October 17, 2016
DESCRIPTION: How to prevent and reverse hypertension, the #1 risk factor for death in the world.
October 17, 2016
DESCRIPTION: How to prevent and reverse hypertension, the #1 risk factor for death in the world.
July 21, 2016
We are constantly taking information in through our corporeal senses. Technology and social media are constantly streaming noise, beliefs, news and chatter into our hearts and minds. When we stop to meditate, all the noise dissipates. In this moment, we can now take a deep breath and listen.
In the stillness, in the quiet, everything changes. We are no longer dependent on information from our material world. When we stop, listen and breathe, we can begin to connect with ourselves on a much deeper level.
As we focus our attention inward, into imagination and visualization, relaxation ensues. The heart and the mind are put at ease. As breathing slows, as tension is released, blood pressure can normalize. In this state, our greatest fears and anxieties can be addressed.
In the January 2014 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers published a comprehensive review on the benefits of meditation. Not only is meditation observed and documented as a way to relieve anxiety, but it can also be used as a means to reduce pain and manage depression. These benefits are all possible because the sympathetic nervous system is engaged and regulated more effectively for important functions such as oxygen intake through deep breathing, a steadier heart rate and lowered blood pressure.
Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness, says the benefits of meditation extend beyond just the physical. “True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,” she says.
Many people, not recognizing it, have engaged in forms of meditation throughout their lives to cope with big decisions and life changes. Walking meditation or prayerful meditation are two common examples where one tunes out of the material world and focuses the mind, heart or breath. The benefits of meditation are even more powerful when practiced regularly as a discipline.
Concentration mediation teaches one how to direct and focus the mind to achieve desired results. Mindfulness meditation helps one address the negative thoughts that enter the mind so they can be dealt with in a healthy manner. Heart-centered mediation helps one bring awareness to the powerful energy center in the chest, helping one manage emotions and relationship difficulties. In Tai chi and qigong, mediation is combined with physical exercise to enhance breathing and focus. In transcendental meditation, one repeats a mantra, whether it’s a word, phrase or sound, to quiet thoughts and to achieve greater awareness of oneself and the connection to all living things.
Burke Lennihan says that the most powerful experience is when two or more people gather to meditate. When a teacher is present, a verbal guided visualization can be initiated to stimulate the meditative experience of individuals and the group as a whole. Giving feedback after a group meditation, whether to the group as a whole or to a friend, is a powerful experience as well, as illusions and judgments of one another are shattered.
Lennihan says meditation doesn’t have to be complex. It can as simple as doing deep breathing exercises. Meditation can be a launching pad to connect with oneself, filter out negativity, deprogram from social conditioning, or connect with others on a deeper level.
Lennihan says that it’s great to start with 10 minutes of quiet time each day, and to set aside a safe, quiet place. “You’ll build up a special feeling there, making it easier to get into a meditative state more quickly,” she says. Symbols, photos, candles, herbs, crystals, essential oils and articles of nature are often used to surround a meditation practice to make the experience more personal, centered and meaningful for the individual.
The practice of meditation is an important healing art that can be a useful vehicle for finding inner calm and inner strength in the most stressful situations in life. These self-control techniques can help one manage stress more effectively, slow the aging process and create more positive interactions with others.
May 4, 2016
Although it may sound like a bad infomercial, a study financed by the National Institutes of Health has shown that cutting added sugar in children’s diets can improve their overall health incredibly quickly.
The study observed 43 obese children and found that eliminating or reducing added sugar, even while keeping the same number of calories and savory junk foods in their diets, led to improving many obesity-related health issues in just ten days. The children who were selected were not only obese, but also suffered from a chronic metabolic disorder, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Despite no change in caloric intake and other fatty foods, the children lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol, and several even lost some weight. During the experiment, the children replaced sugary cereals and pastries with bagels, and sugary dishes like chicken teriyaki with hamburgers or turkey hot dogs.
They were still allowed as much fatty food as they desired during the experiment. Several of the children also had improved function in their liver and kidneys and several reported feeling “too full” during the experiment. Yet, 42 out of 43 of the participants said they found the new diet to be appetizing.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at Benioff’s Children’s Hospital at the University of California San Francisco said of the study:
“This paper says we can turn a child’s metabolic health around in 10 days without changing calories and without changing weight – just by taking the added sugars out of their diet. From a clinical standpoint, from a health care standpoint, that’s very important.”
December 28, 2015
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. More than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites have been detected on human proteins,1 and it’s required for more than 300 different enzymes in your body.
In short, magnesium plays an important role in a wide variety of biochemical processes, including the following:
|Creation of ATP2,3 (adenosine triphospate), the energy molecules of your body||Action of your heart muscle||Proper formation of bones and teeth|
|Relaxation of blood vessels||Regulation of blood sugar levels||Activating muscles and nerves|
|Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats||Serving as a cofactor for RNA and DNA||It’s also a catalyst for neurotransmitters like serotonin|
As is the case with vitamin D, if you don’t have enough magnesium, your body simply cannot function optimally, and insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of metabolic function that can snowball into more serious health problems.
For starters, magnesium is critical for the optimization of your mitochondria, which have enormous potential to influence your health, especially the prevention of cancer.
In fact, optimizing mitochondrial metabolism may be at the core of effective cancer treatment. But your mitochondrial function is also crucial for overall good health, energy, and athletic performance.
Optimizing Mitochondrial Function with Magnesium
Mitochondria are tiny organelles, originally thought to be derived from bacteria. Most cells have anywhere from 1 to 2,000 of them. Your organs need energy to function properly, and that energy is produced by the mitochondria in each cell.
Since mitochondrial function is at the very heart of everything that occurs in your body, optimizing mitochondrial function (and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction) by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need is extremely important for health and disease prevention.
As explained by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., in the video above, magnesium plays an important role. Patrick has done extensive research on the link between mitochondrial metabolism, apoptosis and cancer, and on the effects of hyperthermic conditioning on muscle growth.
High-intensity interval training helps optimize athletic performance by increasing your oxidative capacity, meaning the ability of your muscle cells to consume oxygen. Your oxidative capacity relies on your mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP by consuming that oxygen inside the cell.
As noted by Patrick, “You want your ATP production to exceed your ATP consumption, in order to enhance or maximize your performance and avoid muscle fatigue.”
You can increase your oxidative capacity in two ways:
Common Causes for Magnesium Deficiency
A century ago, we were getting an estimated 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium from the food we ate, courtesy of the nutrient-rich soil in which it was grown. Today, estimates suggest we’re only getting 150 to 300 mg a day from our food supply.
As noted by Patrick, eating a diet rich in calories and poor in micronutrients (read processed foods) is a primary risk factor for magnesium deficiency, for the simple reason that magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule.
Chlorophyll, as you may know, is what gives plants their green color. Most Americans eat far too few fruits and vegetables, which may explain why more than half of the American public is deficient in magnesium.
In addition to not getting sufficient amounts from your diet, magnesium is also lost through stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and prescription drug use (especially diuretics, statins, fluoride and fluoride-containing drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics).
Magnesium levels can also decline in the presence of certain hormones, such as estrogen. If you have elevated insulin levels — which an estimated 80 percent of Americans do — you’re quite likely to have low magnesium levels.4
Increasing your magnesium intake may actually go a long way toward improving your condition, or warding off insulin resistance and diabetes in the first place. In one study,5 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent.
A second study6 also found that higher magnesium intake reduces the risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes.
According to the authors, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.” The mechanism by which magnesium controls glucose and insulin homeostasis appears to involve two genes responsible for magnesium homeostasis.7
Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors. Last but not least, digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease and leaky gut impair your body’s ability to absorb magnesium, which is yet another cause of inadequate magnesium levels.
As noted by Dr. Dean, it’s quite possible that magnesium insufficiency is part of why health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure are so prevalent these days. It may also play a role in fibromyalgia,8 magnesium deficiency is a well-recognized factor in migraines.9