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  • Too Much Exercise Could Be a Pain in the Gut

    Friday, February 15, 2019
    New Science
    Too Much Exercise Could Be a Pain in the Gut
    ×

    While super-short workouts are making headlines for their fitness merits, super-long workouts are catching some flack. According to a systematic review in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, long, intense workouts may increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues. The review looked at data from controlled studies, which included both healthy people and people with gastrointestinal conditions, investigating the effects of strenuous exercise on markers of gastrointestinal injury, intestinal hyperpermeability (also known as leaky gut), endotoxemia (toxins from gut bacteria in the blood), abnormal motility, and malabsorption. Based on their review, the researchers concluded:

    • In healthy people, regardless of their fitness level, markers of intestinal injury, leaky gut, and endotoxemia were significantly increased after high-intensity exercise (usually running) lasting two hours or more. In addition, malabsorption and motility disturbances were more likely after long, vigorous workouts.
    • Symptoms of digestive distress, related to both the upper and lower gut, frequently occurred with long and strenuous exercise.
    • Hot weather and dehydration were additional stressors that appeared to exacerbate the risk of exercise-induced gastrointestinal disturbances.
    • People with gastrointestinal conditions generally experienced health benefits from moderate exercise, but the risks of strenuous exercise in this population are still unknown.

    Although the long-term consequences of prolonged strenuous workouts are not known, according to this study, people who love a long run may want to keep it under two hours to avoid digestive disturbances. But, if you’re a marathon runner or a triathlete, this might not be an option for you. If that’s the case, here are some tips to keep your gut happy while you’re going the distance:

    • Stay hydrated. Certain evidence shows that dehydration could impair gastric emptying and increase gastrointestinal issues, including nausea.
    • Carb load during your run. Eating high-carb snacks during a prolonged exercise routine may help support several aspects of healthy gut function.
    • Prepare for your run with a snack. One study found that eating a high-carb snack during training sessions reduced gut discomfort, nausea, and upper-gastrointestinal symptoms during a follow-up three-hour run.

    Source: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics

  • Weight Training May Yield More Weight Loss Than Cardio

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019
    New Science
    Weight Training May Yield More Weight Loss Than Cardio
    ×

    There are only so many minutes in the day to exercise, which probably has you wondering which type will give you the most bang for your buck. If your goal is weight loss, resistance training may be your best bet according to a study published in Obesity. The study included 249 adults, ages 62 to 71, who were overweight or obese. For the 18-month study, researchers put all the participants on a restricted-calorie weight loss dietary program and divided them into three groups: an aerobic training group that walked four days a week, progressing to a goal of 45 minutes of moderately vigorous walking per session; a resistance training group that completed three sets of 10 to 12 reps on eight strength-building machines four days a week, progressing to a goal of 45 minutes of high-intensity resistance training per session; and, a diet-only group that didn’t participate in an exercise program. At the beginning, middle, and end of the study, researchers measured the participants’ fitness, strength, and body composition, and found:

    • The aerobic and resistance training groups lost approximately 15 and 17 pounds, respectively, which was significantly more than the diet-only group, which lost roughly 11 pounds.
    • The aerobic training group lost approximately 4 pounds of muscle mass, which was significantly more that the resistance training and diet-only groups, which lost about 2 pounds of muscle each.
    • While loss of fat mass was associated with improvement in fitness, loss of muscle mass was correlated with reduction in strength.

    So, what’s the verdict? Resistance training may help aging adults achieve the same weight loss as aerobic training, with the additional benefit of maintaining muscle mass and strength. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults do both resistance and aerobic training; specifically, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, as well as two or more sessions of resistance training per week.

    Source: Obesity

  • Don’t Let Lactose Intolerance Diminish Your Vitamin D Levels

    Friday, February 08, 2019
    New Science
    Don’t Let Lactose Intolerance Diminish Your Vitamin D Levels
    ×

    If you’re lactose intolerant, you probably know to avoid milk or pay the price with cramps, gas, or diarrhea. What you may be unaware of, however, is that avoiding milk and dairy products might put you at risk of low vitamin D levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. For the study, researchers took blood samples from 1,495 men and women, ages 20 to 29, who participated in the Toronto Nutrigenomics and Health Study. Using genetic testing, they identified participants with variants of a gene, known as the LCT gene, associated with lactose intolerance. They also assessed participants’ vitamin D status by measuring blood 25(OH)D levels, and checked dairy intake via food frequency questionnaires. They found that:

    • Participants with the lactose intolerance-associated LCT gene variants consumed less total dairy and less skim milk than those without these LCT gene variants.
    • The risk of having sub-optimal blood vitamin D levels was between 50 and 200% higher in participants with these LCT gene variants than in those without these LCT gene variants.

    While these findings don’t directly connect low dairy intake with low vitamin D, they do suggest that people with a low intake of dairy foods may need to find other ways to maintain a healthy vitamin D status. It is important to note that ethnic groups with the highest prevalence of lactose intolerance—people of African, Asian, and South, Central, and North American Native descent—also have darker skin pigmentation, which can be a major factor in low vitamin D status. Until we know more about the relationship between dairy intake and vitamin D status, people who are lactose intolerant may benefit from eating non-dairy sources of vitamin D such as salmon and canned tuna, cod liver oil, and vitamin D-fortified foods such as cereal and orange juice. A vitamin D supplement may also be a wise choice, but talk with your healthcare practitioner before adding any new supplements to your regimen.

    Source: Journal of Nutrition

  • Supplement May Protect Against Postpartum Blues

    Friday, February 01, 2019
    New Science
    Supplement May Protect Against Postpartum Blues
    ×

    While having a baby is expected to be a happy time, most women experience a short period of sadness after delivery called postpartum blues. Sometimes a precursor to postpartum depression, postpartum blues usually peak on the fifth day postpartum, coinciding with a temporary rise in monoamine oxidase A, an enzyme that breaks down mood-related neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and serotonin. According to a study published in PNAS, an amino acid supplement with blueberry extract may help compensate for this rise in neurotransmitter breakdown, reducing the risk of postpartum blues. For the study, researchers divided 41 new mothers into two groups: the first group received a supplement containing 2 grams of tryptophan, 10 grams of tyrosine, and blueberry juice with blueberry extract on postpartum days three, four, and five; the second group didn’t receive the supplement. Following treatment, researchers evaluated the women for depression. They found that the women taking the supplement reported no change in their mood, while the women not taking the supplement reported a significant increase in depressed mood symptoms.

    These results suggest that there may be a natural way to mitigate postpartum blues using supplements that support healthy neurotransmitter balance: while blueberry extract reduces oxidative stress that can damage the nervous system, tryptophan is the amino acid used in the body to make serotonin, and tyrosine is the amino acid used to make dopamine and epinephrine. These preliminary findings are promising, but more studies are needed to confirm the benefits and safety of this nutrient combination and to determine whether it can help prevent postpartum depression, the most common health complication after childbirth.

    Source: PNAS

  • Ideas to Help You Get the Sleep You Need

    Wednesday, January 30, 2019
    New Science
    Ideas to Help You Get the Sleep You Need
    ×

    Do you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night? If not, you are in good company: researchers say that more than 35% of us get less than seven hours of sleep per night and that almost 30% of us get six or less hours of sleep per night on a regular basis. But, just because lots of people are falling short on sleep doesn’t mean you shouldn't get adequate sleep.

    Sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on daily functioning and on long-term health. Sleep deprivation or interruption interferes with our normal metabolic rhythms and, over time, can cause lasting metabolic disturbances that can lead to weight gain, among other things. Chronic lack of sleep is also associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Even one sleepless night can have serious consequences, leaving us less able to learn, remember, and think clearly the next day. This can lead to poor functioning at work, or worse, to an increased risk of injuries and accidents. These effects are compounded if poor sleep continues.

    But, if you’re having trouble sleeping, don't fret. Consider the following things that might improve your slumber:

    • Sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is a set of behaviors designed to help us develop habits that promote good sleep. Some of these behaviors include going to bed at the same time each night, rising at the same time each morning, and avoiding large meals before bedtime.
    • Sleep apnea. Get tested for sleep apnea. Numerous studies have shown that the consequences of sleep apnea are not just poor sleep quality, they can also include grogginess when you're awake, an inability to concentrate, depression, and accidents.

    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.