Sunday, July 26, 2020

Coronavirus Supplement Guide

Although there are no cures or guaranteed ways to prevent a person from becoming infected with Coronavirus other than preventing exposure through social distancing, hand-washing, and mask wearing there are nutritional supplements that can potentially help minimize symptoms.      As always it is critical to discuss any and all nutritional supplements you take with your physician and always contact your physician if you feel you are experiencing symptoms of Covid 19!

So what are these supplements?

Quercetin – is a plant chemical with strong anti-viral activity that is proven to prevent and mitigate all sorts of viral infections as well as being outstanding for allergies.    In the case of Covid it is particularly well-suited because it is a zinc “ionophore” which means it drives zinc into the cells which is what the infamous drug hydroxychloroquine does, but quercetin achieves with no side effects and no prescription.    

The best forms of quercetin include it being mixed with bromelain – a digestive enzyme that increases absorption.    Inexpensive and easy to find on Amazon or at Vitamin shoppe – suggested dosage is 1,000mg per day EVERY day until this thing is over – works way better if it is in your system PRIOR to exposure.   To understand more about Quercetin/Zinc and covid read here:

Do NOT take Quercetin if you are on blood thinners of any kind!!!

Zinc – if you are routinely eat meat, oysters or pumpkin seeds you probably get enough zinc.   It also makes sense to take a supplement with 15 – 30 mg of a high quality chelated form of zinc like zinc picolinate or zinc gluconate or “Optizinc” which is another chelated form of zinc.   Keep total zinc intake no higher than 50mg per day – too much causes its own set of issues and take with a meal!

Zinc lozenges – zinc lozenges are particularly effective in dealing with all respiratory viruses including Covid and you want to have them on hand and begin taking IMMEDIATELY when you have any symptoms but NOT before then.    Zinc lozenges are NOT something to take all the time - only when you have symptoms!  Best type are zinc acetate lozenges from Life Extension.     You want to ALWAYS have these lozenges available because they are ONLY effective when you start them at symptom onset!     Follow label directions.

Vitamin C – if you take a decent multi and regularly eat fruit and vegetables you get plenty of C for day to day.    However it may be smart to purchase several bottles of liposomal Vitamin C to have available to begin big doses at onset of any symptoms.  This form of C is the most bioavailable form you can get orally.    Start taking 2,000mg immediately and every two hours until you hit bowel tolerance.  Bowel Tolerance refers to the fact that when you take more than you can absorb in your gut your bowels get loose – nothing horrible.   It is KEY to keep taking it more and more till you hit this level and you will find if you are sick you will need to take a lot of it before hitting this point whereas if you are not sick you will hit bowel tolerance much earlier.   C is VERY powerful but ONLY if you get enough in you!

Vitamin D and K2 – if you are not checking your vitamin d level PLEASE start – you can get a test from your doc or order an at home one with finger stick or order your own lab test without a doctor.   Optimizing vitamin d levels is the MOST important thing you can do to prevent yourself from ending up in a hospital in the event you catch Covid and you need to do this NOW!  Taking mega-doses when sick does NOT work nearly as well as getting tested and supplementing up to optimal levels.     

For most people this will require a minimum of 5,000iu per day of Vitamin D3 (only form to take).     ALWAYS take Vitamin D WITH Vitamin K2 – a fat soluble form of K that is critical for optimal absorption and effectiveness of D and is important part of preventing Covid Issues!      20 minutes of direct sunlight during peak sun hours is all it takes for most Caucasians to optimize D levels in most of the US during the summer but do not get burned!    

D with K2 is very inexpensive and you start taking this immediately if you are not sure you have good D levels – particularly if you avoid the sun which is understandable because sun can cause damage if you get too much!   Read this article to give you a sense of how important D is for Covid and how high levels are directly correlated with good outcomes and how low levels with bad outcomes:  

Melatonin – melatonin is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory supplement that may help inhibit the cytokine storm that is what causes many of the serious complications in people that end up having big problems with Covid.   Children typically have very high melatonin levels (10 times higher than adults and 20 times higher than adults over 60) which may be one of the reasons they have way less issues with Covid.  Do NOT take melatonin anytime but directly before bed on a day to day basis – the strategy for using it during an active Covid infection is entirely different!!!  It is good to have it on hand in the event you have Covid symptoms: 

Dosage Upon COVID-19 Infection
 If you are self-quarantined at home, the following dosage applies. 
Melatonin COVID-19 Infection Dosage:  5 milligrams to 50 milligrams
The lower range is for individuals with mild or no symptoms.  The higher range is for older individuals or those with more severe symptoms. 
Those taking ACE inhibitors, or have cardiac conditions or hypertension need to consult your doctor before taking high doses of melatonin.  Note that melatonin may lower blood pressure and cause hypotension at higher dosages.  
The correct infection dose should ideally be divided into daytime and nighttime doses.

Daytime – 40% of total daily dose, divided into small equal portions to be taken every TWO HOURS.  As stated previously do not take melatonin during the day routinely.
Nighttime –  60% of total daily dose, divided into two portions taken 2-3 hours after dinner.  The final dose at night should be completed by 10 pm the latest.

If one is diabetic, or have insulin resistance, DO NOT TAKE MELATONIN before 3 pm.  Melatonin is able to suppress insulin. 
Please note that these higher dosages are only applicable during infections only.  

To learn more about melatonin and Covid check this out:

Aleve/Naproxen Sodium – if you need to take something for pain/inflammation and you think you may have Covid the safest choice is probably Aleve.    Aleve is a anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen/Motrin.    Aleve is a MUCH better choice if you have Covid and probably better than Tylenol which is a pain killer and NOT an anti-inflammatory.   There is evidence that Aleve (and not ibuprofen or Tylenol) can inhibit issues with clotting that clinicians are seeing with Covid and that it may have direct anti-viral effects against Covid.  So like Vitamin C and Zinc Lozenges would recommend you have a bottle on hand in case you need it!   Do NOT take this for prevention – no evidence it will help and this can cause issues if you take it all the time.   Also do NOT take it at all if on any kind of blood thinning medication!

To learn more about Aleve/Naproxen and Covid 19 see this: 

So in summary:

Quercetin and take all the time

Vitamin D and K – ideally get D levels checked and take necessary amount to get you into optimal range – see article link on D and K above.

Zinc – make sure you get enough on day to day basis – take 15 – 40mg per day in supplement form either from multiple or zinc supplement

Zinc lozenges – only to use when you have symptoms but begin IMMEDIATELY

Lipsomal Vitamin C – have several bottles on hand if you start feeling symptoms immediately ramp up dosage as described in Vitamin C section above.

Aleve – have on hand for pain or fever from Covid

Melatonin – to take in higher doses ONLY if you have symptoms

While these supplements may help and there is sound logic behind using them - they do not replace social distancing, mask wearing, proper nutrition, exercise and sleep – no supplement can replace these!   As always contact your physician immediately if you feel you have symptoms of Covid 19.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Many Benefits of Berberine

Berberine 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 show 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 anti-hypertensive 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.
  • Reduce Prostate Inflammation and potentially prevent/slow prostate cancer
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.   It is often referred to as an exercise and fasting mimic in that through activation of AMPK berberine causes similar effects and benefits to exercise!    When combined with exercise and intermittent fasting these effects are magnified!

Other benefits of berberine include:
  • 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
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 has a long history of being used to reduce prostate inflammation.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Honey is an amazing substance – especially when you consider how it is made by bees. It is a complex mixture of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.  Honey has many health benefits when used in moderation (assuming you're healthy).

Honey Production Process

It takes about over 50,000 bees traveling up to 50,000 miles and visiting up to 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey!  Bees stores the nectar in their extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, and then the bees pass the nectar  to another bee's mouth. 

This process is repeated until the nectar becomes digested and is then deposited into a honeycomb where it becomes honey after the bees fan it with their wings to evaporate some of the liquid it contains.   The bees then seal the honey comb with secretions from their abdomen.   In this way honey can be stored almost indefinitely as it is sealed away from air and water.

Honey is infused with many chemicals from the different flowers bees visit which accounts for the extremely wide variation in color and taste of different honeys collected in different regions.

Health Benefits of Honey

Honey is excellent cough medicine, and research has proven that honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications.

Honey can treat wounds and was commonly used to prevent and treat wound infections until the advent of antibiotics.   Today it is being used again more and more as research shows it can be an extremely potent and safe way to treat serious skin infections.    One specific type of honey – Manuka Honey – is specifically used for creating wound and burn dressings.

Manuka honey is made from the flowers of the Manuka bush, and research have shown that Manuka honey is effective in combatting more than 200 clinical strains of bacteria, including anti-biotic resistance strains such as:

◦ MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

◦ MSSA (methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus)

◦ VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci)

Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but Manuka honey contains and unknown unique factor that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.

Even so, research shows that any type of unprocessed honey helps wounds and ulcers heal.

Honey Is Great for Your Scalp: Honey diluted with a bit of warm water can significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and itching.

Honey is a Great Energy Booster: Honey is a great energy booster before a workout, and this is particularly true for athletes.

Honey Can Safely Dramatically Reduce Allergy Symptoms: Local honey, which contains a wide variety of pollen from local plants, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. This can act like an allergy shot and gradually condition your immune system to stop reacting to allergens.  Dosage is a teaspoon-full of locally produced honey per day, starting a few months PRIOR to the pollen season, to allow your system to build up immunity.

One study on local honey and allergy showed that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:

◦ 60 percent reduction in symptoms

◦ Twice as many asymptomatic days

◦ 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms

◦ 50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines

Honey can Combat Herpes

Honey helps fight herpes sores by:

• Drawing fluid away from the sores

• Suppresses microorganism growth

Honey may help fight cancer by limiting certain cancer cell proliferation, inducing cancer cell death and inhibiting tumor growth. It's been shown to lower the risk for cancer of the skin, cervix, colon, prostate and breast, among others.

Honey has been shown to have anxiety reducing, anti-depressant, anti-convulsant and anti-pain properties.

Using High Quality Honey is Important!

The antibacterial activity in some honey is 100 times more potent than in others, while processed refined honey will lack many of these beneficial properties altogether. Most honey found in your grocery store is probably highly processed.

The best honey is unprocessed, and a great source is locally produced raw honey purchased directly from a beekeeper, farmers markets, co-ops, and natural stores like Trader Joe's. When choosing honey, be sure it is raw, unfiltered, and 100% pure, from a trusted source.

Honey Should Be Consumed in Moderation

Honey is high in fructose. Each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose, which means it can be inappropriate for anyone with diabetes and too much can make pre-existing insulin resistance worse.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Squats and Anatomical Variation Among Individuals

Squatting is one of the fundamental movement patterns everyone should train, but it is very important to understand and consider the effect that individual variations in limb length and anatomical variances can have on exactly how each person can and should squat.

Everyone cannot and should not squat the same way!  Many trainers and individuals try to squat in “perfect” form with feet flat, no heel lift, feet pointing forward, with back upright and straight with butt to the grass but this is not only not possible for some people – it can actually get them hurt!

One of the biggest factors determining how an individual can squat is the relative length of their femur (upper leg bone) relative to their lower leg and upper body length.       In general, the longer the femur and the longer the torso the greater the person MUST lean their upper body forward in order to get thighs parallel to floor much less going below parallel.     This puts a TON of stress on the low back and in extreme examples trying to get to parallel is a BIG MISTAKE – swap for another exercise like a lunge or step up – nobody wins when you get hurt exercising!

To gain a really strong understanding of these concepts check out this fantastic article on this subject by Bret Contreras that includes video links to a short, but powerful video presentation on this subject using a stick model:  .     Once you see it you will never try to force someone into a fixed squat pattern again without really thinking it through.

In addition to limb length differences there can be dramatic differences in the shape of the acetabulum (the hip socket), the head of the femur (ball of femur) and femoral neck angle.   The end result can mean very different squatting mechanics are required.     Here is a great article showing how these differences manifest themselves in squatting: