7 Pillars of Health: Improving Health in The modern environment

7 Pillars of Health: Improving Health in The modern environment

The default in nature is health, so why are we fat, sick and broken? It is because our environment has change, our bodies have not. We share 99.7% of the same genetics as our relatively disease free hunter-gatherer ancestors yet eat worse, move less, sleep worse, encounter more stress and toxins, and wonder what the cause is of chronic disease. It's really not that hard! Take control of your health with the 7 Pillars of Health.

4 Reasons Why You Need Quality Sleep

1. Want leaner legs? - Phase 1 & Phase 2 detoxification happen during sleep, if your sleep is poor you will have higher body fat on the lower body. Also, it will be more difficult to lower stored body fat on Thighs, Hamstrings, Knee, Calves

2. Sleep deprivation can increase inflammation, which will lead to a reduction in insulin sensitivity. Which will lead to a increase in body fat over time due to insulin resistance.

3. Sleeping just one less hour can lead to a increase of hunger as much as 45% according to one study on sleep & nutrition habits.

4. Sleep is a opportunity for the body to repair itself. Most restorative functions of the body happen overnight, so poor sleep will comprise your ability to recover from your training sessions.

12 Clinical Pearls from Dr. Rakowski

1. People who thrive are the ones that make and metabolize acids correctly. Acid can be your friend if you manage it properly.

2. Here is a pearl from Dr. Rakowski, he showed a scientific paper on B12 absorption and brain aging. If you don't absorb B12, your brain ages 617% faster! As I have stated before, the greatest impact of not testing your HCl levels is compromising your brain health.

3. Growth hormone is a significant anti-depressant. Deep sleep is the real way to achieve optimal growth hormone levels.

4. The major benefit of using Arginine is boosting growth hormone during effort, besides boosting NO2.

5. Only fat people make too much estrogen.

6. People who have elevated triglycerides have low levels of growth hormone.

7. The body ignores constant stimuli. Changing everything constantly is one of the keys to success whether we are talking about training, diet, or supplements.

8. Brain derived neurotrophic factor is a strong anti-depressant produced by exercise that induces lactic acid production.

9. Learning improves 20% after exercise. Why are we canning Physical Education classes?

9. Charlie Chaplin fathered a child when he was 80. Sexual dysfunction is rampant because people are simply unhealthy.

10. Low-grade systemic inflammation (metaflammation) is associated with obesity, insulin resistance and chronic disease (Brithish Journal of Nutrition (2009)  102, 1238-1242

11. Friends do not let friends get fat.

12. Sleep is your most powerful anti-inflammatory agent

The Promise of (Omega-3) DHA

From heart disease to joint pain, the conditions shown to benefit from increased omega-3 fatty acid intake are diverse. The cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s are well established in scientific literature. The heavy skewing of polyunsaturated fats toward omega-6 in relation to omega-3 in the modern Western diet is a contributing factor that exacerbates many chronic conditions regularly seen in clinical practice. With docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) serving as a structural component of cell membranes—particularly in the brain—and also recognized as a precursor to inflammation-resolving molecules, sufficient intake of DHA via marine foods or supplements can have far-ranging effects. Obvious and well-documented benefits from DHA are conditions involving inflammation, chronic pain, and ocular health. However, recent research is bringing to light new potential for this fatty acid.

A promising study in rats demonstrated that DHA may minimize neuronal damage due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Researchers gave test animals DHA doses equivalent to 3, 12, and 40mg/kg for 30 days before inducing TBI. They observed that DHA at the highest dose resulted in positive changes to all markers of axonal and cellular injury studied. Lower doses had more selective effects on individual markers, but were still beneficial. The same researchers had also shown that omega-3 supplements can be helpful for repair following a TBI, but the former study is one of the first to suggest that DHA might actually have prophylactic effects when serum levels are replete prior to injury. Considering how devastating the physical, emotional, and financial effects of TBI can be for the military’s ‘wounded warriors’ and their families, researchers have suggested the Department of Defense prioritize research into regular supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids to establish a protective baseline for those at greatest risk for TBI. The same beneficial effects could also be expected to carry over to others at risk for head injuries, such as young athletes engaged in contact sports.

Another expanding role for DHA is in sleep quality. In a study from Oxford University, children ages 7-9 who were given a 600mg DHA supplement (from algae) for 16 weeks slept close to one hour longer than children taking a placebo. They also had fewer episodes of waking during the night, which could positively impact learning and academic performance. The authors suggest this could be because omega-3 status—especially DHA—seems to influence melatonin production and pineal gland function.   

DHA repletion has also been shown to benefit learning and behavior in children. This makes sense, given DHA’s key role in the physical structure of the brain, but in light of the newer research, perhaps it’s also the result of improved sleep quality. Although the study subjects were children, most adults are only too aware that insufficient sleep makes it difficult to focus and retain new information.  Children given 600mg DHA/day showed improvement in reading ability as measured on standardized tests, and improvement in behavior (attention, impulsivity, opposition, hyperactivity) as rated by parents.

Alcohol & Weight Loss

Alcohol & Weight Loss | After Your First Two Drinks

After your first drink, your body starts to get rid of the alcohol quickly using the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) pathway.1 In this pathway, ADH converts the alcohol into acetaldehyde, which gets further broken down to acetate. These by-products (acetaldehyde and acetate) are considered to be highly reactive and can increase oxidation throughout the body, but especially in the liver.

Because your body sees these by-products as dangerous, it wants to use them as fuel.This means your body will significantly blunt fat-burning close to 75% after just one and a half drinks.2 And it will stop using carbs for energy. Therefore, although very little alcohol will be stored as fat (less than 5%), the fat and carbs you are eating have an increased risk of being stored as fat.

Your liver can process these toxins through the increased use of certain vitamins, such as the water soluble vitamins B1, B3, B6, folate and C, while also possibly depleting some of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, E and K1. Over-time these decreases in vitamins can play a secondary role in loss of motivation, energy, and well-being.

After your first couple of drinks, your brain also starts to increase its usage of GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and is a large reason why alcohol is known as a “depressant.” Over time, the GABA receptors get used to the effects of alcohol, which is a reason why people may need more and more alcohol to feel the effects from alcohol consumption.3 GABA is also the neurotransmitter, principally responsible for allowing you to stay asleep. Therefore when your brain uses more of it before you go to sleep, you have less while you’re actually sleeping, causing a disruption in restful sleep.

Alcohol also affects the higher processing areas of the brain, the cerebral cortex, while leaving the lower areas of the brain somewhat unaffected. This leaves you more emotional than you would normally be. If you’ve ever experienced “drunk logic” while doing or saying things you would never think to do sober, then you’ve experienced the inhibitory effects of having your cerebral cortex taken out of the equation.

While your body has started to use the alcohol as energy, your body releases anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) to help your body rid itself of the alcohol. This basically means that your urine volume increases significantly (about 100 ml per 10 grams of alcohol).4 If you’ve ever “broken the seal,” you know that the more you continue to drink, the more frequently you use the restroom.

Since your kidneys are working over-time, your body releases an increase in certain minerals and electrolytes especially calcium, magnesium, copper, selenium and manganese. All of these play important roles not only in blood volume, but in bone health, blood pressure and the anti-oxidant pathways.

In addition to everything above, a small increase in cortisol typically occurs with moderate drinking while testosterone levels will drop about 6.8% in men (not so much in women).5 Aromatase will also increase. Aromatase is an enzyme that helps to convert testosterone to estrogen and is obviously not something that is welcomed by many guys.

Alcohol & Weight Loss | After Six to Eight Plus Drinks

If you’re drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, those things listed above are the main effects, at least short-term. If you drink heavily and drink often, another system called the Microsomal Ethanol-Oxidizing System (MEOS) system kicks in at the point when the ADH pathway becomes overwhelmed.

This system is interesting because it causes your body to generally burn off more energy as useless heat and probably saves your life from too high of a blood alcohol level. It is primarily controlled by a special enzyme that plays an important role in utilizing certain medications and the metabolism of fatty acids. This increased rate of medication breakdown can decrease their effectiveness, while the incomplete breakdown of fatty acids can cause an increase in oxidation. This increase in oxidation becomes exacerbated as the body’s main anti-oxidant (glutathione) is also impaired, decreasing your ability to fight the oxidation.

As your drinking levels continue to increase, testosterone levels drop from 6.8% with 4 drinks to 23% with 8 drinks.6 This drop, combined with a slowdown in protein synthesis, can cause havoc when trying to recover from a workout.

In addition to that, fluid loss will generally become more significant, causing dehydration that might affect you for days afterwards. Finally, with heavy drinking, the breakdown of alcohol can occur for up to 48 hours after your last drink. This means less glucose is reaching your brain and working muscles, making you both more tired and quicker to fatigue if you do exercise.

If You’re Going to Drink Alcohol, Drink in Moderation and Not Too Often

You would think after listing all that happens in your body after consuming alcohol, the no-brainer suggestion would be to not drink. What is missing though are some of the benefits from consuming moderate amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol is shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which basically means that your body needs less insulin to do its job. In addition to that, research has shown that women who drink a moderate amount will have the same or slightly lower BMI, as those who don’t drink.7 The same effect is not seen in men. Those who moderately drink are also at less risk of dying from heart disease and cancer while decreasing one’s risk of Alzheimer’s8and even slightly improving your immune system.9

In other words, complete abstinence may not be needed while trying to lose fat as long as it’s done in moderation and not very often (think one time per week). If you don’t drink, obviously don’t start, but if you want to have a couple of drinks on the weekend, there is nothing necessarily wrong with having one or two. In future articles, I will list some of the best and worst drinks to have when going out and 5 strategies you can implement to decrease the deleterious effects of having a night of heavy drinking.

Alcohol & Weight Loss | Wrapping It Up

In any fat loss plan, there are three main components that should be priority: Diet, Exercise, and Sleep.

As stated throughout the article, a moderate amount of alcohol can increase total calories, decrease your motivation for exercise, and negatively affect your sleep. Despite this, many people can enjoy a drink or two, without throwing those three components completely out of whack.

On the other hand, drinking heavily can significantly derail energy levels, has a larger influence on dehydration, negatively impacts hormonal levels, and can significantly disrupt your sleep. Therefore, limit your overall levels of alcohol and put yourself in the best position to reap some of the benefits of alcohol consumption, while not derailing your overall progress.