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Athletes Understand Health - and Sleep!

Is your doctor fit? Your doc doesn't have to be a professional cyclist. However, those who focus on their own health have a better understanding of optimal health.




Colleagues of mine started a clinic in Tennessee. They decided not to use my program and opted for some very expensive interventions, including Scalar and others. IMHO, this is great marketing but does a disservice to "alternative" health. Surely, we do not have a "scalar deficiency," an "intense laser deficiency," or a "quantum deficiency."


Steve, a brilliant health student, attended an EEC treatment overnight and reported on his experience. What he told our group is that there was one person who snored VERY LOUDLY all night long, and no one slept much. He stated that everyone felt like crap the next morning.


CONCLUSION: A good night's sleep has a much greater impact on health than the EEC scalar "treatment." I still haven't figured out how a series of TV screens can create specific scalar energy, such as one for cancer, another for inflammation, another for sleep, etc.


There is an expression—"trust but verify." In the case of some of these expensive interventions that require long-term treatment, my approach is.


Distrust until verified!


The sickest and most desperate in our population are most vulnerable to trying new interventions that have strong marketing engines. How do they gain such large budgets? Billionaires want to live forever and are willing to toss some $$ toward unproven interventions.


I hope these methods are not associated with terms like "functional" or "integrative" medicine—at least not until bona fide studies are performed on these "technologies."


A statement that drives my verification process is as follows.


"One of the most important things to understand when you are using some intervention is if you have a biomarker (or multiple markers (preferred)) to know if the intervention is working.


 

Back to sleep.


Too many people have sleep issues, often tied to stress and inflammation. There is no easy solution for sleep. My #1 recommendation is to consult with Dr. Michele Gamble (found on our home page.) The first step in a good night's sleep is to ensure you are NOT in "fight or flight" mode.


Physiological factors, along with stress, impact sleep even more. Here are our basic suggestions to get better sleep. This is what we automatically generate from our new practice management system.


Sleep is mainly a time for your brain and eyes to recover and repair from their day-long efforts. Is your bicep exhausted just before bed? Probably not. But if you were doing arm curls all day long, it certainly would be.


Your brain is tired since it has been active all day long. Our brains are energy hogs. 25% of the blood leaving our heart pumps through our brain, yet our brains are small compared to the rest of our body - being only about 2.5% of our mass. Thus, the brain sees 10 times the blood flow.


During sleep, the brain progresses through alternating cycles of light and deep sleep – or sleep stages. These alternating sleep stages allow the brain to heal and restore itself. Sleep problems can cause issues with memory, thinking, mood (depression, anxiety), and chronic fatigue/chronic pain. During sleep, the brain can repair and grow cells, tissue, and nerves that regenerate and boost the hormones and immune system. Along with good nutrition and stress reduction, restorative sleep is vital for optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.


The best supplements for good sleep are:

• Probiotics and prebiotics: The gut's "enteric nervous system" produces "happy" hormones and neurotransmitters. Optimal gut health ensures micronutrient availability for your energetic brain.


• Cod liver oil: Fish oils and fat-soluble nutrients found in cod liver oil are key brain and eye repair components. They are also anti-inflammatory.


• Melatonin: Melatonin is very effective in helping induce and maintain sleep in children and adults. It is most apparent in improving sleep when melatonin levels are low. Melatonin supplementation is most helpful in improving sleep quality in people 40 and older, as it is more common to find low melatonin levels in this age group. Since your body produces melatonin, avoid taking it daily. Take it occasionally instead, and keep a journal to determine if it is effective for you.


• The amino acid glycine, taken before bedtime, helps the body reach deep sleep more quickly. It also helps raise the surface temperature of the feet and reduce the core body's temperature. People wake up feeling refreshed, without the drowsiness some sleep remedies can cause. Glycine is produced naturally and in many healthy foods, including fish, meat, and beans.


• GLYCINE EVIDENCE & DOSE: Abstract In human volunteers who have been continuously experiencing unsatisfactory sleep, effects of glycine ingestion (3 g) before bedtime on subjective sleep quality were investigated, and changes in polysomnography (PSG) during sleep were analyzed. Effects on daytime sleepiness and daytime cognitive function were also evaluated. Glycine improved subjective sleep quality and sleep efficacy (sleep time/in-bed time) and shortened PSG latency to sleep onset and slow wave sleep without changes in the sleep architecture. Glycine lessened daytime sleepiness and improved the performance of memory recognition tasks. Thus, bolus ingestion of glycine before bedtime produces subjective and objective sleep quality improvement differently than traditional hypnotic drugs such as benzodiazepines.

ARTICLE TITLE: Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes

• Dr. Michael Murray, N.D. has some additional suggestions at this site:


Other treatments that may help with sleep are:

Oxytocin: Be aware that research shows that oxytocin may not provide the sleep benefits that many functional practitioners promote.



Minocycline: "In combination with previous results, our findings indicate that, in humans, reducing pro-inflammatory signaling can act towards deepening non-rapid eye movement sleep and enhancing its memory-forming efficacy."



 

Here is a previous blog on carbohydrates.


After reading a Dr. Mercola article, many people come to me and indicate they are a bit confused. They say some things I say conflict with Dr. Mercola. Let me explain.


Let's dissect a recent article, "You Need Carbs to Build Muscle."


Maybe a better title would be, "You should not EXCLUDE carbs if you want to build muscle... unless."


Joe has millions of followers, so it is impossible for him to produce content that applies to everyone. My biggest complaint that extends way beyond his is that no one gives context to the priority of a recommendation. That is why we developed "the hierarchy of health," which helps people differentiate between useful, important, and critical.


I wish Dr. Mercola would establish a 0-10 hierarchy scale for all his content. Even this would be subjective and personal, but it would be an improvement over just casting a wide net.



If you read this article on cooking your food, it is clear that, before cooking, we shared a similar diet with the primates, including fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Cooking allowed us to consume meats, including fish and animals that are high in proteins, fats, and micronutrients, if we consume organ meats, as our ancestors did. Thus, we adapted to process the 3 major macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Yes, plants contain all 3, but our brains grew because of the higher intake of fats and proteins from an animal and fish diet.


"One size fits all" is not appropriate, especially in modern society, where our food supply is "corporate," stripped of micronutrients and fiber. Low fiber intake has had dire consequences on digestion. A raw (uncooked) diet is very disadvantageous today because of gut dysbiosis. Dr. Carter and I attended a conference many years ago, which included a dinner at an Andrew Weil restaurant. The food was excellent but mostly raw. I estimate that 80% of Americans would not enjoy the benefits of that fabulous meal because of even the most minor gut issues.


Many people have reported to me that they do not do well with raw vegetables. A subset of this group reports that they can see undigested vegetables in their stool. Fortunately, putting these folks on probiotics and digestive support often improves their digestion, and their stools become normal.


Carbohydrate intake is very personalized, with the key determinant being their insulin resistance/fasting insulin status. This video discusses this variable.



The key determinants on the need for higher or lower levels are carbs include insulin status and physical activity. One size does NOT fit all. However, many pundits state that humans do NOT need any carbs. They are not essential. This is a ridiculous statement, and the Mercola article corroborates my statement. The question becomes, what is an optimal intake?


We all want to achieve metabolic flexibility, which our ancestors had because they did not have guaranteed access to food daily. Thus, they efficiently used stored calories (fat metabolism/ketosis). In most cases, our carb intake - particularly low-value carbs (processed to reduce nutrient levels) is too high. Here are some measurements and their values that you can use to determine if your carb intake/exercise level is appropriate.


Fasting insulin: 1.5 - 3 mIU/L

Fasting glucose: 65 - 83 mg/dL

A1C: 4.5 - 5.3 %

Triglycerides: 50 - 70

Ketones (measured in the urine): moderate (15-40)

 

Here is the Mercola article. It may not be applicable to everyone and depends on your physiology.


(This link may sunset at some point.)


1. Carbs Provide the Body Energy to Build Bigger Muscles

Increasing muscle mass involves adding more contractile units (sarcomeres) to your muscle — increasing muscle length and cross-sectional area. The act of building that muscle tissue after the workout requires rest and food, as the act of building muscle is an energy-intensive process.14 Building muscle requires energy — our body does not run on thin air.


Eating protein is of course important (almost a no brainer!), as it provides the body the building blocks (amino acids) for the muscle tissue. But just eating protein is like delivering logs to build a log cabin, without any employees to assemble the cabin. Rebuilding something requires TOOLS and ENERGY (carbs).


2. Carbs Replenish Muscle Glycogen Levels

Glycogen is a storage form of carbs that is used for energy throughout the body, especially during your strength training sessions since fat is too slow of a fuel source for high power output. (So you use up a lot of these glycogen stores during your training session.)


A recent meta analysis discussed how a single strength workout will decrease muscle glycogen levels by 24% to 40%.15 And just 3 sets of 12 reps performed to muscular failure was shown to result in a 26.1% decrease in muscle glycogen levels.16 So one of the main reasons to consume carbs after your workout is to replenish these stores.


One study showed that muscle breakdown more than doubled in a glycogen-depleted vs. a glycogen-loaded state.17 This means your body is more likely to spend energy to rebuild that muscle tissue when your stores are full. Muscle is an “expensive” tissue to have — meaning it requires MORE fuel and MORE nutrients for “maintenance and upkeep.”


Why would a body that is already struggling with chronic stress and poor energy production spend valuable (and limited) energy resources on building muscle? That body is just focused on surviving — and building muscle would mean it would need more energy and tools that it is already low in.


Your body is intelligent — it's not going to “waste” energy on something it knows it can't support. That's like buying a new car but not being able to pay for monthly car payments. Full muscle glycogen stores are a signal of safety to your body — that there is enough energy, so it's okay to spend some of it building that muscle tissue back up and 'taking care of it' over the long run.


3. Carbs Lower Stress Hormones

Smart exercise is a good stress that yes, elevates cortisol levels. But we should try to lower that cortisol peak ASAP after the workout. Our muscles rebuild when we are in a rest and digest state, not in a state of fight or flight. Consuming carbs as part of your post workout meal significantly decreases cortisol and helps you recover faster.

One study showed that the inclusion of carbs to a post workout meal decreased cortisol levels by 11% (relative to the cortisol levels measured during the exercise session). The no carb group had a peak cortisol increase of 105%.18


Carbs help suppress the exercise-induced cortisol release, so that you can recover faster, keep your hormones balanced, and maintain strong thyroid health and a robust metabolism.


“But our body can make all the carbs it needs” — this is a very common counter argument we receive, largely from men. That we don't need to consume carbs since our body can make its own carbohydrates via a process called gluconeogenesis. We get it fellas, we used to be obsessed with this dogma, and ideology, too.


I will counter and say — well, technically our body can make all the fat it needs if we don't consume dietary fat. But is that optimal? No. Carb restriction and strength training doesn't make sense when you learn human physiology. Not consuming carbs may “work” — but at what cost? What processes and functions get down regulated to allow for this excessive gluconeogenesis?


Your body uses carbs during strength training, full stop. So either you eat some dietarily, or your body makes it. Relying on this pathway will down regulate metabolism and thyroid health over time — you will be simply surviving, not thriving. And being in a low metabolic state leads to more catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue) — not what we want!


After 1.5 years of taking this approach, we finally 'woke up' that we were driving ourselves into the ground. We were in denial at the time, but our lifting numbers and muscle mass went in the opposite direction.

 

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