and then look intently at them and feel that liking.

b)  When you get to know someone well, you get to know what their legitimate strengths are.

And, even if your lover doesn’t do ALL you might like, they do some things you like and appreciate.

Bring those to mind too.  There are negatives in life and there certainly are in relationships.

But if you let your lover know you notice their strengths and things they do you like -- about three times as often as the negatives come up, your lover will feel liked and appreciated and be much happier.

The key way to do this is to notice these things when they happen! –
-- and let your lover know you did and you like that they did -- and that you appreciate them and noticed how well they did something when they do.

It seems simple. 

But it really is true. If people appreciate your good points and let you know when you please them and are usually glad to see you  --
YOU feel a lot better and it’s easier for you to like that person and even forgive that person for occasional hassles or disagreements that show up.

The same is true for your lover.  And most of the time, and the more you treat them that way, the better your relationship will be.

Simply knowing to do it and getting used to doing it most of the time, really helps!

Make sure to notice opportunities and do these things when they show up!

c)  It’s easy to notice great results and easy to show you like them. 

But in a relationship, it’s also critical to notice good intent even when the results are not so good.

My own Dad was really great at this. If you gave him something he couldn’t accept, or it wasn’t something he really, really liked  --  He was always gracious and showed how pleased he was with your intent, your desire to please him.

After seeing how well I felt when he did this with me and how he and my Mom stayed together when many couples don’t, I can’t say enough about how important this skill is!

When I see members of couples being nasty when they get gifts that weren’t to their taste or “perfect”, I wince!  This is a BAD idea!  Never, ever do it!

Do yourself a favor and be like my Dad and your relationship will be MUCH better!

2.  Show by your actions you are willing to please your lover.

Both of the two ways to do this have been PROVEN to make relationships better and last longer!

a)  There once was a great enthusiasm for listening well in relationships and to give feed back showing you did hear what your lover said.
Quoting them as exactly as you can and asking clarifying questions even works best

It IS a good idea.  But oddly, research found that doing it was only very modestly helpful for relationships if that.

But they found something that WAS dramatically effective.

What the researchers found was that what counted was doing what your lover asked you to do!

Is this always easy or even convenient to do?

Nope! In fact, it very often is totally inconvenient or extremely difficult to do!

This is NOT relevant unfortunately to the results you get.

This research found that the people who saw doing this is very high priority and did the things they could do right away even when it wasn’t convenient had much better relationships and much longer lasting relationships than people who didn’t.

The other things that worked were to:

Immediately say what parts of what your lover asked you could do right away and begin doing them –
and which parts you feel you have to do another time and asked if a definite commitment and follow up at a definite later time would be OK.

Then, the important thing is to deliver on what you promised.

What if you get asked to do something that simply doesn’t fit you are?

This one has two solutions:

Yes, you can’t stop being who you really are and you may not want to!

But everyone has a range of ways to be.  And at the extreme end of that range, you may be able to do something similar to what you got asked to do.  Do that! Or ask if doing that would help.

The other one is more strategic.  Ask why they want you to do it and be very warm and easy to talk to when you ask AND be absolutely silent until they answer.  Once they say why, show you are very pleased! 

And, you should be!  Without doing the thing you can’t do or simply won’t do, quite often you CAN do and would be happy to do something or several things that give them what they actually want!

Then do those immediately or give a definite commitment of when you will.

b)  A closely related way to make your relationship work is to fix something that’s broken about how you do things or that your lover finds aversive.

That, I just discovered, has been shown by actual research, is as effective in making relationships go well and last as doing what your lover asks and is a variation of it.

You have real flaws.  Everyone does.  But if one IS real, there likely IS a way you can learn to fix it.

When you know or find out quickly that there is a fix you CAN do, DO it and make sure your lover knows and keep working on it until it’s no longer broken.

Other times, you can’t find out how to fix it or you can’t do it or you can but it will take 10 years. 

The trick with this one is to fix the parts of it you can fix AND find out HOW it is unpleasant for your lover and find ways to stop that part of it.

Here’s a recent personal example.

I’ve had truly dreadful posture but found this was because my back had somewhat frozen in the position it was in most often since for many years I spent a LOT of time hunched over and reading.  I wanted to please my wife but despaired of ever being able to with this one. I tried what I thought up to do but found it had no effect.

Then I went to a chiropractor to see if he could do a procedure for me that I’d found in a medical research article that reduced high blood pressure by 14 over 8 on the average which is a HUGE drop.

I was astounded to find that 95% of the way to get the effect I wanted was to practice the corrective posture exercises he has found effective.

I’ve been even more astounded to find they work!  And, my wife is delighted.

The other one for me is that my mouth works like an echo chamber and when I eat something super crunchy it can be like I’m amplifying the noise.

This really irritates my wife at times.  Nope I’ve not fixed it.  But I have found two ways to avoid it bothering her.

One way is to keep taking smaller chews and breaking down the surface that’s too crunchy for quite a bit.  Then when it finally breaks up into pieces, it’s nowhere near as noisy when I chew it.  (It’s also safer for my teeth for some foods like fat raw carrots.)

I also eat Brazil nuts a few times a week.  It can sound like cannon shots when I do.  So I do two things.  I eat them at work where it can’t bother her; and when I eat them at home, I step outside until I’ve chewed enough it’s no longer that loud and come back in.

Is it worth it?

I think she is. 

But more than that, the research was extremely clear that people who do this have stable relationships despite their other flaws and the times they really piss off their lover.

Does this happen for people who fail to make this extra effort?  Nope.

To me that shows this IS that important!

3.  Learn to do optimistic thinking by the definition found by Martin Seligman, the master social psychologist. 

People who do this see good things as permanent and have hope and take confident actions even when most people would think it hopeless – sometimes to almost extreme levels -- are optimistic by this definition.  And, as long as they take action prudently and test before they dive in, this gets dramatically more done, achieved, and fixed.

Oddly, the skill for when bad things happen is total rationality and analysis almost at the Nobel Prize winning researcher level.

Optimistic people believe when bad things happen, they are limited in their effects, have very specific causes, and are often temporary.  They do NOT jump to false conclusions that unfixable characteristics are present.  This is actually quite accurate and much more sane than thinking the reverse.

And, of course, the two parts work together when bad things happen.  Optimistic people see the specific causes or find them.  They do NOT jump to false conclusions or label things as always the case when in actual fact they are NOT.

Then they use this accurate knowledge to fix what went wrong or prevent it effectively next time with their hopeful and proactive side.

For relationships, the better you learn to use these skills in ALL of your life, the better your relationships will be.

For example, you don’t jump to the conclusion that your lover is always nasty when it isn’t the case.  The difference between, my lover is hateful and right now my lover is unusually crabby and hard to please is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

In fact, this kind of optimism empowers and makes easier all the steps I listed first!

I commend it to you!   

Hope too that your Valentine’s goes well or went well!   

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The most effective heart protection -- for heart month 2013….

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 2-12-2013

Every year in February is Heart Month because the symbol of Valentine’s day is a heart.

So I thought a good post to do would be on the surprising things that are the most effective ways to prevent heart disease.

There are 4 categories.

Here’s the first surprise, the first 3 methods are the safest and most complete and most effective methods.

Statins and other drugs are in category 4.  So, people who rely only on those, get weak and only partial protection. New drugs may change that. But it’s true now.

Of the categories, the first two have 90 % of the value.

The first two are:

1.  Regular, vigorous exercise every week with some moderate exercise too for those who can also fit that in.

2.  Eating and drinking almost exclusively real foods and NOT eating and drinking heart attack starter. (This includes avoiding virtually all tobacco smoke because both self administered and second hand smoke are heart attack starters -- AND they trigger heart attacks too!)

1.  Regular, vigorous exercise every week with some moderate exercise too for those who can also fit that in is THE number one best heart protector.

In fact, as long as you get into it safely and build up slowly, such exercise is simply THE best heart protection known.

Such exercise has been shown to be the best protection for people with high blood pressure.  Such exercise tends to prevent or reverse insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and obesity.  And, the more years you do it in a row recent studies show the better your heart health lipid measures get! Best of all, it isn’t just the readings; your real heart protection keeps improving!

And, as we posted on many times, including our Friday post last week, such exercises slows or delays aging.  So, since many of the problems that cause heart disease get worse with age, vigorous exercise every week prevents or delays those also.

You must use the second method and it’s best to add the third one before you ramp up your exercise.  Starting easy and progressing slowly also helps.  That way if your heart attack risk is currently quite high you don’t give yourself one with your exercise. 

Two other things also help.  Build up your strength training first with super slow repetitions.  Those are surprisingly safe since you use lighter weights and don’t make snapping motions that can cause injuries at all using that method. 

And, in your cardio once you add it, if you feel close to your limit particularly at first, take a brief break until you recover a bit and you recover your breath and your heart rate drops a bit before you continue.  (Snow shoveling and sometimes running Marathons can trigger heart attacks or damage your heart precisely because people DON’T cut themselves such breaks or use them often enough.)

2.  Eating and drinking almost exclusively real foods and NOT eating and drinking heart attack starter. (This includes avoiding virtually all tobacco smoke because both self administered and second hand smoke are heart attack starters -- AND they trigger heart attacks too!)

This one is nearly as effective as regular, vigorous exercise!  And the reason is totally simple.

If you stop GIVING yourself heart disease -- because you stop ingesting heart attack starter foods and food components, you get a lot of heart protection!

Put that way, it seems a bit of no brainer doesn’t it?!

It’s literally quite comparable to fire prevention. 

Yes, you want things like great detectors and fire extinguishers and automatic sprinklers and more. Having a fire department with a very quick response time can also help.

But if you keep wandering around the building you want protect from throwing out lit matches and starting fires off and on at various places every day, guess what?

You’d wind up with a LOT more fires if you were to do that.

The horrible news is that most Americans do exactly that with what they eat and drink every day.

a) Hydrogenated oils cause your LDL to go up and have more of the heart attack starting small particle LDL that builds up and causes inflammation and harms your blood vessels.  Eating any at all is quite literally heart attack starter.

Worse, consuming just a little bit several days a week is NOT safe either.  It takes your body over two weeks to get rid of half of any hydrogenated oils you eat.  So if you eat ANY on a regular basis, you build up to the point you are giving yourself heart disease 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Guess what?  That means that putting nondairy creamer in your morning coffee each morning is as effective in causing heart disease as setting a fire or two every day would be in causing fire problems.

b) Consuming high fructose corn syrup, consuming more sugar in a week than the average American gets per day, and eating any refined grain based foods – and even eating whole grain foods in excess are each and every one heart attack starter.  Unfortunately, regular soft drinks do this extra and diet soft drinks do it even more!

Something like 95% of the population has no clue these foods and drinks are unsafe to consume.

But they really are! 

They cause heart disease in three ways and each way is effective.  So they are literally as bad for you as hydrogenated oils or smoking!

1) They spike your blood sugar.  When your blood has too much sugar as a result, the sugar crystals stick on to your LDL cholesterol particles – even the larger fluffy ones that are normally harmless – and everywhere your blood goes it damages the inner surface of your blood vessels.  In your capillaries, this can even destroy them completely if it goes on too long or too much.

Your body tries to put out that inflammation and patch the damage with extra plaque build up.  Then between the smaller blood vessel remaining and the destroyed blood vessels heat attacks and fatal heart attacks become far more  likely.

2) Unbelievably, that’s not all!  Eating or drinking these things boosts the dickens out of your triglycerides which new research is showing are even more harmful than LDL cholesterol!

It turns out high triglycerides are a blood marker of having lots of small particle LDL!

Is that the same stuff that makes hydrogenated oils so effective as a heart attack starter?

You bet it is!

3) Obesity causes many people to exercise less and have high blood pressure. Exercising less removes the essential heart protection regular vigorous exercise could have given you otherwise.  And the high blood pressure caused by the extra weight for your heart to pump against strains your heart too.

People who eat and drink lots of foods from this category and drink soft drinks every day are almost all fat if they do it long enough.

The far better news is that stopping 99% to all these foods and drinks, can often remove that 25 to 225 pounds of extra fat with no added hunger!

c)  Eating oils high in omega 6 such as corn, soy, and canola and eating lots of fats from animals fed grain which has even more omega 6 oils and NOT getting enough omega 3 oils, harms your brain and causes high levels of chronic inflammation.

Excessive inflammation has the almost the same effect on your blood vessels as high blood sugar because your body sees it and decides to add extra patches inside your blood vessels and again causes heart disease.

Important note, if you virtually eliminate these extra sources of omega 6 oils and take omega 3 supplements and eat wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils, you do NOT need to take aspirin or statins to reduce this high inflammation.

It also helps to use almost exclusively extra virgin olive oil instead and eat raw nuts and avocados if you aren’t allergic to them.  These monosaturated oils are neutral and do NOT cause inflammation.

As a side benefit to make this health upgrade, lowering this kind of excessive inflammation also helps prevent osteoarthritis and many cancers.

Eating a Mediterranean diet or a DASH II diet or a combination but with far less refined grain foods and more vegetables is an excellent way to eat instead.

These three styles avoid the stuff that harms your heart.  Many of the foods taste really good.  And people can live very well on them!

3.  There are supplements that boost your heart protection that do work and have virtually no side effects.

a) The exception on side effects is niacin but it’s the most protective.  I find that taking 300 mg of niacin after I eat my breakfast and after I eat my lunch mostly avoids the flush effect.

Yet my HDL is high; and my LDL and triglycerides are low in part because I do this.

Best of all, when people take niacin in this way their overall rate of death goes down.  (No drug so far has done that as far as I know.)

b)  Taking beta sitosterol or other sterol supplements lowers LDL cholesterol significantly and has no side effects.

c) Taking curcumin supplements or turmeric that contains the curcumin also lowers LDL cholesterol and inflammation too. Even better, if you take it with black pepper it works to prevent many cancers and prevents Alzheimer’s disease.

It does have a side effect.  If you spill any on a wet spot on your clothes or spill a curry that has a bit of oil in it on your clothes, turmeric’s yellow color is a dye.  It’s often dreadfully hard to wash off.  But being careful with curried food and taking the capsules mostly avoids that.

There are about 10 more supplements that help.  But these 3 are the heavy hitters and I’m about out of time.

If you take the first two steps well and add these 3 supplements, you will have extraordinarily high heart protection.

4.  What about the drugs?

There may eventually be better ones; but most of them now have way more side effects than these first 3 steps and are dramatically less effective.

Many doctors simply don’t know these first 3 steps – or they don’t now know of time-efficient ways to ensure their patients use them.

They have been told that statin drugs reduce LDL cholesterol and excess inflammation and prevent heart attacks.

But these effects are weak and incomplete without the first 3 steps.  And if you do the first 3 steps well you don’t need to add statin drugs.

Of more importance, the side effects and weak heart attack prevention of statins mostly override the small amount of good statins do.

Worse, are these three things.

a)  The majority of people get very little heart attack prevention from statins because for people with those genes only 1 heart attack is prevented for every 100 people taking statins.  About 3% of them get cataracts they would have otherwise avoided; and many of the other side effects are far worse.

The minority with the genes that seem to make statins effective for them do get better protection; but they get the side effects too.  So, except for people with high levels of existing heart disease or who just had a heart attack even this group can get better and safer protection from the first 3 steps without using statin drugs.

b)  This means that most people should likely not take statins at all.  And the people statins CAN help don’t need them either unless their current heart health is dreadful for the same reason and they ARE using the first 3 methods.

Wouldn’t it at least make sense to know which group you are in before you take statin drugs?

Yep.  And there is a genetic test that cardiologist Arthur Agatson said in an article can now be done for about $150 that can tell you and your doctor which of the two groups you are in.

If your doctor has prescribed or recommended you take statins, did that doctor have you get that test first?

As far as I know, most doctors still have never heard of this information and never get this test done first!


c)  THE most effective way to protect your heart is regular, vigorous exercise.  But if you take statins, particularly if you use a stronger one or take a high dose, that kind of exercise will gradually destroy your muscle cells. And, if it gets bad enough this effect can kill you.

The better news is that recent research found that this IS caused by the CoQ10 statins deplete. There is a good chance that other serious brain and nerve side effects of statins may be compensated for the same way I think.

So, if you are in the group statins can help, and decide to take them, it’s imperative to know to take 200 mg a day of ubiquinol which is the most effective way to get extra CoQ10 to your muscles – and your heart!

Mercifully at least some doctors now know to prescribe that.  But it’s still a tiny minority, the others either know nothing of this or don’t yet know to use ubiquinol instead of the far less effective CoQ10 supplements.

But as you can see, I hope, most doctors who prescribe statins now still don’t know enough about  when to do so or how to make taking them safe.

The horrible news is that most of them only know to use statins for heart protection and not any of these other things, so they tend to be aggressive in suggesting them.

With this information you now know better and more effective ways to protect your heart. 

And you do know how to find out if taking statins would protect you and how to take them far more safely if you are in that minority of people as determined  by actual test.  

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