BCAAs

What are BCAAs and where are they found?

BCAAs stand for branched-chain amino acids, which include the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are essential nutrients found in proteins, such as meat, dairy and legumes.  They are considered “branched-chain” because of their chemical structure. BCAAS appear to stimulate protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown. They are unique because they are the only amino acids used directly by the muscle for energy during exercise, and therefore, they can be depleted quickly.

What are the benefits?

BCAAs are used to improve exercise performance and reduce the breakdown of muscles during intense exercise. They are also used to prevent fatigue, decrease muscle soreness, improve concentration, and to treat various medical conditions, such as anorexia, cancer, liver disease, mania, ALS, McArdle’s Disease, spinocerebellar degeneration, tardive dyskinesia, and kidney failure in elderly patients.

Are there interactions with food, medications or herbal supplement?

BCAAs may interact with diabetes medications because they may decrease blood sugar.  They also may interact with Levodopa, steroids, and diazoxide. Consult a physician when taking any of these medications before starting BCAAs.

Are there side effects?

BCAAs have few side effects; sometimes they may cause fatigue or loss of coordination. Consult a doctor before taking BCAAs if you are pregnant, have ALS, or chronic alcoholism. BCAAs should be stopped 2 weeks prior to any scheduled surgery.

It Matters What Men Think

A new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science showed there is a link between women’s beliefs about what men look for in females and how satisfied women are with their own bodies.The research showed that that women were happier with their own weight when they were told that men preferred large-bodied women.  These women were had a better body image, higher levels of self-esteem, ate better, were more active and had and lower levels of depression. Many women believe that men desire extremely thin model-like women like those portrayed in fashion magazines and the media. This study shows that despite the popular media, women can increase their self-esteem if they believe that the men they are attracted to aren’t comparing them to a Barbie Doll and actually prefer a woman with some substance.

Sitting Shortens Life

It is common knowledge that physical activity and a good diet increase life expectancy, and there are many studies and articles advocating exercising and starting a better lifestyle. While daily exercise is certainly important, new research shows that sitting for extended periods of time during the day has a negative impact on health, even when you exercise regularly.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods of time raised the average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death, even for those people who engage in regular physical activity. Every day, we sit to drive, to watch television, to eat, and unfortunately, most of us sit all day at work.  In fact, Americans probably spend half of their waking life sitting! The risk is  higher for those individuals with lower levels of physical activity, so it is important to continue your exercise routine.

Sitting is inevitable, so make sure to get up and take breaks at work, and try  to stretch and walk around during TV commercials. And of course, exercise regularly no matter what you do the rest of the day. It will help lower your risk of diseases and premature death.

Holiday Weight Hard to Come Off

Many Americans are finding that the weight they gain during the holidays stubbornly does not come off at the start of the new year. According to a recent article in PLOS One Journal, this is because people wind up consuming MORE calories after Christmas!!! During the holiday season, people consume more calories than usual as they go to parties, buffets and large family feasts. However, they don’t stop purchasing junk food at the start of the new year, even though they start purchasing three times as many healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the consumption of healthy foods increased but consumption of non-healthy foods remained constant. This results in Americans eating 14% more calories and spending $20 more on each shopping trip than before the Christmas holiday! Yikes! Start 2015 off right and keep away from sugary fattening foods to get yourself back on the right track!

Sugar and Stress

We became so obsessed with cholesterol being the cause of heart disease, that we ignored the real problems…sugar, inflammation & stress ( from Frank Lipman).

As the new year approaches, think about making a healthier you by changing your lifestyle and behaviors. Do not just focus on one thing, like cholesterol. Illness is caused by many factors, and the best way to stay healthy is to drink plenty of water, exercise and get your protein and nutrients. You only have one body. Relax and take care of it!!!

Millions of American with Undiagnosed Diabetes

Make sure you are screened for diabetes! A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that nearly 3 in 10 Americans (8 million) with diabetes don’t know that they have it! Furthermore, about 2/3 of the undiagnosed patients had been to the doctor 2-3 times in the past year. Some of the risk factors for diabetes are being overweight or obese, having a family history of the disease, and a lack of physical activity. Diabetes symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing cuts and scrapes, and frequent urination. Diabetes is a major cause of death and the leading cause of adult-onset blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations. Be your own best advocate and monitor your health. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. http://ow.ly/FeF2P

Is There A “Right” Time To Exercise???

Some people are early birds and exercise at the crack of dawn while others are night owls who wouldn’t dream of getting to the gym until the afternoon or evening. Is one group reaping more benefits than the other?  While research has shown little difference in calories burned or muscle gained by exercising at various times of the day, when you exercise can influence how you feel during exercise and throughout the course of the day.

It is most important to make sure that exercise fits into your family and work schedules, or you will never stick to a routine.  That being said, there are many benefits to working out in the morning hours. First, it kick-starts your metabolism and energizes you for the day. Additionally, exercising in the morning may decrease your stress levels when you get to work. People who work out in the morning often feel better about their work-life balance. If you need to work late, you probably won’t be as upset as you’ve already completed your workout.  Starting your day with a good workout also uplifts your mood and makes you feel good about yourself.

If you have trouble with consistency, morning may be the best time to exercise. This ensures that your activity is completed before any kind of stress or pressure from the day impedes your ability to get to the gym and interferes with your good intentions. You will be less likely to skip your workout for other obligations. Morning exercise has been shown to set your pace and focus for the day. If you exercise early in the day, you may also be more motivated to make healthier food choices.

Additionally, research has shown that morning exercise improves sleep, and better sleep is correlated with weight loss. This is because sleep controls the hormonal balance that helps control appetite. People who exercise in the evening may have difficulty falling asleep, throwing this balance off. It is important to wind down before bedtime and have regular, healthy bedtime habits so that your heart rate and body temperature come to a good rest zone.

While morning is shown to be a better time to exercise for the above stated reasons, many people find it extremely difficult to wake up early and get to the gym, especially if they did not sleep well the night before or are overtired. Some people just cannot motivate in the morning, or their schedule only permits them to exercise during lunchtime or in the evening.  If you do work out at lunchtime, make sure to eat after you exercise or your digestive system will be fighting with your muscles for energy. Working out after work can be beneficial to help you unwind and relax after a stressful day. If you can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning, you are likely to have more energy and be more productive in the afternoon, so do what works for you.

It is of upmost importance to schedule physical exercise into your life and make it a daily habit. The most important thing is to get moving, no matter what time of the day it is!

Obesity Linked to Cancer

Lose weight to reduce your cancer risk. A new study published in Lancet Oncology found that being overweight or obese led to 481,000 cancers in one year. This is 3.6% of all cancers around the world. The risk was higher for women than men and it was higher in the wealthiest countries. The take home message is to eat right and exercise to remain as healthy as possible. Don’t overindulge this holiday season. Keep going to the gym and keep the sweets to a minimum.

L-Arginine

What is L-arginine and where is it found?

L-arginine is an amino acid; amino acids are the chemical building blocks of protein. L-arginine is obtained from the diet through red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. It can also be made in a laboratory and used as medicine. L-arginine is used for heart and blood vessel conditions because it is converted into nitric oxide inside the body, which dilates the blood vessels and causes increased blood flow. Additionally, L-arginine stimulates the release of growth hormone and insulin. It also triggers the body to make protein and is associated with wound healing.

What are the benefits of L-arginine?

L-arginine is used to treat congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. It is also taken to improve dementia, erectile dysfunction and male infertility. Some people use L-arginine for preventing the common cold, improving kidney function after a kidney transplant, high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), improving athletic performance, boosting the immune system, and preventing inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants. It is also used topically for wound healing and to increase blood flow to the hands and feet.

Additionally, L-arginine can be combined with a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat various conditions. For instance, L-arginine is used along with ibuprofen for migraine headaches. It is also used with conventional chemotherapy drugs to treat breast cancer; with other amino acids for treating weight loss in people with AIDS; and with fish oil and other supplements for reducing infections, improving wound healing, and shortening recovery time after surgery.

Are there interactions between L-arginine and food, medications or herbal supplement?

L-arginine should not be taken with nitrates or anti-hypertensive drugs. Consult a doctor before taking arginine of you are on Viagra. Avoid xylitol, a sugar alcohol when taking arginine.

Are there side effects from taking L-arginine?

L-arginine can cause some side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gout, blood abnormalities, allergies, airway inflammation, worsening of asthma, and low blood pressure.

Consult a doctor before taking L-arginine if you have allergies, asthma, low blood pressure, or have had a recent heart attack. Stop taking L-arginine 2 weeks before any type of surgery.

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