Inflammation Is a key participant in all aging and disease

Inflammation influence on aging process itself, not just age related disease

 

We know NAD+ levels go down dramatically as we age.   Many recent and ongoing research studies are   investigating protocols for boosting NAD+ levels in elderly individuals to combat both disease and infirmities related to aging.  Supplementing with Nicotinamide Riboside and/or NMN are 2 that are attracting a great deal of attention, especially after Dr David Sinclair demonstrated that raising NAD+ levels in elderly mice could “turn back the clock” leaving them with muscular function of young mice.

 

  • NAD+ is key for mitochondria to perform all functions within the body
  • NAD+ levels go down as we age
  • Lower NAD+ levels impair all functions in the body
  • Inflammation lower NAD+ levels

 

What you can do about it:

Exercise

  • HIIT
  • Weight Training
  • Cardio

Diet and Nutrition

  • Weight loss – especially visceral fat
  • foods  – dr axe, perricone, weill (trufood restaurants)
  • fasting

Herbs & Supplements

NAD+ boosters

  • Niagen
  • NMN
  • Grape Seed Extract

Anti-inflammatories, Anti-oxidants

  • Curcumin
  • omega 3 oils
  • CoQ10
  • PQQ
  • Boswellia
  • Green Tea
  • Pomegranate
  • Lycopene

AMPK activators

  • Berberine
  • Metformin

Probiotics

What is Inflammation?

from watson at antiagingfirewalls.com

Inflammation is a necessary part of our bodies defensive response to injury and disease, as it strives to eliminate the cause of irritation and is an essential initial stage of healing injured tissues.  We could not survive without it.   Unfortunately, if the cause of the irritation or illness is not eliminated, inflammation can often get out of control.  Such Chronic Inflammation is now recognized to be  both a cause and effect of nearly ALL age related conditions such as cancer, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimers, IBS, asthma, COPD, depression, fatigue and more (456).

 

Anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. For example, Curcumin  a powerful anti-inflammatory that  matches the effectiveness of many prescription drugs in treating some chronic conditions, but without the side effects (71011121314).   You can read more about some of the amazing benefits of Curcumin here.

Chronic inflammation, sometimes referred to as constitutive inflammation, other times as inflammaging, can persist over an extended period of weeks to months and even years.  It is often associated with the presence of macrophages and lymphocytes, fibrosis, vascular proliferation, and tissue destruction.  Moreover, chronic inflammation plays critical roles in many disease processes including cancers, dementias, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclorsis, sarcopenia, and anaemia.  Chronic inflammation occurs in the case of incurable autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The biological mechanisms of chronic inflammation can be very complex,  Nuclear factor- B (NF-κB) is activated by more than 200 different stimuli has for good reason been thought of as the master activator of inflammation.  It is a central topic in this blog entry.  For example, during inflammation immune system macrophage cells could be activated by Toll-like receptors (TLRs), through the recognition of a pathogen endotoxin such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This event initiates a signaling pathway that releases NF-κB into the cell nucleus, activating genes associated with the transcription of proteins related to the inflammatory process, such as iNOS, responsible for NO synthesis, COXs, which synthetize prostaglandins, and cytokines like IL-6. The generation of ROS is also triggered by the TLR signaling pathway.

Among the highly technical topics related to chronic inflammation and its consequences are Activating protein-1 (AP-1), AGEs, RAGE receptor, PAMPs, DAMPs, RNS, leukotrienes, LOX, prostaglandins, COX1, COX2, Resolvins, Protectins, Maresins, the NLRP3 inflammasome, lipoxins, Ca++ induced inflammation, pyroptosis, cellular senescence-induced inflammation, roles of inflammation in aging, potassium efflux out of a cell, mitochondrial ROS, translocation of NLRP3 to the mitochondria, cytosolic release of mitochondrial DNA, cardiolipin release, release of lysosomal cathepsin D into the cytosol, extracellular LPS “priming” of NLRP3, amyloid-beta “triggering” of NLRP3  via TLR4,  ATP, and pore-forming toxins.  We expect to touch on most of these in this blog series on inflammation.

Inflammation and aging

Since chronic inflammation plays central roles in numerous deleterious health processes and in aging, it is often referred to as “inflammaging” and is the subject of much ongoing research.  From the 2014 publication Chronic inflammation (inflammaging) and its potential contribution to age-associated diseases:  “Human aging is characterized by a chronic, low-grade inflammation, and this phenomenon has been termed as “inflammaging.” Inflammaging is a highly significant risk factor for both morbidity and mortality in the elderly people, as most if not all age-related diseases share an inflammatory pathogenesis.  Nevertheless, the precise etiology of inflammaging and its potential causal role in contributing to adverse health outcomes remain largely unknown.  The identification of pathways that control age-related inflammation across multiple systems is therefore important in order to understand whether treatments that modulate inflammaging may be beneficial in old people.”

The 2016 publication Inflammaging and Anti-Inflammaging: The Role of Cytokines in Extreme Longevity points out the central linkages between inflammation and aging.  “Longevity and aging are two sides of the same coin, as they both derive from the interaction between genetic and environmental factors.  Aging is a complex, dynamic biological process characterized by continuous remodeling. One of the most recent theories on aging focuses on immune response, and takes into consideration the activation of subclinical, chronic low-grade inflammation which occurs with aging, named “inflammaging.”  Long-lived people, especially centenarians, seem to cope with chronic subclinical inflammation through an anti-inflammatory response, called therefore “anti-inflammaging.”  In the present review, we have focused our attention on the contrast between inflammaging and anti-inflammaging systems, by evaluating the role of cytokines and their impact on extreme longevity.  Cytokines are the expression of a network involving genes, polymorphisms and environment, and are involved both in inflammation and anti-inflammation.  We have described the role of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-12, IL-15, IL-18, IL-22, IL-23, TNF-α, IFN-γ as pro-inflammatory cytokines, of IL-1Ra, IL-4, IL-10, TGF-β1 as anti-inflammatory cytokines, and of lipoxin A4 and heat shock proteins as mediators of cytokines.  We believe that if inflammaging is a key to understand aging, anti-inflammaging may be one of the secrets of longevity.”  This is an opinion I (Vince) hold. In a later blog entry in this series, I will share some of the approaches to anti-inflammaging I have been personally and professionally pursing.

 

 

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Chronic Inflammation accelerate aging and disease

 The following is from Oprah.com site from 2005!!!

Dr. Perricone’s years of research have shown that the inflammation-aging connection is the single greatest cause of aging and age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, certain forms of cancer, diminished mental and physical energy, the loss of muscle mass and wrinkled, sagging skin.

This chronic inflammation goes on day after day, year in and year out, leading to disease states as well as the disease of aging. In fact, aging is a chronic, uniformly progressive, inflammatory disease that is always fatal.

Our food choices are critical when it comes to causing and controlling inflammation. This is good to know because it actually means we are in control of the situation!

This is the key to health, longevity, mental clarity, well-being and beautiful youthful skin. Foods that are pro-inflammatory, such as all forms of sugar, processed foods, pasta, breads, pastry, baked goods, and snack foods such as rice and corn cakes, chips, pretzels, etc., cause a highly destructive pro-inflammatory response in our bodies. If we choose sugary or starchy foods, we trigger this pro-inflammatory release of sugar into our bloodstream, which causes our body to store fat rather than burn it for energy.

The result? Acceleration of the aging process of all organ systems in our body, including the skin, causing an increased risk of degenerative disease and inflexible, wrinkled, sagging skin. In addition, by eating that muffin or couple of cookies, the resulting insulin response triggers our appetite—causing us to crave more and more of these types of carbohydrates, resulting in a vicious cycle of overeating.

That is the bad news! Now for the good news:

Fortunately we can control inflammation in our bodies. It starts with the very foods we eat. All we have to do is avoid foods that provoke a “glycemic” response in the body, i.e. cause a rapid rise in blood sugar.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/dr-perricones-inflammation-aging-connection-concept#ixzz4cDz9vQmG

below from DrAxe.com

Inflammation has been found to be associated with just about every health condition.  Researchers are furiously investigating chronic inflammation’s effects on health and possible preventive medical applications.

It’s “an emerging field,” says UCLA’s Dr. David Heber. “It’s a new concept for medicine.” (1)

Why is it a new concept? Because modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms, not addressing the root cause of an issue.Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. Instead of taking a medication to reduce joint pain or lower cholesterol, we would be better served by reducing inflammation in the body.

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.”

Although inflammation has long been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Edwards says that Alzheimer’s diseasecancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressurehigh cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body.

 

What Inflammation is, and Why You Should Care

Just to make sure that we’re all on the same page, I want to briefly explain what inflammation is.

I’m not going to get into much detail, because inflammation is extremelycomplicated.

It involves dozens of cell types and hundreds of different signalling molecules, all of which communicate in immensely complex ways.

Older Male Doctor, Smaller

Put simply, inflammation is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, toxins or cell injury.

The purpose of inflammation is to affect the function of immune cells, blood vessels and signalling molecules, to initiate an attack against foreign invaders or toxins, and begin repair of damaged structures.

We’re all familiar with acute (short-term) inflammation.

For example, if you get bitten by a bug, or hit your big toe on the doorstep, then you will become inflamed.

The area will become red, hot and painful. This is inflammation at play.

Inflammation is generally considered to be a good thing. Without it, pathogens like bacteria and viruses could easily take over our bodies and kill us.

However, there is another type of inflammation that may be harmful, because it is inappropriately deployed against the body’s cells (7).

This is a type of inflammation that is active all the time, and may be present in your entire body. If is often called chronic inflammation, low-grade inflammation, or systemic inflammation (8).

For example, your blood vessels (like your coronary arteries) may be inflamed, as well as structures in your brain (910).

It is now believed that chronic, systemic inflammation is one of the leading drivers of some of the world’s most serious diseases (11).

This includes obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s diseasedepression and numerous others (1213141516).

However, it is not known exactly what causes the inflammation in the first place.

Bottom Line: Inflammation is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, toxins and cell injury. Chronic inflammation, involving the entire body, is believed to drive many killer diseases.

 

Why Care About Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are called polyunsaturated because they have many double bonds (poly = many).

Our bodies don’t have the enzymes to produce them and therefore we must get them from the diet.

If we don’t get any from the diet, then we develop a deficiency and become sick. That is why they are termed the “essential” fatty acids.

However, these fatty acids are different than most other fats. They are not simply used for energy or stored, they are biologically active and have important roles in processes like blood clotting and inflammation.

The thing is… Omega-6s and Omega-3s don’t have the same effects. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect (1).

Of course, inflammation is essential for our survival. It helps protect our bodies from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is inappropriate or excessive.

In fact, excess inflammation may be one of the leading drivers of the most serious diseases we are dealing with today, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, many types of cancer, etc.

Put simply, a diet that is high in Omega-6 but low in Omega-3 increases inflammation, while a diet that includes balanced amounts of each reduces inflammation (2).

The problem today, is that people who eat a typical Western diet are eating way too many Omega-6s relative to Omega-3s.

Bottom Line: An Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio that is too high can contribute to excess inflammation in the body, potentially raising the risk of all sorts of diseases.

 

 

 

ROLE OF INTESTINAL FLORA

We may not realize that our intestinal flora can be a driver of inflammation. Gut-associated inflammation has been linked to insulin resistance, some forms of cancer, and even mental health concerns.

The trillions of bacteria that live within our gut have an intimate connection to our immune system, helping to strike a balance between tolerance and regulation. One type of bacteria that can cause inflammation is gram-negative bacteria.

GRAM-NEGATIVE BACTERIA INCITE INFLAMMATION

Some gram-negative bacteria exist naturally in a balance with gram-positive bacteria in our gut. But excessive or harmful gram-negative bacteria may appear due to an infection or in response to poor lifestyle choices, such as a high-fat, low-fibre diet.

Gram-negative bacteria have molecules in their cell walls called lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are a little like a coat of gnarly armour. If the barrier function of the gut is diminished (which can result from a high-fat, high-sugar diet, stress, or other causes), these LPS can enter the bloodstream, where they incite an inflammatory response.

PROBIOTICS MAY REDUCE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

While we see evidence that altered intestinal flora can lead to increased inflammatory markers, the ability of probiotics to reduce chronic inflammation is still being researched. In some studies, selected strains or blends of probiotic bacteria have outcompeted gram-negative bacteria. In addition, some probiotics have been shown to physically reinforce the gut barrier to prevent LPS passage. Through research to date, we see that certain probiotic strains within the Lactobacillus group are strong enough to act this way.

Some probiotic bacteria have also shown promise in reducing the production of messengers called pro-inflammatory cytokines. Probiotic bacteria produce substances known as short chain fatty acids, which can lower inflammatory markers in addition to strengthening the gut barrier.

Chronic inflammation can be debilitating, but it is not a life sentence. Inflammation is best addressed through an integrative approach to healthy living: eat more plants, move more, manage stress, and don’t forget to use beneficial bacteria to your immune advantage.

 

 

 

 

You know what inflammation looks like: You get a cut or bruise, and the area around it soon turns red, gets warm, and swells up. This is called the acute inflammatory response, and it’s your immune system’s defensive reaction to infection or injury. A complex array of immune cells congregate at the site and release a variety of chemicals to deal with the infectious organisms or debris from the injury and to allow tissue repair to begin; normally the inflammation gradually subsides. This immune response is essential to life.

But there’s another way inflammation works—it can be chronic and cause a low-grade systemic reaction. Because it increases with aging, it has been dubbed “inflammaging.” Chronic systemic inflammation has been the focus of a great deal of scientific attention during the past two decades (especially the past few years) and is now viewed as a sort of “unified field” explanation for many, if not most, age-related chronic diseases.

Accordingly, factors (genetic, lifestyle, and environmental) that promote chronic inflammation or disrupt the body’s protective mechanisms against it may increase the risk of premature aging and the disorders that go with it. On the other hand, healthy aging and longevity may be related to reduced levels of inflammation and/or strong protective mechanisms that guard against its adverse effects.

This was suggested by the results of a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal last year, which included 3,000 British civil servants. It found a strong link between higher levels of chronic inflammation (as measured by blood levels of an inflammatory marker) and a decreased likelihood of “successful aging,” defined as optimal physical and cognitive health and the absence of chronic diseases. In fact, elevated levels of inflammation appeared to reduce the odds of successful aging by half over the next decade and to markedly increase the odds of cardiovascular disease and death.

 

Many complex roles

It can be both a cause andan effect of some disorders—setting up a vicious cycle that helps explain their chronic nature.

For example, chronic inflammation plays reciprocal roles with obesity and insulin resistance. It contributes to the development of insulin resistance, which in turn may help promote obesity. Conversely, obesity worsens insulin resistance and increases chronic inflammation, partly because body fat (especially the type surrounding internal organs) releases pro-inflammatory compounds. In effect, inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance reinforce one another, often resulting in type 2 diabetes. What’s more, many lifestyle factors that promote inflammation, such as being sedentary and having an unhealthy diet, also promote obesity and insulin resistance.

 

Hard to pin down

Chronic inflammation is a varied phenomenon that affects nearly every aspect of human physiology and disease development. Many different kinds of specialized cells and chemicals are involved in producing and regulating these inflammatory processes.

Since it is so complex, there is no way to measure chronic inflammation directly. Instead, researchers measure a variety of inflammatory chemical markers in the blood or tissue, notably interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), C-reactive protein, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. Elevated levels of these factors are good indicators of disease activity for some conditions (such as inflammatory bowel disease). But it’s not clear whether measuring them adequately gauges inflammation and the resulting risks for some other disorders (such as cancer).

Time for CRP Testing?

C-reactive protein, or CRP, is produced by the liver in response to inflammation. Of all markers for inflammation, it has gotten the most attention because research has shown that elevated blood levels are strongly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even in people otherwise at low risk.

This was seen in the well-known JUPITER study a few years ago, which focused on people with desirable cholesterol levels but elevated CRP. It found that they greatly reduced their risk of heart attacks and strokes when they took a statin drug. Besides lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, statins have anti-inflammatory effects, as seen in reductions in CRP.

Subsequently the FDA approved rosuvastatin—the statin used in JUPITER—for people who have desirable levels of LDL but high CRP and at least one other coronary risk factor. And according to revised cholesterol guidelines released last year, in cases where there’s uncertainty about statin treatment, CRP level is one of several factors that doctors should consider in making the decision.

Most doctors do not routinely measure CRP, however. It’s not clear what cutoff should be used to define high CRP, nor is it certain that bringing down elevated CRP will, by itself, be beneficial. Still, if you’re at intermediate coronary risk, and you and your doctor are on the fence about starting drug therapy, you should consider CRP testing. A high result could tip the balance toward a statin.

 

The link to heart disease

For many years atherosclerosis was seen as a kind of plumbing problem—that is, merely a matter of plaque building up in the walls of coronary arteries and clogging them. But blood vessels are nothing like pipes—they are active tissue involved in complex processes. In simplest terms, cells lining the vessels absorb cholesterol (and other substances) from the blood, leading to the build-up of plaque. The body perceives this plaque as an injury and sends inflammatory cells into the vessel walls, where they set off a cascade of events that can ultimately cause plaque to rupture and a clot to form over it. If the clot breaks off or otherwise obstructs blood flow to the heart or brain, this can result in a heart attack or stroke.

It now appears that inflammation plays key roles in all stages of the development of cardiovascular disease. Bacterial or viral infection may also trigger the inflammatory process in blood vessels. Meanwhile, coronary risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, undesirable cholesterol levels, and smoking cause or worsen arterial inflammation. Having an inflammatory disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease, also increases coronary risk.

Some medications that help prevent heart attacks and strokes, notably statins, do so at least in part by reducing inflammation. The story is more complicated regarding aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). At the low doses used to protect the heart, aspirin has only a small effect on inflammation; its heart benefit comes primarily from its ability to reduce the risk of blood clots. No other NSAIDs are good for the heart. In fact, some NSAIDs, notably celecoxib (Celebrex), increase the risk of heart attacks slightly.

 

 

The cancer connection

As early as the mid-19th century, scientists found links between chronic inflammation (or its markers) and cancer. It’s now estimated that more than 20 percent of cancer cases are associated with inflammation.

Inflammation is involved with cancer development on many levels. Notably, it contributes to tumor initiation by inducing oxidative stress, DNA damage, and chromosomal instability. It promotes tumor cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis (programmed cell death after a certain number of cell divisions, a good thing when it comes to cancer cells). Simply put, increased inflammation makes it easier for normal cells to transform into malignant cells.

The evidence is strongest concerning gastrointestinal cancers, including certain kinds of colon, liver, esophageal, and stomach cancer. It’s theorized that these organs are at high risk because they are exposed directly to pro-inflammatory dietary and environmental factors. Inflammation can also alter colonic microflora in ways that increase cancer risk.

On the positive side again, evidence is accumulating that aspirin, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect, can reduce the risk of certain types of colon cancer and possibly certain other cancers.

 

What does all this mean for you?

What can you do to reduce chronic inflammation and the risks it entails? There is no magic food, pill, or treatment. But many of the same steps that help prevent cardiovascular disease may do so in part by helping to tamp down inflammation.

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Lab research has shown that many healthful foods, especially fatty fish, fruits, and vegetables (as well as chocolatewine, and tea) have anti-inflammatory effects. Other studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet tends to reduce inflammation (as measured by CRP). On the other hand, saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and other refined carbohydrates have pro-inflammatory effects in the body.
  • Aerobic exercise, done regularly and moderately, reduces chronic inflammation via a variety of complex mechanisms. In contrast, being sedentary or training very intensely both increase inflammation.
  • If you are very overweight, and especially if the extra pounds are in your abdomen, lose weight via a healthy diet and exercise. That will reduce inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Don’t smoke—it’s a powerful cause of inflammation. Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • If you have had a heart attack or are at elevated risk for one, talk to your doctor about low-dose aspirin. If you have no history of cardiovascular disease, however, the risks of aspirin therapy (bleeding in the stomach or brain) may outweigh its small benefit. Similarly, if you are at high risk for colon cancer because of polyps or family history, discuss aspirin therapy with your doctor.
  • If you’re prescribed a statin, here’s an added reason to take it: It serves double duty—against cholesterol and inflammation.
  • Don’t drink more than moderate amounts of alcohol.
  • Get adequate sleep and try to find ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Social isolation can also increase chronic inflammation, as was seen in a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior last year, so increasing social activities may help.

On the horizon: 

 

New Drugs May Restore Insulin Resistance

A drug which targets insulin signalling appears to restore insulin sensitivity in mice

Type 2 diabetes is a massive burden on healthcare systems around the world, and while current treatments are able to manage many aspects of the condition, they are not curative. A new drug being tested at the University of California may be able to change that. After daily treatment with the drug, mice displayed an improved ability to modulate blood glucose, which is progressively lost as the condition progresses.

“This could lead to a new therapeutic strategy for treating type 2 diabetes. If this new drug works as described, it could be used to reverse insulin resistance, but we need to know first if it does that safely in people”

This new drug inhibits an enzyme called low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMPTP), which has previously been implicated in diabetes development. Inhibition of this enzyme appears able to stimulate insulin receptors – therefore increasing glucose intake. The research builds on past studies which have shown that when LMPTP expression is blocked, mice are protected from developing diabetes induced by a high fat diet.

“The elegant studies here provide proof of concept that targeting LMPTP in the liver improves glucose control and liver insulin signalling in animals. Our compound is very specific for the target, and we do not see any side effects after treatment in mice for a month, but the next step is to rigorously establish if it’s safe for use in clinical trials. So far, the drug has only been tested in mice, and while some research in human genetics suggests this approach could work in people too, we need more research before we know how relevant this could be for people with type 2 diabetes”

Read more at New Scientist

Pump Up Your Body with the Paleo Diet

I’m sure many of you have heard about the paleo diet. It’s also known as the caveman diet, primal diet, Stone Age diet (think Flinstones), and the hunter-gatherer diet. Basically, it goes by one simple question: What would a caveman eat?

This is one of the healthiest ways to eat since it is the only nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you be lean, stay strong, and build up energy levels. According to Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet, “By following these nutritional guidelines, we put our diet more in line with the evolutionary pressures that shaped our current genetics, which in turn positively influences health and well being.”

This particular diet lessens the body’s glycemic load and also increases vitamin and nutrient consumption. In addition, it has a healthy ratio of saturated-to-unsaturated fatty acids and also possesses an optimal balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Nowadays, since we’ve been exposed to processed food and fast food, sticking to this diet might be a little difficult. But with self-determination, this is actually quite achievable.

The Paleo Philosophy

The paleo diet is a way for us twenty-first-century humans to get back to nature. Basically, you consume anything that you can “hunt or find.” This means meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. Pasta, cereal, and anything else that did not exist yet during the Stone Age will have to take a backseat. You have to actually give up modern food. That means anything that comes in a bag, box, or jar is a no-no.

What’s great about this diet is you don’t count calories, carbs, or grams of fat. This makes it easier to stick to the plan.

So with that said, let’s tackle each paleo diet factor one by one.

Lean Proteins

Eating lean proteins in the form of meat support strong muscles, promotes bone health, and boosts the overall immune function. Protein also makes you feel fuller longer in between meals.

Healthy Fats

You can obtain this from nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish oil, avocados, or grass-fed meats. The fats you want to get a healthy amount of are the omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats. Studies show that these healthy fats reduce the likelihood of getting cancer, diabetes, overweight and obesity, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

Fruits and Vegetables

Of course, how can these guys go wrong? Fresh fruits and super healthy vegetables is the way to go! These babies are rich in vitamins, minerals, powerful antioxidants, and helpful phytonutrients. These factors decrease the development of a number of degenerative diseases. Some examples are diabetes, cancer, and neurological decline.

The Paleo Diet Benefits

Of course, if you religiously follow this diet, you will soon notice the positive effects it will have for you and your body? What are these effects? Here are just some of them.

Promotes Brain Health

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Also, they’re great for brain development and brain function. For babies, these healthy fats are vital for brain development and learning. And when you reach senior age, they are important for brain health during old age. Omega-3s reduce the likelihood of dementia and cognitive decline. And finally, they regulate the production of serotonin. This is an important neurotransmitter for mood.

Helps in Weight Loss

It’s a sad truth that very many Americans nowadays are overweight or obese. This is because of all the unhealthy but easily available (and really yummy!) food around us.

Of course, due to the limited food choices in the paleo diet, people tend to lose weight. It eliminates the highly processed and refined carbohydrates that are such a big part in the standard American diet. Also, this diet tends to keep you fuller longer.

Promotes Good Digestion

Eating too much man-made fats, sugar, and other processed food is super unhealthy. This causes inflammation in your intestinal tract. With the healthy food choices in the paleo diet, inflammation is obviously avoided.

In addition, the paleo diet provides a lot of fiber, which means lesser bloating, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues. And finally, this diet, improves the gut flora. This is vital in keeping a healthy digestion.

Fights against Diabetes

Around 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. And unfortunately, this number continues to rise.

However, fortunately, the paleo diet can help you combat this. It prevents insulin resistance and also improves existing glucose metabolism. In addition, it also prevents the rise of insulin resistance and regulates the blood sugar levels.

In many ways, the paleo diet is a healthy and natural way to halt the progression of diabetes.

Boosts the Immune System

Because you are taking in a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables, that means you naturally get a ton of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into your system. Along with that, you also get a healthy dose of antioxidants.

All these factors combined are natural defenses against harmful free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for introducing bad bacteria and diseases into our system. So with our immunity given an extra boost, we can safely conclude that we won’t get sick easily.

Provides Leaner Muscles

A major factor of this diet are lean meats. That means you get a healthy amount of proteins for your muscles. This leads to a leaner physique, where your muscles won’t stay underdeveloped. Eventually, this will also lead to muscle growth if you decide to try out weightlifting.

Having a leaner and better body structure means you can handle life’s challenges and stresses better. You will feel lighter and more energetic.

Makes You Sleep Better

The food we have nowadays contain plenty of chemicals and additives that meddle with our bodies and our brain. Once we get rid of those and start eating natural food, you’ll find that your body will feel tired at night, as it should.

You see, this is because at this time, your brain naturally releases serotonin. This is a signal to your body saying it’s time to rest. So without those additives and chemicals, your body easily gets the signal, and you sleep earlier.

You’ll soon find out that when you wake up in the morning, you won’t feel sluggish or tired. Instead, you’ll wake up feeling energized and ready to start the day. This is your body getting in tune with the circadian rhythm.

Detoxifies the Body

Again, this is because of the elimination of all those unhealthy junk so prevalent today. Say goodbye to refined sugar, gluten, MSG, trans fat, caffeine, and many more.

Give your body a break from all these harmful chemicals and additives. Instead, eat more healthy lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy and natural fats. You’ll be absorbing more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.

This means you’ll be getting rid of built-up and accumulated waste from your body. Many Paleo followers feel lighter and more clearheaded after a few weeks of going into this diet.

Aw, Nuts! The Healthiest Nuts to Munch On

Without a doubt, nuts are one of the most popular and most snacked-on foods in the world. Everyone knows what they are and what they look like. Nuts are nature’s way of saying that great things do come indeed in small packages.

Nuts have a ton of health benefits. These healthy powerhouses are packed with good fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To ensure you get the most out of these tiny morsels, make sure to consume them as is. Pairing them with sugary or salty mixes takes away from their nutritional value.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 nuts that are great to munch on.

Walnuts

I have to admit, walnuts are my favorite nuts to snack on. These are known to be super healthy for the heart. These nuts have the highest amount of heart-healthy alpha linoleic acid (ALA). This is a type of omega-3 fatty acid and helps with heart arrhythmias. It also reduces inflammation and oxidation in the arteries. Studies show that eating walnuts reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. However, it also increases “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

Aside from being great for the heart, walnuts also help with losing weight, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The recommended daily intake of walnuts is eight pieces a day.

Almonds

No, Almond M&Ms or chocolate-covered almonds don’t count. Almonds have the highest calcium content as compared to other nuts.

It is also very beneficial to the heart. It improves cholesterol levels and reduces total cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

In addition, almonds help in weight loss and lowers blood pressure in people who are overweight or obese.

They also help diabetics by lowering their blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation.

Peanuts

Okay, technically, they’re not really nuts. They’re part of the legume family. But, come on, many people consider them to be a part of the nut family. Besides, they share the same nutrient profiles and health benefits to other nuts.

Peanuts improves risk factors for heart disease and stroke. They also contain phytosterols. These are compounds that naturally lower cholesterol. They also contain resveratrol, which is another heart-healthy compound.

In addition, peanuts are high in folate. This is vital in brain development and also protects against cognitive decline. This makes a great snack for pregnant women who need folate to protect their unborn babies from birth defects.

Pistachios

These nuts are a great source of lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Adding them to your diet reduces the risk of lung cancer. They also improve the nervous system, strengthens muscles, fortifies the immune system, and lifts your mood.

Eating them as they’re in their shells are perfect to achieve that beach body. According to a study, “eating them in the shell automatically slows down your pace so the snack lasts longer, and you eat less overall.” They are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids. These tend to target belly fat.

And finally, pistachios help with oxidative status. This refers to blood levels of oxidized chemicals that contribute to heart disease.

Cashews

Adding cashews to your diet improves symptoms of metabolic syndrome. They also improve blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome. They also increase blood sugar in people with the same syndrome.

In addition, these nuts are rich in iron and zinc. The iron content delivers oxygen to every single cell in the body. This prevents anemia. Zinc aids in boosting the immune system and provides healthy vision.

The magnesium content in cashews improves memory and also protects against age-related memory loss.

Pecans

Pecans defend your arteries by preventing plaque formation in them. In addition, these lower LDL cholesterol levels. They also improve antioxidant profiles in the blood. It’s no wonder they are ranked part of the top 20 food for antioxidant capacity.

These nuts also boosts your brain health. The vitamin E content in them delays the progression of degenerative neurological diseases, like amyotropic lateral sclerosis. This is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

And finally, pecans are a rich source of oleic acid. This type of fatty acid suppresses a gene that triggers breast cancer.

Macadamia Nuts

These contain a high amount of healthy monounsaturated fats. That means they’re great in boosting heart health. They lower triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. In addition, they also lower other risk factors for heart disease. These include inflammation and oxidative stress.

Hazelnuts

Like all of the nuts discussed in this list, hazelnuts are great for the heart too. It improves blood vessel function. It reduces markers of inflammation. Also, it improves cholesterol levels and increases the amount of vitamin E in the blood. The vitamin E content prevents cataracts and macular degeneration. It also maintains healthy skin and reduces the risk of dementia. And finally, it manages type 2 diabetes as well.

Brazil Nuts

These are the not so common ones. These nuts have a very high amount of selenium. This is a powerful antioxidant that improves blood selenium levels in people with kidney disease. They also reduce inflammation.

Selenium also prevents certain cancers. These include bone cancer, breast cancer, and also prostate cancer.

These nuts also reduce cholesterol levels. They also reduce oxidative stress. Last, they improve the blood vessel function in obese teenagers.

Nuts and Their Nutritional Value

This is based on one-ounce servings of each nut.

1. Walnuts

Calories: 182

Total Fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

 

2. Almonds

Calories: 161

Total Fat: 14 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 19% of the RDI

 

3. Peanuts

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 17 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 5 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Vitamin E: 21% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

 

4. Pistachios

Calories: 156

Total Fat: 12.5 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 8 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI

Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

 

5. Cashews

Calories: 155

Total Fat: 12 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

 

6. Pecans

Calories: 193

Total Fat: 20 grams

Protein: 3 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber 2.5 grams

Vitamin E: 2% of the RDI

Magnesium: 8% of the RDI

 

7. Macadamia Nuts

Calories: 200

Total Fat: 21 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2.5 grams

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 9% of the RDI

 

8. Hazelnuts

Calories: 176

Total Fat: 9 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

 

9. Brazil Nuts

Calories: 182

Total Fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI

Magnesium: 26% of the RDI

Best Desk Job Exercises to Help You Cope

So you’re now part of the corporate world. Like many Americans, most of us have desk jobs. This means sitting down in front of a computer for an entire day, maybe even more. Our bums are glued to our chairs, and we hardly move. Many of us think there’s no way there are any desk job exercises.

This can be unhealthy as this is considered a sedentary lifestyle. This means we have irregular or absolutely no physical activity. Having this type of lifestyle can be quite disadvantageous and also has negative consequences.

Luckily, there are many ways for people with desk jobs to inject a bit of movement in their otherwise boring workdays. Your other workmates might find you weird and move away from you, but ultimately, you get the last laugh.

These desk job exercises will improve your fitness levels, boost strength, burn a few calories, and just generally keep you in tip-top shape.

Stretching

You can always pop over to the restroom for a bit of privacy and more space. You should start stretching from head to toe, beginning with the neck.

First, slowly tilt your head to one shoulder, and then hold for about 10 seconds. Next, tilt to the other shoulder and hold again. You can do maybe 3 repetitions on each side.

Next, target those tense shoulders. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion. Then go ahead and roll them backward, still in a circular motion.

To make sure your typing is up to speed, make sure to pay attention to your wrists as well. Stretch both arms out with palms facing the floor. Pull your fingers down for about five seconds. Next, pull your fingers up.

For your legs, you can do some quick lunges, around 5 for each leg.

To pull them all in, finish off with some ankle circulations.

Cardio

The Stair Master

You’ve just arrived at your office building. Instead of going with the rest of the office flock into a crowded elevator, why don’t you take the stairs? This is a great way to elevate your heart rate and get your day started right. As an added bonus, this is a great way to avoid talking to that annoying coworker.

The Office Wanderer

As soon as you arrive at your desk, you generally pull up the tools you need and just sit on your chair, waiting for them to load. What you can do instead is stroll around the floor and catch up with the rest of your office mates. You can even go as far as to visit the other departments in the building and get to know new people.

Or instead of relying on Skype or e-mails to communicate with another employee, why not bring yourself over to them?

Twinkle Toes

When you start feeling restless on your desk, you can alleviate that by speedily tapping your toes under your desk. You can still get your office work done while sneaking in a little bit of cardio.

Jog in Place

If you’re more confident, you can go ahead and jog in place. You can do this for maybe 60 seconds, then get right back to working afterward. Just remember to ignore the stares you’ll probably be getting from nosy coworkers.

Desk Job Exercises for Your Legs and Butt

I Stand for Myself

Who says you have to sit down the entire day? To change it up, try standing up while working on that Excel file. Studies show that long periods of sitting down leads to a higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. On the other hand, standing up increases the amount of calories you burn.

If your boss calls for a meeting, you can even go ahead and suggest a standing meeting.

The Wall Sit

Start with your back against the wall. Next, bend your knees and slide your back down. Stop sliding when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for around 30-60 seconds. To make it more challenging, try crossing your left ankle over your right now, hold for 10 seconds, then switch.

This is one of the desk job exercises that builds strength and endurance.

Sit and Squeeze

Want to target your glutes without getting any unwanted attention? Then this is the perfect exercise for you. You simply clench your butt muscles, hold for 5-10 seconds, and then release. Repeat until you can clench no more. Trust me, the results will be uplifting, to say the least.

The Seated Leg Raise

Here’s another one of the desk job exercises that won’t be noticed by anyone. While in your seat, completely straighten out both legs and hold for 5-10 seconds. Next, lower the legs back to the ground, but make sure they don’t touch the floor. You can do around 15 repetitions.

Desk Job Exercises for Your Shoulders and Arms

Do the Desk Dip

If you’ve had too much sitting around, go ahead and to an improvised tricep dip. You can use your desk for leverage. Place your hands at the edge of the desk. Make sure you’re facing away from the desk. Next, place your feet a step or two away from the desk. Start by bending your elbows at a ninety-degree angle and your body dips down. Hold for about 5 seconds, then get back up. Do around 10 instances.

Desk Push-Ups

Again using your desk, you can do standing desk push-ups. Perform around 3 sets of 10 and feel the burn.

The Cubicle Curl

For this exercise, grab anything that’s a bit heavy. A filled water bottle is a good idea. You can use this like a regular dumbbell and do regular bicep curls.

The Fist Pump

Channel your inner frat boy and do fist pumps. Do around 60 seconds of fist-pumping action on each arm. This is great to do when your boss gives out some good news. Keep in mind that as you do these fist pumps, you’re not at a frat party. So shouting out “Chug it down!” may not be a good idea.

The Office Genie

You need a sturdy office chair that can hold up your weight. Sit down cross-legged on your chair. Place both hands on either armrest. Next, push upward to raise your body off the seat. Hold this pose for around 10-20 seconds. Afterward, sit back down on the chair, rest for a few seconds, and repeat.

Desk Job Exercises for Your Core

The Desk Chair Swivel

Obviously, swivel chairs are needed for this. Sit upright with your feet hovering over the floor. Next, hold on to the edge of your desk with your fingers. Then go ahead and use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swing back and forth for 20 counts.

The Fab Abs Squeeze

The last of the desk job exercises. You can do this while typing away your reports. Sit on your chair with your back straight. Next, take a super deep breath, tighten those abdominal muscles, and hold it in for about 10 seconds. As you exhale, make sure to also bring the muscles in  toward the spine. Repeat 10 times.

Mastering the Mediterranean Diet

With so many diets popping up, how can you choose which one is the best one to try out? Well, why not give the Mediterranean Diet a go?

This diet is based on the traditional food that people used to consume in European countries like Greece, France, Spain, and Italy back in the 1960s. Obviously, this is the basis of the name. Studies show that people who lived in these countries during this time frame were exceptionally healthy as compared to Americans. They also had lower risks of getting many diseases.

The main aspects of this diet include a high consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and unrefined cereals. They also made sure to eat a moderate or high amount of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (specifically cheese and yogurt), moderate wine intake, and low consumption of nonfish meat products.

Its History

Dr. Ancel Benjamin Keys, an American physiologist, discovered the benefits of this diet. While working on his hypothesis, he noticed that the Mediterranean region was not at all influenced by the fast rise of fast food and processed food. He was able to form his hypothesis by observing that the people living in this region were in especially good health. This was largely because of their dietary habits.

Also, aside from eating a healthy diet that consists of of fresh and homegrown food, there are other factors involved. These include daily exercise, sharing meals with others, and having a deep appreciation for the pleasures of eating nutritious and delicious food.

Mediterranean Diet Benefits

Like many other diets, this one has a number of benefits great for your body. Read on to know more about these positive effects.

Healthy Weight Loss

Since it uses nutrient-dense food, this diet manages weight and reduces fat intake naturally. It has been proven safe, sustainable, and worthwhile. This diet has been tried out by many people around the world, showing great success in healthy weight loss. It focuses on the consumption of healthy fats and high-quality proteins while keeping the intake of carbohydrates relatively low.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet is all praises for drinking red wine in moderation. And red wine helps fight against overweight and obesity.

Stress-Free and Relaxed

This diet encourages people to spend time in nature, get good sleep, and bond with family members and friends. Generally, people in the Mediterranean region make it a point to spend time outdoors, eat meals together with friends and family, and set aside time to just talk, laugh, dance, and basically enjoy life’s simple pleasures. These are great ways to decrease stress. Chronic stress kills your quality of life, along with your weight and also your health.

Brain Health

Cognitive disorders occur when the brain isn’t getting enough dopamine. This is a vital chemical necessary for proper body movements, mood regulation, and thought processing. Many of the types of food used in the Mediterranean diet are known to fight against age-related cognitive decline. This means practicing this diet naturally treats Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. It also boosts your memory.

Heart Health

Sticking to the traditional Mediterranean diet significantly reduces heart disease and decreases the risk of cardiac death by 30 percent and sudden cardiac death by 45 percent.

Olive oil consumption also decreases high blood pressure. It also lowers hypertension as it makes nitric oxide more bioavailable. This means it keeps the arteries dilated and clear. In addition, it also combats the disease-promoting effects of oxidation. And finally, it also improves endothelial function.

Diabetes Protection

This diet controls excess insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Its composition of plenty of fresh produce and fats makes it a natural diabetes cure. Also, this balanced diet is a good way for the human body to remain in hormonal homeostasis. This means the body’s insulin levels are normalized.

This practice is also low in sugar, since the only sugar present are from fruit, wine, and the occasional dessert. Consuming low levels of sugar means there is a low chance of insulin resistance. This style of eating also prevents highs and lows in blood sugar levels.

Cancer Prevention

A study from the European Journal of Cancer Prevention states, “The biological mechanisms for cancer prevention associated with the Mediterranean diet have been related to the favorable effect of a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids and high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols found in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and wine.”

These fruits and vegetables contain cancer-fighting antioxidants that protect the human DNA from damage. They also delay tumor growth, stop cell mutation, reduce oxidative stress, and lower inflammation.

Longer Life

A balance of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats equal to longevity. The main fat source in the Mediterranean diet is monounsaturated fat. This is found in olive oil and certain nuts. This type of healthy fat is linked to lower chances of heart disease, cancer, depression, inflammatory diseases, cognitive decline, and many more. These are currently the leading causes of death in developed nations.

Fact and Fiction about the Mediterranean Diet

Fiction 1: The Mediterranean diet only focuses on the type of food to eat.

Fact: Yes, it’s true that the type of food to eat is a major factor of this diet. However, there are other important factors as well. For example, they make sure to pair their diet with the right amount of exercise. One example is walking after meals. They also make sure to actually enjoy the act of eating and savor each bite. They don’t just gobble the food.

Fiction 2: Eating huge servings of pasta and bread is the actual Mediterranean way of eating.

Fact: Many of us associate Mediterranean region with pizza, pasta, and savory breads. Therefore, we think this is what we should be eating. But in reality, Mediterraneans don’t eat heaping plates of pasta the way many Americans do. Pasta is instead a side dish, usually only about half a cup or at most one cup serving size. The rest of the plate is salads, vegetables, fish, and a small slice of bread.

Fiction 3: So you say one glass of wine is good for your heart. Wouldn’t more glasses of wine be even better?

Fact: Drinking too much wine will certainly have negative effects. Drinking more than two glasses of wine a day is actually bad for the heart.

How to Start

It’s true that the first time is the hardest. Here are a few tips to make transitioning from your usual diet into the Mediterranean diet a bit easier.

  1. Substitute your vegetable oil with olive oil. You can use this in frying, sauteing, etc.
  2. Try to add more fruit and vegetables into your diet. For example, opting for a simple salad as a side dish, snacking on fruit, and adding vegetables to your favorite vegetable-less dish.
  3. Choose whole grains instead of rice, pasta, or refined breads.
  4. Substitute your red meat with fish twice a week. Then you can gradually add more days to that.
  5. Consume more dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt.

Best High Intensity Interval Training workouts for Longevity

High-intensity interval training , also called HIIT workouts, have become known in the fitness and medical world as one of the most effective means of improving cardiovascular health, respiratory endurance, as well as metabolic function.

HIIT workouts are known to be an excellent way to burn fat in a short period of time and to help improve the physical performance of athletes of all kinds. (1)

For most people, because it’s one of the great metabolism boosters, the biggest draw to a HIIT workout is its ability to keep the body burning fat even after the workout is over.


What Are HIIT Workouts?

High-intensity interval training is a type of exercise that involves repeated short bouts of high-intensity, or “burst” exercises, followed by brief recovery periods. This sequence is repeated several times in a row usually for a duration between 20–30 minutes.

Considering the fact that many people use “not having enough time” as a popular reason to avoid regularly exercising, HIIT workouts are one of the best ways to overcome this block and get great results fast.

A HIIT protocol is a well-researched way to reap physical benefits as an alternative approach to steady-state exercise training but with less of a time commitment. (2)

For example, recently a study compared the impact of two different types of exercise training on body fat and muscle metabolism: HIIT workouts versus steady-state exercise.

The study investigated the effects of calorie expenditure and fat loss in young adults and found that although HIIT workouts actually burned fewer calories during the actual workouts than did steady-state cardio exercise (likely due to its shorter duration), the HIIT program produced more fat loss than steady-state exercise did overall.

Additionally, the study concluded that while the HIIT workout helped build muscle, the steady-state workouts actually broke muscle down. Researchers concluded that not only does HIIT burn more fat over the duration of the day, but it also builds more muscle and improves metabolic function. (3)


How to Perform HIIT Workouts … and Why

The exact type of exercise performed during the “intense” internal periods can vary, such as performing sprints or doing faster reps of a particular move. What stays the same throughout different types of HIIT programs? The act of performing these stop-and-go intervals, meaning alternating between periods of hard “work” and “rest” or recovery.

A popular example of a HIIT workout can be running on the treadmill, alternating between a very fast pace and one that is easier and slower. In order to follow an interval schedule, you switch between sprints that require roughly 90 percent of your energy, followed by walking or slowly jogging to rest and recover.

Steady-state exercises, on the other hand, usually stay within the same type of “work” zone over time, with the amount of effort needed remaining consistent. (4)


HIIT Workouts Provide Benefits Fast

HIIT workouts have the ability to transform your body and physical abilities due to their effect on at least three important systems within the body:

  1. Your cardiovascular health and endurance
  2. Your body’s ability to use oxygen
  3. Your hormone levels

Studies have shown that resistance-based interval training specifically benefits blood flow and blood vessel dilation. A study, published in the American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology, found that resistance-based interval exercising improved endothelial function in individuals that previously exercised, those that didn’t and those with type 2 diabetes.

When researchers measured blood flow before, immediately following and at one and two hours after working out, participants with type 2 diabetes saw improvements at each time. The other two participant groups experienced improvements one and/or two hours after exercising. (5)


 HIIT Workouts Boost Cardiovascular Health 

Many studies are now showing that internal training — including HIIT workouts — promote greater improvements in VO2max and general fitness abilities than steady-state exercises do.

In fact, VO2max is considered the best indicator of cardiovascular endurance. This is the measurement most commonly used in fitness studies to show the effects that the exercise is having on the body. VO2 max is sometimes also called “max oxygen uptake” or “max aerobic activity” and is used to measure how well the body can use oxygen for energy.

Specifically, VO2max is defined as the maximum amount of oxygen (in milliliters) that a person can use in one minute per kilogram of their body weight. This measurement is important because the amount of oxygen that a person can utilize within one minute is an indicator of their overall fitness level and also their lung and heart health.

Due to the expansion of blood volume, the heart will undergo enlarging, or “hypertrophy,” during HIIT type of endurance exercises in order to allow the heart muscle to become bigger and stronger. (6)

By pushing your heart rate high during periods of intense work, you’ll be able to increase your cardiovascular ability and strengthen your heart. During the short rest intervals, you work on recovering more quickly and needing less time to rest. This is how you build stamina over time and increase your ability to perform physical exercises more effectively.

Performing short recovery segments in between the intervals where you’re working harder has the benefit of allowing you to keep the overall workout intensity high while still maintaining form.

While it’s hard to work very hard and maintain a high heart rate for an extended period of time because your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen, the rest/recovery periods of interval training allow you to catch your breath and for your heart rate to come down momentarily.

Knowing your VO2 max can help you to establish fitness goals to work towards and gives you a starting point as to how capable you are of maintaining a high level of effort over a period of time.


HIIT Workouts Trigger an Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen (EPOC) Effect

HIIT workouts also trigger something known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or “EPOC.” EPOC is the phenomenon of an increased rate of oxygen that your body uses following strenuous activity (7).

Your body uses more oxygen after hard workouts like those performed during HIIT because it’s making up for the body’s “oxygen deficit” that occurred during the difficult “burst” periods of the exercise. EPOC has many functions for the body, including that following a HIIT workout, your body goes into a recovery phase.

A higher level of oxygen is needed during recovery in order to facilitate in the restoration of hormone levels, refueling your glucose stores, and repairing your muscle fibers and tissue.

The best part about EPOC? It’s accompanied by an elevated need for bodily “fuel” or energy in addition to more oxygen. After intense exercise, fat stores within your body are actually broken down and free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream. During the post-workout recovery phase, these free fatty acids become oxidized and your body uses them for energy.

As your body uses more oxygen to bring itself back into a resting state, more calories are burned in the process, even while you are done working out. This means you continue to experience benefits and fat loss during the remainder of your day following a HIIT workout.

Another benefit of EPOC that results from HIIT workouts? New ATP (adenosine triphosphate) — which is the fuel source or energy that your body works off of — is also synthesized. Additionally, post-exercise oxygen is used to reduce lactic acid.

Lactic acid is formed during exercise and is responsible for giving you the “burning” feeling in your muscles when they are working hard.

Lactic acid travels via the bloodstream to the kidneys, cardiac muscle and liver during workouts; then an increased amount of oxygen is necessary to convert the lactic acid back to pyruvic acid so that your pain subsides and body enters a resting state.

Yet another use of EPOC is to fuel the body’s increased metabolism that results from the increase in body temperature experienced during exercise. Due to all of these vital tasks that the body must undergo during a period of EPOC, you can see why HIIT workouts have such a huge effect on your strength, stamina and health.


HIIT Workouts Release Muscle-Growth and Fat-Burning Hormones

Intense interval training circuits also stimulate muscle-building hormones while simultaneously using up calories and burning fat. The body produces the growth hormone known as IGF-1 during HIIT, for example, which allows the body to build lean mass muscle.


Who Are HIIT Workouts For?

Certain studies have shown that high-intensity exercise can be potentially unsafe for sedentary middle-aged adults. It’s best performed by those who are already somewhat active and have a healthy cardiovascular system.

That being said, anyone can work towards practicing HIIT workouts for their multiple benefits. However, if you aren’t already exercising, then it’s best to start slowly to avoid injury or more serious problems.

In conclusion, an exercise plan that includes consistent high-intensity interval exercise has been shown to improve body composition, boost cardio-metabolic health, lessen the risk for heart disease, and help improve exercise tolerance, even in obese and overweight participants. (8)

Research has shown that HIIT workouts are safe, efficient, well-tolerated and could help to improve adherence to exercise training given the limited time commitment that they require.

As long as you practice HIIT workouts responsibly and ease your way into a HIIT program, you can experience great results using HIIT workouts in combination with other forms of exercise that you enjoy.


How to Build Your Own HIIT Workout

No matter what your exercise preference is — whether running, biking, swimming or lifting weights, for example — you can practice HIIT workouts to improve your abilities. Even seasoned athletes use HIIT workouts to gain stamina and bust through plateaus that they are experiencing after practicing one particular type of exercise for a long time.

HIIT workouts are a great way to “shock” your muscles and to kick your body into high gear, allowing you to continue experiencing results and improvements after your body has gotten accustomed to your usual workout routine.

According to studies, it’s believed that an optimal HIIT workout produces maximum cardiovascular benefits when athletes spend at least several minutes per session in their “red zone” — yhis generally means reaching at least 90 percent of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

In order to estimate when you are working at 90 percent of your VO2max, you can think about your level of perceived effort on a 1–10 scale; you should be aiming to give it “your all” and reach a score of nine out of a possible 10 for at least a few minutes during a 20–30 minute HIIT workout. (10)

In addition to focusing on your perceived level of effort and targeting a high VO2max, there are also other variables to consider.

Keep these physiological variables in mind, which researchers have noted are all-important for practicing HIIT workouts and continuing to show improvements:

  • The amount of time you spent in your “intense” working interval 

The longer you spend in your intense zone, the more of an effect the exercise will have. Start off with shorter bursts of intense periods and increase the duration as you build strength and stamina.

  • The amount of time you spent in your “rest” and recovery interval 

You will likely notice that you need less time to recover as your body adapts to HIIT workouts. Pay attention to how long of rests you are taking and aim to shorten the restful period duration as your abilities improve.

  • The amount of reps you perform during your intense bursts 

Instead of aiming to improve the duration of time you spend in an intense interval, you can also focus on how many reps you are able to do in a row, for example, or your speed of work.

You will likely notice your ability to do reps quickly improves as you become accustomed to HIIT workouts and that you need less recovery time in between sets. You may also notice that your sprints get quicker or your cycling pace gets faster if you choose to run or bike during your HIIT workout.

  • The total number of interval series you are able to perform 

It’s a good idea to start out with about 15–20 minutes of HIIT intervals and work your way up to 25–30 minutes if you’d like. The more your body gets used to the intensity, the more series you’ll be able to perform and your total workout length will increase.

  • The time needed between HIIT workouts 

Most experts recommend practicing HIIT workouts 2–3 times per week, but not much more than this. The body needs an adequate break period between HIIT workouts to fully repair and grow stronger.

In fact, this is just as important as the workout itself and if you fail to properly give yourself enough rest, you miss out on some of the benefits of HIIT.

That being said, you will improve your ability to practice HIIT workouts closer to each other as your recovery periods become shorter. Even after you’ve seen great improvements, it’s still best to allow 48 hours in between HIIT workouts and avoid practicing them multiple days in a row.

 

How to do a HIIT workout

 


Three HIIT Workouts to GET YOU MOVING!

Keeping all of the above factors in mind, you can start practicing HIIT workouts using one of these example plans:

Treadmill Running HIIT Workout 

  1. Start with a warm up by lightly jogging for three minutes.
  2. Next, move into your interval period for about 10 minutes. Each minute you will do 20 seconds of intense work followed by 40 seconds of recovery. (Do this 10 times to start out, and as you become more fit you can increase to 15 minutes and beyond. If you’d like to challenge yourself more, do 30 seconds of intense bursts followed by 30 seconds of rest.)
  3. Cool down with a 3 minute jog.

Cycling HIIT Workout

This cycling interval workout is based on the “tabata” style of exercise, which usually consists of 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest. In order to do interval training, this same ratio can be used in any other form of exercise as well.

  1. Start by cycling at a restful pace for three minutes to warm up.
  2. Move into your interval period for the next 10 minutes, where you will be cycling as hard as you possibly can for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds. You can use a timer to keep track of the time or count in your head. Repeat this interval schedule 10–20 times depending on your abilities and current fitness level.
  3. Cool down with a slow, restful three minutes of cycling.

Circuit Training HIIT Workout 1

The three exercise moves below will make up your “intense” interval, then performing an easier form of cardio afterwards will make up your “rest” interval.

  1. Perform the following three exercise moves back-to-back according these reps: Start by doing 10 reps of each, then repeat the cycle doing 15 reps of each, then repeat the cycle doing 20 reps of each. Don’t take any breaks until after you’ve gone through all three sets.
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping Jacks
  • (In place of these 3 moves, you could also try performing fast alternating lunges, push-ups or kettlebell swings.)
  1. After you’ve completed these three sets, do a form of steady-state cardio for about three minutes. This can mean jogging, running in place, hopping on an exercise bike, etc. You want to be working at about half of your ability.

Bonus Advanced HIIT Workout: Circuit Training HIIT Style!

  1. Go through each move described below for an intense 20 seconds, moving very quickly through as many reps as you can perform in 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Then move on to the next move following the same timing. Once you’ve completed each move below, you are done with one intense interval.
  • Push-ups
  • Bodyweight Rows
  • Squats
  • Jumping Rope
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Running in Place
  • Medicine Ball Chest Passes
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Planks
  1. Rest for two minutes after the circuit is complete. Then go through the entire circuit another two times or until you lose proper form.

 

Keep it Fresh

Is your exercise routine getting boring or just not providing the same kind of results as it once did? If so, you might wanna look into interval training.It doesn’t matter what you like to do… running, zamba, swimming, spin classes, etc. All you have to do to incorporate interval training is to push it extremely hard for a few minutes, then slow it down or rest for a few minutes (or maybe seconds).

What’s this do? You’re stressing the heck out of your cardiovascular system, that’s what! Why would you want to do that? Your muscles build up something called lactic acid. This acid improves your stamina, energy and strength. So while you’re on the down swing and easy mode (or rest) your body is actually preparing for the next push.

Professional athletes or at least life-long athletes have been using interval training for years. They know it’s the key to getting quick results and constantly improving your athletic ability. But for the general population, it’s still relatively new. Let’s look at why you should incorporate interval training into your routine…

It’s been shown that if you use interval training to its fullest, you can greatly improve your athletic ability. Your body learns to maximize the use of oxygen to gain energy when you need it – much better than if you always maintained the same level of difficulty in an exercise session. As your body learns to process oxygen better, you get stronger. You get faster. You up your game dramatically.

Are You Ready for Interval Training?

Of course, if you’re a beginner who has just started to exercise routinely then you may need to wait a bit before you try to push yourself too hard in interval training. You need to have a solid base level of physical fitness or you’re very likely going to risk injuries. If you don’t have any health conditions, shoot for 30-40 minutes of exercise several times per week at least. When you’ve been doing that and are comfortable with it, aim to get to a heart rate of 220 minus your age. i.e. if you’re 20, then aim for 200. That’s how you can figure your max heart rate.

Start Interval Training

Ok, you’ve been exercising regularly and you’ve established a healthy, strong fitness base. It’s time to up the ante. But don’t do interval training everyday. Your body needs 24/48 hours to fully recover from such intense exercise. Also keep in mind that with interval training, you’ll burn quite a bit more carbs than before. That means you should feed some extra carbs back into your body to refuel and recover. Don’t go crazy, but get a few hundred grams definitely.

Don’t Crash and Burn

When you start doing intervals you want to make sure that you’ll be able to finish. If you’re running, do a strong fast run during the high-intensity portions, but don’t flat out sprint if that means you won’t be able to finish. By being able to finish, we mean two things: You want to be able to finish the last few seconds high-intensity portions with the same speed and strength as the fist few seconds. You also want the last high-intensity portion to be as strong as the first one of the day. Remember it doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ type of thing. Some research has shown just as good results with medium-intensity portions as high-intensity. Just make sure you’re getting in those short burst of oomph!

 

High Intensity Interval Training may reverse aging


It’s long been known that physical activity can reduce inflammation in your body and improve heart health.

This study recently published in cell.com shows that High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective than weight training or cardio for improving metabolic health, is superior for fighting age related decline, and may yield anti-aging benefits down to the cellular level.

HIIT was found to be even more effective at improving mitochondria biogenesis in older individuals.

“HIIT reversed many age-related differ- ences in the proteome, particularly of mitochondrial proteins in concert with increased mitochondrial pro- tein synthesis.”

“HIIT increased maximal absolute mitochondrial respiration in young (+49%) and older adults (+69%), whereas a significant increase following CT was observed in young (+38%), but not older adults”

“HIIT training in older adults had strong effect sizes in multiple outcomes, including mitochondrial respiration (1.7), aerobic fitness (0.99), insulin sensitivity (0.5)”

“HIIT revealed a more robust increase in gene transcripts than other exercise modalities, particularly in older adults, although little overlap with corresponding individual protein abundance was noted.”

Researchers enrolled 36 men and 36 women from two age groups—either under 30 or over 65.

They took on three different exercise programs that included high-intensity interval biking, strength training with weights, and one that mixed lighter cycling and lifting. Each group completed their plan for 12 weeks.

“Any exercise is better than being sedentary,” said Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, senior author of the study and a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. However, Nair noted that high-intensity interval training (HIIT), in particular, is “highly efficient” when it comes to reversing many age-related changes.

Young and old, men and women

For the National Institutes of Health-funded study, Nair and his colleagues enlisted the help of both men and women from two age groups: The “young” volunteers ranged in age from 18 to 30; “older” volunteers ranged in age between 65 and 80. Next, the researchers divided these participants into three mixed-age groups and assigned each a different supervised exercise training program lasting three months.

The high-intensity interval training training group did three days a week of cycling, with high-intensity bouts sandwiched between low-intensity pedaling, and two days a week of moderately difficult treadmill walking.

The strength training group performed repetitions targeting both lower and upper body muscles just two days each week.Finally, the combined training group cycled (less strenuously than the first group) and lifted weights (fewer repetitions than the second group) for a total of five days a week.

There were clear differences, then, in the amount of time different participants spent in the gym.

Before and after each training session, the researchers assessed various aspects of each volunteer’s physiology, including body mass index, quantity of lean muscle mass and insulin sensitivity, one indication of diabetes.

The researchers also did routine biopsies of each volunteer’s thigh muscles and performed a biochemical analysis in order to establish a comprehensive fingerprint of the muscle.

Analyzing the gathered data, Nair and his colleagues found that all forms of exercise improved overall fitness, as measured by cardiorespiration, and increased insulin sensitivity, which translates into a lower likelihood of developing diabetes.

Although all exercise helped with musculature, strength training was most effective for building muscle mass and for improving strength, which typically declines with age.

Meanwhile, at the cellular level, high-intensity interval training yielded the biggest benefits.

With HIIT, younger participants saw a 49% increase, while older participants saw a 69% increase in mitochondrial capacity.

Every cell in our bodies contain   mitochondria. They perform as tiny batteries do, producing much-needed energy that powers everything your cells do.

Interval training also improved volunteers’ insulin sensitivity more than other forms of exercise. Drilling down deeper, Nair and his colleagues compared the protein-level data gathered from participants to understand why exercise provided these benefits.

Enhancing your cellular machinery

If we think of the cell as a corporate hierarchy, genes (DNA) are the executives issuing orders to their middle managers: messenger RNA. Tasked with transcribing this order, the RNA turns to ribosomes, which perform a supervisory role by linking amino acids in order to assemble protein molecules. Finally, the proteins, cellular work horses, carry out the task originally dictated by the gene.

“Proteins sustain environmental damage and the damaged proteins have to be … replaced with newly synthesized (produced) proteins,” explained Nair in an email. “With aging in sedentary people, production of many protein molecules decline. … Gradually the quantity of these protein molecules decrease causing functional decline.”

Analyzing the muscle biopsies, the researchers discovered that exercise boosts cellular production of mitochondrial proteins and the proteins responsible for muscle growth.

“Exercise training, especially high intensity interval training, enhanced the machinery (ribosomes) to produce proteins, increased the production of proteins and enhanced protein abundance in muscle,” Nair said.

He said the results also showed that “the substantial increase in mitochondrial function that occurred, especially in the older people, is due to increase in protein abundance of muscle.”

In some cases, the high-intensity regimen actually seemed to reverse the age-related decline in both mitochondrial function and muscle-building proteins.

Exercise’s ability to transform mitochondria could explain why it benefits our health in so many different ways, according to the authors.

Muscle cells, like brain and heart cells, are unusual in that they divide only rarely compared with most cells in the body. Because muscle, brain and heart cells do wear out yet are not easily replaced, the function of all three of these tissues are known to decline with age, noted Nair.

If exercise restores or prevents deterioration of mitochondria and ribosomes in muscle cells, exercise possibly performs the same magic in other tissues, too. And, although it is important simply to understand how exercise impacts the mechanics of cells, these insights may also allow researchers “to develop targeted drugs to achieve some of the benefits that we derive from the exercise in people who cannot exercise,” Nair said.

‘Almost a medicine’

According to Jennifer Trilk, an assistant professor of physiology and exercise science at University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, the new study is comprehensive and supports previous research, combining it all into one paper.

“We cannot have enough studies surrounding this information because of how impactful it is for health,” said Trilk, who was not involved in the research

She explained that if younger people boost mitochondrial function when they’re young, they would be preventing disease, while for an older population, they would also be preventing disease while maintaining skeletal muscle, which wanes in older age.

“Mitochondrial function is important to almost every cell in the human body,” Trilk said. “So when you don’t have mitochondrial function or when you have mitochondrial dysfunction, you have dysfunction of cells, so from a molecular standpoint, you start seeing cellular dysfunction years before you start seeing the global effect, which ends up coming out as symptoms of diseases: diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular disease.”

Juleen Zierath, a professor of integrative physiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, finds the study to be “a really comprehensive and thorough analysis of human skeletal muscle before and after” adapting to different exercise regimens. Zierath, who did not participate as a researcher in the current study, also appreciated the fact that the authors comprehensively examined the effects on both younger and older participants.

“It teases out some of the training regimes that might be leading to greater effects on what they call mitochondrial fitness,” she said. Compared with the other two exercise programs, interval training “really had a more robust effect” on the machinery of cells, she said.

“It boosted the proteins that are important for mitochondrial function — the oxygen powerhouse of the cells,” Zierath said. “It reversed many of what we call age-related differences in mitochondrial function and oxidative metabolism.”

“Part of what happens with HIIT is, you disturb homeostasis, you exercise at a really high level, and the body needs to cope with that,” she explained.

Even though one program had superior effects, “every single exercise protocol they tested had positive effects,” said Zierath, who is looking forward to future research in this vein.

“Exercise is almost a medicine in some respects,” Zierath said. “It’s never too late to start exercising.”

New Peptide Can Selectively Target Senescent Cells

A specific cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) can effectively and selectively remove senescent cells – leading to a range of health benefits in mice

Senescent cells are one of the hottest targets in regenerative and longevity focused medicine right now, and many teams and companies around the world are now looking at various ways of removing these disruptive old cells. Senescent cell burden rises with age as more cells cease dividing or become damaged in some form, and research has shown that eliminating these cells can protect against conditions like atherosclerosis as well as increase both lifespan and healthspan.

Finding the best way to remove senescent cells

Previous work has revealed that a combination of the natural product Quercetin with the cancer drug Dasatnib is able to remove some senescent cells, but with poor specificity. Another class of drugs called Bcl inhibitors has proven able to target and destroy senescent cells – including the drug ABT-263. These have known side effects and drawbacks however, and researchers have been searching for better, more accurate ways of killing these cells without harming the rest of the body. While gene directed therapies such as liposomal delivery or RNA based therapeutics could conceivably be an effective therapeutic route, finding a more easily applied pharmacological approach may be more cost effective in the short term.

A new peptide

Researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam have discovered that a protein called FOXO4 is enriched in certain senescent cells, and is able to block an important protein called p53. p53 plays a central role in causing apoptosis (cell death). If it’s blocked by FOXO4, cells are protected from the cell death signalling.

When the team designed a cell penetrating peptide to prevent this detrimental FOXO4-p53 binding, they found it was successfully able to prevent the interaction and facilitate targeted cell death in senescent cells, but not ‘healthy’ ones.

“It’s definitely a landmark advance in the field. This is the first time that somebody has shown that you can get rid of senescent cells without having any obvious side effects”

When the scientists injected mice with a model of senescence, they found that applying the peptide boosted fitness and stamina, fur density and reversed kidney damage. When they tested it on ordinary elderly mice they saw similar results, with an increased willingness to explore surroundings – a mark of youthful behaviour. The peptide appeared to be highly safe, with minimal side effects. It was also highly selective; eliminating the more problematic senescent cells that were spewing our inflammatory factors. This breakthrough is certainly promising news and may aid in the development of new peptides, it should be noted that peptide delivery would have to be carefully designed as they would not survive an oral delivery route through the stomach and gut.

Read more at Science

Is Alzheimer’s Linked To Vascular Changes?

Changes in blood flow and coagulation may contribute to Alzheimer’s pathology

There are many proteins and enzymes that are involved with the coagulation process in blood, which evolved to react to injury and invasion by various microorganisms. One of these is factor XII, which sets off an important cascade – triggering an inflammatory, coagulation response. New research at the Rockefeller University has determined that this same cascade can be activated by the presence of beta amyloid, which is strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s progression, whether or not it is a cause or response to another underlying trigger.

“There’s a lot of evidence that exercise, which helps keep your blood vessels healthy and blood flow consistent, can be protective against AD. In addition, we know that diseases that compromise the vascular system, like diabetes, put people at higher risk”

In typical Alzheimer’s patients raised beta amyloid levels emerge first, and vascular changes follow. These changes can take many years to create any observable cognitive deficits. It’s a disease that is years in the making.

Testing the importance of factor XII

After noting this link, researchers blocked factor XII expression in mice to test whether it affected a model of Alzheimer’s. Indeed, blocking factor XII lowered brain inflammation, which is a critical marker of Alzheimer’s risk and progression. Cognitive behaviour and memory also appeared to be boosted by factor XII inhibition. While those mice with Alzheimer’s and knocked down factor XII performed much better than those with normal expression of the protein, they were still behind healthy mice. This suggests that it may be a contributory factor, but that it’s certainly not the whole picture.

However, while the research points to vascular impairment as an important factor in the disease, it also raises additional questions. Again we must ask what causes a rise in beta amyloid and a spike in inflammatory processes. Previous work has suggested this may be due to a huge range of things, including possible microbial burden. We will have to await further research as we narrow down the collective causes.

“Our work contributes to the increasing evidence that vascular abnormalities are playing an important role in cognitive decline and inflammation in some AD patients. The hope is that defining the vascular mechanisms involved will allow for better diagnosis and eventually new treatments. Each step forward is a step closer to understanding this terrible disease”

Read more at MedicalXpress