Saturday, November 28, 2020

Lack of Sleep Causes Sweet-Tooth!


You heard that right – not getting enough quality sleep is directly linked to craving sweets, weight gain, and difficulty losing weight.   

Sleep: Your Body’s Best Friend

Sleep is important for just about all the systems in your body, and lack of sleep reduces cognitive function including reduced reaction time, impaired decision making and memory.  Sleep is also essential for the repair and recovery of the body.

Even if you think you get enough shut eye you may still be suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation.   Unfortunately, just a little sleep deprivation can have a significant effect on weight gain.

How Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

Lack of sleep increases the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, and cortisol increases appetite significantly.  Sleep deprivation also saps willpower and decision-making ability so not only are you hungrier – you are more likely to make poor food choices.     Sleep deprivation is a stressor and when you feel stressed you tend to choose high carb foods which boost serotonin.

At the same time, the body’s ability to handle carbs properly is reduced.    Your cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin called insulin insensitivity which is what type 2 diabetes is all about.   If lack of sleep is a chronic condition you quite literally can make yourself gain weight and become diabetic!

In addition, when you are tired, a hormone called Ghrelin is boosted while Leptin levels drop.   This is quite literally a double whammy because Ghrelin increases hungers and Leptin tells you when you full and satisfied.   So you are hungrier but do not feel satisfied when you do eat so you eat more!

In fact, studies have shown increased calorie intake of over 300 extra calories per day in sleep-deprived people.

Sleep is as important as exercise and diet so make it a priority and check out this previous blogpost on how to improve sleep: 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

How Much Exercise Does It Take to Burn Off a Thanksgiving Meal?


How much exercise does it take to burn off Thanksgiving Foods?

To put this in perspective it is very easy to eat upwards of 4,500 calories if you really go crazy and pay no attention to portion size, how many portions you are eating, and what you are eating.      Given that the average person burns somewhere around 2,000 calories per day it means that you would have to fast for more than two days to get rid of this entire holiday binge!

 On the other hand, let’s take a look at a more restrained (yet enjoyable) Thanksgiving Meal by looking at everything you would eat, how many calories each item contains, and how long it would take to burn off with specific exercises.

 3 pigs in a blanket – 150 calories – 15 minutes – walking at a moderate speed for 15 – 20 minutes

 1oz brie cheese – 95 calories – Ice skating continuously for 12 minutes

 4oz Sweet Potato – 187 calories – 45 minutes of weight lifting

 ½ cup Green Bean Casserole – 227 calories – 18 minutes of jumping rope

 1 glass of wine – 125 calories – 10 minutes of burpees

 ¼ cup cranberry sauce – 102 calories – 20 minutes of cycling outside

 3.5 oz white meat turkey with skin – 177 calories – 20 minutes of touch football

 ½ cup gravy – 25 calories – 3 minutes of jumping jacks

 ½ cup stuffing – 195 calories – 25 minutes of swimming

 1 cup mashed potatoes – 237 calories – 1 hour of canoeing

 3 by 3 inch square cornbread – 198 calories – 25 minutes of stair climbing

 Green Bean Casserole – 227 calories – 30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace

 Pecan Pie Slive (1/8 of pie) = 500 calories – 1 hour of ice skating


Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Importance of Zinc


Zinc is an essential trace element that’s used by every cell in your body.   During the Covid Epidemic it is more important then ever to ensure you have an adequate intake of zinc! 

Key Benefits of Zinc

  •  Critical to successfully combat viruses and bacteria.
  •  Helps to create DNA in every cell.
  •  Critical for hormone synthesis and balance 
  •  Essential for growth and development of babies and children.
  •  Key factor for the creation of Super Oxide Dismutase - the most important antioxidant in your body!  
  •  Key for proper wound healing (often recommended before and after surgery for this reason).
  • Zinc is required in order to taste and smell anything!
  • Prevents age-related vision loss.
  •  Naturally stabilizes blood sugar.
  • Can help control high blood pressure.
  • Key for male fertility.
  • Boosts athletic performance through improved muscle repair.

 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Zinc

·        Loss of appetite

·        Diarrhea

·        Hair loss

·        Hormonal imbalance (especially low thyroid and low progesterone)

·        A weak immune system

·        Brain fog

·        Unexplained weight loss

·        Changes in taste

·        Changes in smell

·        Low libido

·        Poor wound healing

·        Fatigue

·        Digestive issues

·        Developmental delays in children

Factors that increase your risk of zinc deficiency

·        Gastrointestinal surgery

·        Birth Control Pills

·        Leaky gut syndrome

·        Vegetarians and vegans

·        Alcoholic Beverages

·        Sickle cell anemia

 Hormones that Require Zinc for production and balance

·        Testosterone

·        Growth Hormone

·        Thyroid hormones

·        Estrogen

·        Progesterone

 Zinc supplementation has been shown to improve male fertility and reduce pregnancy complications. Zinc supplementation can also help improve strength, confidence and sexual desire.

 Best Food Sources of Zinc

1.     Oysters

2.     Grass-fed beef

3.     Turkey breast

4.     Lamb

5.     Sesame Seeds

6.     Pasture-raised chicken

7.     Beans

8.     Pumpkin seeds

9.     Peanuts

10.           Cashews

11.           Sunflower seeds

12.           Cocoa

13.           Pork

14.           Egg

15.           Almonds

High Quality Zinc Supplements

The best zinc supplements are chelated meaning zinc is bonded to amino acids allowing maximum absorption.   Look for products that contain “Albion Mineral Chelates” like Zinc Bisglycinate from companies like Jarrow, Blue Bonnet Labs.  Another excellent form is “Optizinc” which is another high-quality chelated zinc supplement

How Much Zinc Should You Take?

An adult should be getting at least 40 mg of zinc per day. However, It is possible to take too much zinc, especially in the form of supplements. If you take too much you could experience:

·        Nausea

·        Abdominal cramping

·        Vomiting

·        Poor appetite

·        Headaches


If you consistently eat foods containing high levels of zinc like those listed above, you likely do NOT need to supplement. 


If you are a vegetarian or vegan and do not eat plenty of nuts/seeds like Pumpkin Seeds (highest plant food source of zinc available) you probably require a zinc supplement.


Most multiple vitamins contain about 15 mg of zinc so if you are taking a high quality multi with a chelated form of zinc it is unlikely you need more.


The exception would be before surgery or healing from a wound.  The other time zinc is highly beneficial is zinc lozenges as soon as you feel any symptoms of cold or Coronavirus coming on.   Zinc is absolutely critical to the prevention and treatment of Coronavirus.    Consider that the President was given zinc as part of his treatment regimen when he was infected with Coronavirus!



Sunday, November 8, 2020

How Bodyfat Hurts Memory


Yes – you heard it right – excess bodyfat negatively impacts memory!   A large study, with over 11,000 people between 25 and 34 years old looked at inflammation using a standard test for overall inflammation levels called C-reactive protein (CRP).   The research showed a strong correlation between high BMI (body mass index) levels, CRP levels and working memory.   Working memory is memory associated with immediate conscious memory such as remembering a list of foods to buy at a store.   

There are several mechanisms that help explain how inflammation threatens memory.   Inflammation increases cortisol which is a stress hormone that is toxic to cells in the hippocampus - an area of the brain that is key to memory.   Excess inflammation also drives increased production of cytokines (chemical messengers) that have direct negative effects on the prefrontal cortex - another area of the brain that is key to memory.

High bodyfat levels and obesity drive inflammation all over the body and are linked to coronary artery disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

How to Adjust to the Fall Time Change


t’s that time of year again – time to fall back and set our clocks back one hour.   Resetting clocks in devices is simple.    Unfortunately, your body clock is not nearly as easy to reprogram.    This comes with some serious health consequences.  An hour time shift does not seem like a lot, but your body runs on a tight schedule and this one-hour change throws us off.

Scientists have documented that the shift to daylight saving time in the spring, when we lose an hour of sleep, is linked to an a much higher rate of attacks and car accidents.  Although we gain an hour to sleep – the fall change throws off the sleep cycle and that is where all the problems come from.

Over the last 20 years, scientists have documented that, in addition to the master clock in our brains, every cell in our body has a circadian rhythm and time-keeping mechanism. The body and cell’s circadian rhythm help regulate important functions such as sleep and metabolism. And increasingly, there's evidence that when our habits — such as when we eat and sleep — are out of sync with our internal clocks, it can harm us.

When we disrupt our routines with erratic sleep or eating habits, it can increase the risk of metabolic disease. For instance, overnight shift workers are at much higher risk of developing diabetes, obesity and even cancer! Research also shows that kids who don't have set bedtimes and mealtimes are also more likely to become overweight.

As days get shorter with less daylight, it's easy to fall into bad habits, and light exposure is key to regulating circadian rhythm.     It is the primary signal to turn on the body’s metabolic processes for sleep and rest to active and alert.
How to prepare for the dark days
Go to bed an hour or so earlier and get up 8 hours later. 

Maximize your exposure to daylight in the morning hours, since it gets dark so early in the evening.

Minimize Nighttime light 

Exposure to light and electromagnetic fields from computers, phones, tablets, and T.V.’s all act as a stimulant, so it is important to minimize nighttime light exposure and blue light exposure in particular.  Blue light comes from artificial lighting.   Blue wavelengths – which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood – are disruptive at night.   Energy efficient lighting is packed with blue light as our electronics.

So try to turn off lights and if you must use a computer get a blue light filtering program that will adjust the amount of blue light emitted by your computer, phone, and tablets such as flux – and the Twilight app for your phone.   Both allow you to set times and adjust blue light output of your devices automatically based on time of day!  You can also buy blue blocking glasses to use in the evening.   This may seem gimmicky but there is very well done research supporting the effectiveness of reducing blue light in the evening through these and other measures!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Exercise for the Prevention and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts almost one million Americans. It is characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons which control movement. As Parkinson’s Disease progresses patients have progressive loss of the control of movement.

Symptoms generally develop slowly over years and can include:

Tremors, mainly at rest

Limb rigidity and stiffness

Walking and balance problems

In addition to these movement symptoms there are non-motor symptoms.   Non-motor symptoms include Hyposmia (loss of smell), sleep disorders, constipation, anxiety and depression.    These symptoms often affect patients more than their motor symptoms.

Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease

Exercise helps prevent Parkinson’s and slows the progression of the disease for those affected.   High levels of moderate to vigorous activities in mid or later life lower risk.    

Key parameters of exercise for Parkinson’s:

Task Intensity – higher is better meaning exercise must challenge the person.    

Task Specificity – the task must be specific to the motor circuits being affected – so using the area of the body affected is key.

Task Complexity – activity should be complex enough to engage the exerciser and require them to focus and engage.

To maximize benefit include activities that include an element of motor learning.   Introducing an element of skill development as part of an exercise program with activities such as dance or Tai Chi can be very beneficial. 

The Importance of Vigorous Aerobic Exercise

In addition to activities which challenge motor learning it is critical to engage in vigorous aerobic exercise.   This fits the overall requirement of engagement of the exerciser – more intense aerobic exercise requires more concentration and engagement!  Vigorous aerobic exercise is also shown to dramatically increase BDNF which is brain derived neurotrophic factor.   BDNF is like miracle grow for the brain – it is growth factor that is critical for maintaining synaptic connections and growing neurons.  Parkinson’s patients have decreased BDNF.

To learn more about exercise and Parkinson’s Disease check out this excellent interview with a leading Parkinson’s researcher:


Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Benefits of Percussive Therapy

Percussive therapy has actually been around for a long time, but it was recently re-invented thanks to the invention of the Theragun.   Most of us have experienced a massage where the therapist deliver rapid taps/pressure to the body and know how good this can feel!

Theragun is the world’s first handheld Percussive Therapy Device.   Percussive Therapy can be defined as the rapid and repetitive application of pressure perpendicular to the body.    This percussive stimulus produces tissue pressure and vibration.  The stimulation distracts the brain from pain while delivering deep and effective treatment every time you use it.

The amplitude and frequency with which the Theragun comes on and off the body keeps the brain from acclimating to the stimulus so it keeps working overtime.    Amplitude is how far the head of the Theragun moves with each revolution and frequency is how many times per second a revolution is completed.    Amplitude and frequency combined with the level of pressure the user or therapist chooses to delivery determines the level of tissue vibration, pressure and percussive stimulus.

Theragun Percussive Therapy is massage reinvented™.  Theragun percussive therapy devices are scientifically calibrated with a 16mm amplitude to reach deep into muscles and stimulate heat and blood flow, helping to bring oxygen in and flush waste products out, improving the health and function of your muscles.   Theragun devices are scientifically calibrated to reach 60% deeper into muscle than the average home massager, at 40 times a second, for greater therapeutic benefits to the body.

One of the best features of Theragun products is their triangular handles which allow a person to self-administer a customized level of percussive stimulus to almost any area of their body without the need for another person!

Proven benefits of Percussive Therapy include:

Decreased soreness and stiffness

Increased blood flow

Maximizes warm-up and recovery

Decreases Lactic Acid

Enhanced recovery between work sets and interval allowing a better workout

Ideally Theragun should be used before, during and after your workout.    To learn more about Percussive Therapy and Theragun see a Workout Anytime Coach!    To get a sense of how Therabody works check out this short video:


Saturday, October 10, 2020

High-Intensity Interval Training Better for Seniors Too!


A recent long-term study proved that older adults get more benefit from high-intensity interval training.   The study showed that five years of high-intensity interval training increased quality of life, improved fitness and decreased mortality in a group of older adults.

Training Intensity is Key!

The Generation 100 Study randomly divided people in three different groups.   One group was assigned to do high-intensity interval using the 4X4 method twice a week, while the second group was instructed to train at a steady, moderate intensity for 50 minutes twice a week.   The control group exercised on their own without supervision and were given standard Norwegian Health Authorities' recommendations.

"Both physical and mental quality of life were better in the high-intensity group after five years than in the other two groups.   High-Intensity interval training also had the greatest protective effect on fitness," says the lead researcher of the study.

Does High-Intensity Training Lead to a Longer Life?

The short answer appears to be YES!    The high-intensity interval training group had significantly lower mortality during the five year study.     

To see a comprehensive review of the study go here: 

To learn how to perform the 4 X 4 interval training workout go here: