Sunday, April 29, 2018

How Much Time Should You Rest Between Resistance Training Exercises?

One of the most common questions about weight training aka resistance training is how long should you rest between each exercise set?     If you take a look at the relevant research concerning this topic there are some good answers.

For a long time, researchers believed that shorter rest periods were better for increasing muscle size which was thought to occur because of increased levels of metabolic stress by not allowing complete recovery.    However, research done in 2015 shows that using longer rest periods actually results in better results for both increased muscle size and increased muscle strength.     It is thought that this occurs because longer rest periods allow a higher training volume (more repetitions of each exercise).

Another aspect to consider is whether most of your workout uses compound exercises (compound exercises use multi-joint exercises using more muscle mass such as a chest press vs a pec dec or pull-up vs an Lat Pullover).      In a 2012 study researchers found that with shorter rest periods workout volume decreased for both single-joint and multi-joint compound exercises.       However, the decrease in volume in workouts with short rest periods tended to be significantly greater with multi-joint compound exercises vs single-joint exercise (29% reduction in volume with multi-joint as compared to 15% with single- joint exercise). So for strength routines focused on compound, multi-joint movements increased rest time is probably a good idea.

Another study which looked at the effects of rest interval length on training volume discovered another important item:    reduction in training volume occurs mainly between 1 and 2-minute rest periods.    The percentage difference between 2 and 3-minute rest periods is much smaller, except when doing 5 or more sets of an exercise.     So, for people doing 3 – 4 sets per exercise, 2 minutes is a good rest interval, but if doing 5 or more sets you should probably extend the rest interval to 3 minutes.

Another important piece of information is that recreational lifters who self-determine rest periods tend to rest just under 2 minutes between sets meaning that for most lifters doing 3 to 4 sets of several exercises whose goal is increased muscle size and strength you probably do not need to time your rest intervals and can go just go by feel.

Timing rest intervals becomes more important for advanced resistance training such as Power Lifting and Bodybuilding, but for most of us we can just go by how we feel!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

PQQ – Safe Supplement for Improved Cellular Energy

Pyrroloquinoline quinone aka PQQ is a chemical found in plants that is a key factor in stimulating cell growth, differentiation and survival.    PQQ is also a strong antioxidant that is capable of continuous cycling much more than other antioxidants.   For example, PQQ can quench free radicals over 20,000 times compared to only 4 for vitamin C.

Although you may not heard of it before – PQQ plays a critical role in human nutrition and is found in all plant foods in very small amounts.   If PQQ is completed removed from the diet it leads to slowing of growth, decreased immunity, and abnormal reproductive function.

Cellular Energy Production

PQQ promotes the generation of new mitochondria within cells – including aging cells.     This is a very important benefit because cells derive their energy from mitochondria and mitochondrial function decreases with aging and is one of the key factors in cellular aging and dysfunction.  
Research on PQQ

PQQ has a wide range of physiological effects can be extremely helpful for conditions related to low mitochondrial function including aging, along with many brain and neurological disease along with other chronic degenerative diseases.      Most research has focused on how PQQ protects memory and cognition during aging.

PQQ is particularly effective when combined with ubiquinol which is the activated form of Coenzyme Q10.    In a study with over 70 people between the ages of 40 – 70, 20mg per day of PQQ resulted in significant improvements in cognitive function, but in the group receiving 20mg of PQQ AND 300mg of Ubiquinol the results were very dramatic.

PQQ has been shown to go to work immediately.   In one study subjects were given a single dose of .2mg per kilogram of bodyweight and then measurements were taken over the next 48 hours.    The measurements showed a significant increase in antioxidant potential from this single dosage.    The same group was given an even higher single dose and measurements showed a significant decrease in C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 72 hours later which are key markers for inflammation.

Other Benefits of PQQ

PQQ has also been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) on par with Statin Drugs but with no side effects!

Lowers risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Increases Nerve Growth Factor


Studies show the best results with 10 – 20mg per day (nice because it is a very small pill!) and even better when combined with 300mg of Ubiquinol.    For even stronger results combine with Berberine – see this blog post on Berberine -

Monday, April 16, 2018

High Intensity Exercise and Brain Health

Physical fitness has been linked to brain health and is an important strategy to prevent dementia.  In fact, compelling evidence shows that physical exercise helps build a brain that not only resists shrinkage but increases cognitive abilities and creativity.

We also know that exercise promotes your brain’s ability to adapt and grow more cells. Exercise also promotes brain health by controlling insulin resistance and boosting hormones and neurotransmitters associated with mood control, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and GABA. 

A Canadian Study showed that high-intensity workouts helped boost memory by improving hippocampal function — a finding that may prove to be an important prevention strategy against Alzheimer’s disease.

High-Intensity Exercise Improves Memory

In the Canadian study, 95 healthy young adults were put into one of three groups: One group completed six weeks of HIIT plus cognitive training; the other treatment group did HIIT only, while the control group remained inactive and got no cognitive training. Both HIIT groups experienced significant improvements in high-interference memory.

Interference memory is when information a person has already memorized interferes with their ability to learn and memorize new information.  It is directly linked  to the ability to learn and retain information.

Improvement in Fitness Level seems to be linked with Brain Benefits

Those who achieve the greatest improvements in fitness also have more significant increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor aka (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that has rejuvenating effects on both your muscles and your brain. High BDNF levels have also been correlated to a dramatic reduction in Alzheimer's risk, as it helps you grow new brain cells and protect old ones from deterioration.

As one would expect, those who participated in both HIIT and cognitive training saw the greatest improvements in memory in this study, and “high responders to exercise,” meaning those who gained the greatest fitness improvements, gained the greatest memory improvements of all.

Exercise Also Increases Mitochondrial Health in Your Brain

Other research has shown that exercise also increases the levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator (PGC-1α), which increases mitochondrial biogenesis (the production of new mitochondira within cells). The PGC-1α pathway regulates both mitochondrial activity and mitochondrial replication. This is very significant for the brain as it is the most mitochondrially-dense organ in your body.  Mitochondria are the key energy producing organelle’s in the cells, and one of the primary causes of aging and cellular dysfunction is defective mitochondia.   Without enough health mitochondia cells cannot function properly.

Exercise Triggers the Growth of New Neurons

As noted by psychiatrist Dr. John J. Ratey in his book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” there’s overwhelming evidence showing that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia.

There are several studies showing that exercise boosts gray matter in the hippocampal region of the brain. A 2013 study found the total minutes of weekly exercise correlated with volume of the right hippocampus, meaning the more exercise people got, the larger their right hippocampus — the area associated with nonverbal memory functions and spatial relationship memories.

Exercise also preserves gray and white matter in your frontal, temporal and parietal cortexes, thereby preventing cognitive deterioration. In a 2012 study, those who exercised the most had the least amount of brain shrinkage over a follow-up period of three years.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Berberine - for Cancer Prevention, Anxiety, Depression, Increased Fat Burning, and More!

Berberine – for Cancer Prevention, Anxiety, Depression, Increased fat burning, and more!

Berberine is a yellow alkaloid found in several plants/herbs such as goldenseal and phellodendron.   It is a powerful plant chemical with proven antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and immune enhancing properties.    Herbs containing berberine have a long history of effective use and there is considerable science backing these uses.

It is also extremely helpful for treatment of seasonal allergies traveler’s diarrhea, food poisoning, and as an oral hypoglycemic for Type 2 diabetes.

As per Dr. Michael Murray Berberine has been shown to: 
  • Produce results in clinical trials in improving Type 2 diabetes on par or better than conventional drugs including metformin.
  • Improve blood lipid levels better than statins.
  • Lower blood pressure in many subjects as well as any class of antihypertensive medication.
  • Improve liver function and promote anti-obesity effects.
  • Exert significant beneficial effects on digestive health and the microbiome.
  • Produce very encouraging experimental data in a wide range of modern health issues including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and others.
How does Berberine work?

Berberine activates adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK).  AMPK is sometimes referred to as a "metabolic master switch" because it plays an important role in regulating metabolism.

AMPK causes a cascade of effects within cells involved with maintaining energy homeostasis.  AMPK helps shift energy towards cellular repair and maintenance.   It has many of the same effects as increasing exercise while at the same time restricting caloric intake.

Other benefits of Berberine include:
  • Slowing the release of free fatty acids to help prevent harmful fat deposits
  • Promoting insulin, leptin, and adiponectin function for a healthy metabolism
  • Supporting healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
  • Promoting healthy insulin sensitivity
  • Promoting healthy gut microflora
  • Supporting healthy lipid metabolism
  • Stimulating the release of nitric oxide for healthy blood flow

Berberine Helps Ease Anxiety and Depression

Another benefit of AMPK is that it protects neurons and increases key neurotransmitters which improves brain function and psychological well-being.  So, it should not be surprising that several studies have shown that Berberine is very useful for anxiety and depression.

Berberine and Cancer Prevention

Berberine slows cancer growth and causes cancer cell death through a variety of mechanisms: tumor cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, inhibits blood vessel growth to tumors, inhibition of tumor cellular invasion and metastases (spread), etc.
One of the main anti-cancer targets that is inhibited by berberine is NF-kappa B. NF-kappa B is one of the most important proteins in our cells, acting as a key switch in the development and progression of inflammation and cancer.
·       Cancer (and precancerous cells) often have a permanently activated NF-kappa B, which keeps the cells proliferating and prevents them from dying (apoptosis.)
·       Chronic inflammation can also be a result of activated NF-kappa B, and we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer growth
·       Additionally, Berberine sensitizes cancer cells to the effects of radiation but NOT of normal cells. So Berberine may make radiation therapy more effective. 

Berberine also inhibits the tendency of cancer cells to become drug resistant over time by inhibiting the cellular membrane proteins that pump drugs out of the cell. When Berberine is taken with numerous chemotherapy drugs, studies have shown that they work synergistically to fight cancer.
Contraindications for Berberine

·       Displaces bilirubin and should not be administered to jaundiced neonates (may increase bilirubin levels due to displacement of bilirubin from albumin)
·       May cause a prolonged QT (a variable in cardiac electrical conduction) in patients with underlying heart disease

Drug Interactions

While Berberine is quite safe and well-tolerated, it may be contraindicated if you’re taking medications.  For example, Berberine may hinder absorption of tetracycline and other similar antibiotics, rendering them ineffective. Also, because Berberine significantly inhibits CYP3A enzymes — enzymes needed to metabolize most drugs — it can lower the clearance of medications, which in turn can augment their effect. This can lead to overdose, the risks of which will vary depending on the drug in question.

Berberine increases the effects of drugs that lower blood sugar so it is critical that you not mix Berberine with these drugs unless under the supervision of a physician.  IT is important to note that Berberine produces all the benefits of Metformin with much lower risks!

Sources of Berberine

Berberine is available as an isolated supplement OR through certain herbs such as goldenseal or Phellodendron.    Nexrutine is a patented Phellodendron Extract with high levels of Berberine that is particularly effective at reducing joint pain, improving mood, and reducing prostate inflammation and likely prostate cancer risk.   Phellodendron also has has a long history of being used to treat prostate inflammation and prostatitis.