Sunday, April 26, 2020

Exercise and COVID-19

We all know that exercise can be beneficial for overall health, but what about exercise and COVID-19?    According to a new research review cardiovascular exercise may help protect people from a major complication of COVID-19 infection called acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS for short.
Specifically, regular bouts of cardiovascular exercise increase the production of ecSOD which is “Extracellular Super Oxide Dismutase” – a crucial antioxidant that is produced by the body to protect cells from oxidative damage.
Zhen Yan, the director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, who conducted the review recommends 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day to help ward off ARDS. “We cannot live in isolation forever,” he said. “Regular exercise has far more health benefits than we know. The protection against this severe respiratory disease condition is just one of the many examples.”
“All you hear now is either social distancing or ventilator, as if all we can do is either avoid exposure or rely on a ventilator to survive if we get infected.”  Yan said.  “The flip side of the story is that approximately 80% of confirmed COVID-19 patients have mild symptoms with no need of respiratory support.   The question is, ‘why?’ Our findings about an endogenous antioxidant enzyme provide important clue and have intrigued us to develop a novel therapeutic for ARDS caused by COVID-19.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated between 20 and 42 percent of all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 will develop ARDS.
Research predating the pandemic suggested that approximately 45 percent of patients who develop severe ARDS will die, according to a news release from the University of Virginia Health System.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Incredible Single Leg RDL

The Single Leg RDL – Romanian Deadlift – is one of the most important exercises you can use to tone, shape, and strengthen the entire posterior chain (your butt, low back and hamstrings)...It is also one of the most important corrective exercises you can do to help self-identify and correct muscle imbalances that are the most common cause of movement dysfunction and injury.

Like a two leg RDL the Single Leg RDL is hip hinge exercise and the hip hinge is one of the key functional exercises everyone should do along with squats, lunges, pushes, and pulls.   The best way to do this exercise is barefoot in front of a mirror where you can see your whole body throughout the entire sequence of the exercise.   Ideally you should be on a firm and level surface as well.

This exercise challenges your entire body from head to toe and particularly the feet because of the significant asymmetrical loading which challenges you to compensate and stabilize!   This is very important because when we walk and run we spend much of our time on one foot so this ability is critical for proper movement.

Start by facing the mirror standing on one foot with the other leg flexed so your thigh is parallel with the floor and knee flexed to 90 degrees with hands on your hips.     Look in the mirror and make sure your hips are perfectly level and if not fix that!   

Next, without moving the upper body extend the flex leg down and hinge forward at the hip of the standing leg.    As your swing leg passes the other leg you should try to straighten it, and ideally you hinge forward at the upper body while keeping your swing leg and upper body in a straight line the whole time.

As you hinge try NOT to let your swing leg hip drop and keep your stance foot pointing directly forward with no angle.    The stance leg should flex slightly but the knee should NOT move forward – rather you should “sit” back into the hinge at the hip.

Pause when you reach at or near parallel with the floor with your upper body and swing leg then smoothly return to standing and flex the swing leg.    Slower is harder AND better and do NOT use any load at first.

Master the movement first!    10 repetitions on each side – do all 10 on each side one time per day and you will see some amazing changes in your hips, booty, and legs along with increased strength, balance and athleticism! 

Here is a great tutorial on how to do the Single Leg RDL:

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Quercetin for Allergies and Inhibition of Viral Infection

For much of the country allergy sufferers are seriously suffering, but the good news is that there is a well-proven nutritional supplement that can help mitigate allergy symptoms without the side effects of over the counter (OTC) antihistamines.    

Unfortunately even over the counter antihistamines are not without issues including being linked to the progression of dementia with long-term use: (

Research on Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavanol found in apples, plums, red grapes, green tea, elder flower, and onions to name a few.   In addition to acting as an effective antihistamine quercetin is proven to be effective for inhibiting viruses such as the common cold and the flu. 

A 2007 study from Appalachian State University was funded by the Department of Defense.  The study had two groups of 20 people ride a bike for three hours per day for three days in a row.    One group received 1,000 mg of quercetin along with vitamin C and niacin and the other group received a placebo.

45 percent of the placebo group contracted a viral illness after the physical stress compared to just 5 percent of the quercetin supplement group.

In a 1985 study, researchers found that quercetin reduces the infectivity and replication of Herpes Simplex Type 1 virus, Polio-Virus Type 1, and parainfluenza type 3 along with respiratory syncytial virus.

A 2016 study found that quercetin inhibited a wide range of influenza strains including H1N1, H3N2, and H5N1.

How Quercetin inhibits certain viruses

Inhibiting a virus's ability to infect other cells (viruses infect cells and then take control of them and make them produce more virus!)

Inhibiting replication of already infected cells

Reducing infected cell's resistance to treatment with anti-viral medication

Quercetin Supplements

In collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) a supplement called "Q-Force" was developed that is proven to:

Increase Mental Alertness
Strengthen the Immune System
Provide Sustained Energy
Reduce Oxidative Stress and Muscle Soreness Post Exercise

Q-Force is available at and quercetin supplements are available from many online retailers including Amazon and often include bromelain and Vitamin C which are proven to help with absorption and utilization of quercetin.

NOTE:  Quercetin is NOT proven to prevent or treat Coronavirus although clinical trials are currently being conducted including to determine the effects of quercetin supplementation including this one:

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Sleep In The Time of Coronavirus

During this stressful time, it is common for people to have problems falling asleep and staying asleep, and by now everyone should know that good sleep is absolutely critical for health and in particular to maintain a strong immune system.

Key Lifestyle Recommendations for Better Sleep

Set a consistent bedtime and waking schedule that you adhere to EVERY day – not just weekdays!

Unplug and eliminate screen time of all types for at least 1 full hour before bed.    Reading is fine as is listening to music, meditating, or listening to an audio book.    

If you use your phone or tablet to read (which is NOT ideal) consider downloading a free red-light app such as “Twilight” which progressively eliminates more and more blue-light from the screen as you approach bedtime.  The Blue portion of the light spectrum is a stimulant and helps wake us up in the morning but also keeps us awake at night.

Eliminate all caffeine after 11am and consider eliminating it entirely – many find that this is all it takes to get a great night’s sleep.

Eliminate or dramatically limit alcohol – and if you are going to have a glass of wine do so early and stop drinking at least 2 hours before bed time to give your body time to eliminate the alcohol from your system (1 drink per hour of time not drinking).

Hydrate very early in the day by consciously drinking two large glasses of water first thing in the morning and tapering fluid into after 5pm to limit the need to go to the bathroom while sleeping.

Exercise early in the day – an amazing antidepressant and a known sleep aid as long as you do not exercise vigorously right before bed!

Stop eating anything or drinking any calories 3 hours before bed to avoid heartburn and digestive issues while sleeping.

Nutrition Supplements for Sleep and Stress

While you can try over the counter sleep medications like diphenhydramine which is an antihistamine (aka Sominex, Unisom, and Benadryl) even this basic drug has side effects including prostate issues and contributing to dementia if taken for long periods of time.

Sensoril Ashwaganda – is a specific form of the Ayervedic herb which is HIGHLY effective for safe stress reduction, improved sleep and improved energy levels and sex drive during the day.  Completely safe with almost no contraindications and also very inexpensive.  Available from many sources online including from several different manufacturers on Amazon.  Take 500mg per day in single or divided doses with or without food.  This herb is incredibly good for overall health and vitality – to learn more click here:

L-Theanine – is an amino acid derived from Green Tea.    L-Theanine is another fantastic and safe stress reducer.   Like Sensoril it actually improves daytime concentration and focus but facilitates sleep by dramatically reducing the stress response.    Dosage should be 100 – 400mg up to four times per day.   For sleep start with 100mg about an hour before bed and adjust dosage accordingly.   Very safe with almost no side effects or interactions.     Available on Amazon from many fine manufacturers.   You CAN absolutely combine L-Theanine and Sensoril and several supplements are available with both ingredients including this author’s favorite: Jarrow Gaba Soothe!

Jarrow Gaba Soothe contains l-Theanine, Sensoril and PharmaGABA – see below.   In the author's experience this supplement almost never fails to produce a dramatic and noticeable reduction in stress and improved sleep response with side benefits like more daytime energy, increased focus, and improved sex drive with no stimulants or hormones.

PharmaGABA is a very specific form of Gaba that crosses the Blood-Brain Barrier which no other form of Gaba does.   Gaba is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that puts the brakes on the excitatory neurotransmitter norepinepherine which is part of the stress -fight or flight response that is at the heart of anxiety and sleep disorders.

Unlike anti-anxiety drugs like Valium, which affect the Gaba receptors and are highly addictive – PharmaGABA is proven to decrease the stress response without sedation, or addiction, and IMPROVE daytime concentration.

To get the best of all three of these supplements try Jarrow Gaba Soothe which includes all three – great company and a fantastic and safe stress reduction supplement with side benefits instead of side effects!