Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Lost Organ

Digestion is a critical part to health.  You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb.  I'm reading through a new book on GI Health and one of the things discussed is "The Lost Organ."

Inside the Large Intestine lies 5lbs of friendly bacteria.  This is what Gerard E. Mullin MD, professor of Medicine and Director of Integrative GI Nutrition Services at Johns Hopkins refers to as the Lost Organ.  This flora consists of over 500 species of friendly bacteria.  The bacterial DNA outnumbers your human DNA by a factor of 100.

Digested food passes through to the large intestine, where this flora starts to ferment the carbohydrates that the human body is unable to process.  Essential vitamins like Biotin and Vitamin K are produced from this process.

This fermentation also produces short chain fatty acids that increase the guts absorption of water, regrow gut cells in the colon and may provide defense against colon cancer and IBD.

What is the recipe for the creation of both good and bad bacteria in the lost organ?

The bad bacteria thrive on sugar and low fiber.  Good bacteria will thrive on fiber, high nutritional food and you can support all this with probiotics.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Carbs for the Brain: Interesting NY Time Article

I saw this post on a friends Facebook link, a NY Times article entitled "How Exercise Fuels the Brain."  In it,  researchers in Japan developed a way to see what nutrients are in the brain right after exercise and where they go.  For the longest time, it was thought that the only way the brain was supplied was through blood.   The researchers found new information that showed that support cells called Astrocytes store small amounts of glycogen.   They are able to produce energy for the brain.  After  exercise, the researchers were able to see that the brain had depleted glycogen in the frontal cortex (thinking, memory and movement)  Sounds to me like fatigue.

They studied one single bought of exercise and several boughts of exercise over 4 weeks. They saw that the four week group, had a lot of glycogen stores go to the brain where it had been depleted and can actually increase.  Brain carbo load.

What's that mean?  If your brain can store more glycogen, essentially, you will be able to perform movement longer, potentially have some cognitive carryover as well.  Personally, I've always noticed that your Cross Country teams always seem to have a very high GPA.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Muscle Activation for the Lat and Long Head of the Tricep

I like a lot of exercises from the 1/2 kneeling position. Extra core work and extra hip flexor work. Win, win. I like this to bring about some activation for the crucial Lat and long head of the Triceps. Remember, both can be ADDuctors.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 17, 2012

Boosting Premi Babies Vision and Brain Development with Massage

I had my first kid born last week, Piper Cruz Ross.  She was 8.5 weeks early!  To say that it scared us, was a bit of an understatement.  She was born 4lb 9oz and 18" long.  We were very fortunate that her lungs were fully formed and she didn't need any external help with breathing.

Many of my friends that I have played sports with over the years, from rugby to bobsled have started to have kids and we have always joked about how we are going to train our newborns.  Resisted baby crawls, 1lb dumbell deadlifts, ect.  Don't worry we are just kidding. (I think!)  One thing I've always remembered though is a trainer by the name of Marv Marinovich talking about doing very gentle mobility work on the hamstrings.  Marv has some crazy ideas, but I think some have merit.  Why not pursue a few things that produce no harm?

Dealing with a premi, I started reading and looking into some things and came across this study.  Massage Accelerates Brain Development and Visual Acuity.    You can read the whole study there.

In it they looked at premi babies born between 30-35 weeks of gestation.  They had no other health problems.  3 sessions were done per day.  Each was around 10 min.  First was tactile stimulation, baby laid prone and light stroking was done with the pads of the fingers.  Head, back, buttocks, legs, calfs were done.  2nd was kinesthetic.  Baby was laid supine and flexion/extension was done with the arms and legs in sequence.

The results showed an increase in IGF-1 hormone.  This had direct effect on improvement of visual acuity.  EEG activity of brain function improved.  This was measured by the time from discontinuous to continuous activity.  Cortisol levels also showed a decrease.  Pretty impressive.

Results showed improvement at 3 months of age and started to level off at 7 months between those that received massage and control babies.  At 3 months of age this was 2 months after the massage sessions ended.

 One wonders what could happen if massage had continued, not only with premi's but with babies born on time.  As anyone that has a baby in NICCU knows, you spend a ton of time just sitting there.  This at least shows some promise of something concrete you can do with your baby as you sit there.  At best, you will help brain and vision development and at worse nothing but the development of a stronger bond.  Sounds like a win, win to me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random Thoughts from Train Out Pain

A recent realization in the past few weeks is that endurance athletes that train for some power, have a higher resiliency to injury.  Instead of just putting in miles on the road, time in the saddle, strokes in the pool, add in some box jumps, double under jump roping, speed bounds or something that requires maximum effort done quickly.

Wave loading is an awesome method to break through plateaus.  I still remember learning about them from Istvan Javorek for the first time.  Javorek is famous for barbell and dumbell complexes.  (Another great training method).  I did my first wave at 21.  I usually end up doing 6-8 weeks of wave loading 2x a year.  A typical wave might look like this, warm up, 3rep, 8rep, 2rep, 6rep, 1rep, 3rep.  Another Wave workout may go like this.  6rep, 4rep, 2rep, and then go up in weight to do another wave same workout, of 6,4,2 reps respectively.  Give it a try if you've never ridden the wave before.

This is more of a paradigm shift in thinking, but I will leave you with this thought.  I don't know who to give credit to for it.  "Food is an Investment."    What are you investing in?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Post Concussion Nutrition

I've recently taken an interest in trying to read everything I can find in terms of nutrition that is brain based and that lead me down the road into looking into potential nutritional therapies for post concussion rehabilitation.

The definition of concussion has changed.  Old timers, would say you weren't concussed unless you were knocked out.  With that definition,  I myself have experienced one concussion.  Playing rugby at chiropractic school I got knocked out.  I don't remember waking up that morning and getting ready to play or actually playing.  My first memory is eating pizza two hours after the match.

The new definition by some standards is taking a hit where you see stars, get temporarily woozy or have a vision disturbance.  Playing football from ages 12-22, with this definition, I've had who knows how many.  I remember taking a hit in 8th grade where the top half of my vision went black for two-three minutes.

My roommate in chiropractic school was involved in what is called a double concussion.  Getting a concussion while under the effects of a first concussion.  This is highly deadly and lead to his retirement from the sport of rugby.

 Just as a muscle can have different grades of strain, I think we will find a way to grade concussions, from mild to severe.

Coming out of concussion, many athletes describe it as being in a brain fog.  Thinking clearly is harder, reading can be difficult.  Short term memory and working through complex tasks seem fatiguing.  Sounds a little like a symptoms of dementia.  That lead me into reading about nutrition for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS.

First, there are no hard guidelines.  There still is not a lot evidence for nutritional therapy for concussion There are however a lot of clues on what we know about the brain and what research is doing with brain degenerative type diseases.  The following list shows promise and if for some reason I ever experience a concussion again, I will increase my intake of the following supplements.

Coconut Oil. This is a promising supplement to add into daily supplementation.  There are some pretty interesting videos on YouTube showing how this is helping people battle Alzheimer's.  Outside of breast milk, coconut oil has the highest concentrations of MCT (medium chain triglycerides)  these fats are processed by the liver and don't need bile from the gall bladder.  Instant energy.

Fish Oil.  Fish oil has what is called DHA/EPA in it.  This is the good stuff.  Our bodies don't produce this, so this is a required supplement.  Dr Barry Sears, inventor of the Zone Diet, has recommended up to 15 grams following brain trauma.

Creatine Monohydrate.  Creatine is no longer just for putting on a little extra mass.  Funny thing happened on the way from the weight room to the research lab, creatine is brain food!  It may give the brain instant shot of energy to help the cells heal correctly.

Choline.  Add in pasture raised egg yolks.  Choline plays an important role in neurotransmitter function.  It also seems to be an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Curcumin or Turmeric.  This is a super powerful anti-inflammatory.  Bring that inflammation down.

Blueberries.  A power antioxidant.  Superfruit.  Eat them by the cupful.

Melatonin.  A natural sleep aid.  Initially, sleeping may be all you want to do.  It may then get hard.  Regardless, quality sleep is important.  Melatonin is now starting to be recognized as a powerful antioxidant.  This is a bit of a reach right now, but I think in the next few years, it may show to be very interesting player.

Zinc/Magnesium.  I like this as a combo.  This seems to be an agreed upon supplement for concussion.  25mg/400mg respectively.

Water.  You should already be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces, but if you are not, start.

Walk.  Slowly start to get the aerobic system involved.  You don't want to bring on any symptoms from the concussion, but even getting the heart rate elevated slightly will help.

Limit calories.  Limit saturated fat.  Avoid at all costs, MSG and Aspartame.  This is my best effort into putting together a small cookbook for post concussion nutrition.  If you have any more information to add or research you know of, please contact me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review February 2012: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food

I finished reading  the book, "Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food," by Catherine Shanahan MD.  I found it to be a very interesting read and took away a few things to look into further.  

If I were to do a synopsis it would be, what you eat affects not only you, but potentially the physical condition of your kids and grand kids.  Pretty heady stuff if true.  Mostly because I'm not sure how well my parents or grand parent ate!  Also, I never really thought of my health habits having an impact on my future grand kids!

It basically challenges you to take control of your health through food selection for you and  your offspring.  It talks about how what you put into your body can alter gene expression.  Epigenetics essentially.  Very cool stuff.  The author goes on to examine traditional foods from all the ancient cultures from Masai to Japan and many other cultures in-between.  

She came up with what she calls the 4 Pillars of World Cuisine:

1.  Eat meat on the bone.  She then has 4 rules that talk about the type and cooking methods.
2.  Eat Organ meat and Offal.  Offal basically means everything.  Don't waste any parts.  
3.  Eat Fermented and Sprouted foods.  Explains about probiotics and cell vitamins.
4.  Eat Fresh.  Fresh vegetables, fresh milk, fresh meat.  

Avoid these two ingredients.  
1.  Vegetable oil
2.  Sugar

There is a great chapter devoted to good fats and bad fats and why Cholesterol is not evil.  Debunks many of the original Keyes research that "showed"  cholesterol is bad.  I've talked about that on a previous blog post.

There is an interesting chapter on what is called the Marquardt's Mask.  Often used by plastic surgeons to show what "perfect" facial features look like when using dynamic symmetry.   They have shown through research what baby's gaze at longer.  Regardless of race, our definition of beautiful faces often fit into this mask.   

While there are several recipes included, like how to make your own bone broth for ligament health.  I found the examples of a menu to be rather weak.  For example, a sample breakfast menu was Crepes with vanilla-extract flavored whipped cream and chopped fresh fruit.  Not sure why that is suggested or why that's considered traditional or health!

Overall, this was a fun, interesting read.  Although I listed the main points, there are some really interesting facts and research thrown in here that will keep you reading and hold your attention.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bobsled Power: 62'' Inch Standing Box Jump

An example of some of the power needed to push a bobsled. This is Steve Langton, current world push champion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rakowski Seminar Recap: Nutrition and Kinesiology

This past weekend had the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis, MN to learn some awesome information.  It was taught by Dr. Bob Rakowski.  Dr. Rakowski is a pretty amazing practitioner.  His patients consist of everything from Olympians and Professional Athletes to the opposite spectrum, cancer patients.  Some patients come to him as a last resort, including pancreatic cancer, Parkinson's and other cancers.

It would be pretty hard to list everything I learned, but I will try to give some highlights that I found very interesting.

Everything that has unexplained ear, eyes, nose and throat can potentially be coming from a cranial nerve.

The importance of eating organic food.  This video below will help drive the point home.  Our soil is depleted, no longer has the ability to impart all of life's nutrients to it.  30 some minerals in soil.  We put back just 3.

We have had Genetically Modified Food in our country for years.  It was banned in 6 months in Europe after it showed it caused severe health problems in rats.  The most GMO is corn.  The average American eats 52lb of corn in their diet per year.  (see the documentary King Corn)  Corn is like in everything!

Fastest growing specialty in America is Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery.  Simply put, our kids are falling apart.  Poor diet passed on to the next generations.  (see summary of Deep Nutrition and google Pottenger Cat Study)

The number one quality that elite athletes posses when asked in a survey was....drum roll.    FOCUS
Focus means the brain is functioning optimally.

Food in this country is designed to be addictive.  When dealing with problematic issues, things that won't resolve, whatever it is, wipe the slate clean.  Detox for a week.  He has specific protocols for the week.
Support during this week is provided what is classified by medical foods.  The FDA gives a food that label if it meets 4 requirements.
1.  Whats on the label is on the label and nothing else or more.
2.  Guaranteed Purity.
3.  Proven effective in Human Trials.
4.  Every nutrient in the food is recognized as safe.

Cancer has been shown to eat sugar.  Hence, the PET scan.  Cancer's perfect storm, is low Oxygen, low nutrients and high acidic environment.

Cool trick that I want to try.  Walk 15 feet in shoes.  Test ROM.  Walk 15 feet in sand.  Test ROM.  See the difference?

Bodies respond to Frequency, Intensity, Duration, Quality and Timing.  (found this to be simple, but profound)

The joints are the most important relayer of information to the brain.

Ikegai=Purpose for waking up in the morning.  This is vitally important for long life.

You don't poison the body to good health.

Waist should not exceed 1/2 your height in inches when measured.  If it does, you are looking for health problems.

Toxins inhibit Mitochondrial function.  See Terry Wahls awesome video to give you an idea about feeding the mitochondria and beating MS.

Sprinters, when you are alkaline you don't slow down from 60-100 meters.  Test your sprinters blood pressure on the table and as they get off the table.  If it doesn't raise, they will be slow out of the blocks.

Better breast milk for your future kids has the recipe of organic foods and lots of cruciferous vegetables.

Rhubarb is a great antagonist for estrogen.  Guys we should be eating this stuff.

Obesity shrinks the brain, trans fats shrink the brain, nutrients preserve the brain.

Need Protein while you detox.  This is important and is often overlooked.

All in all, this was a great seminar.  This was predominately just the nutrition we discussed and not the muscle testing and function part.  Can't wait to try to get back for another.