The Thyroid a Powerful Weight Regulating Gland

22 09 2018

Updated 22 September 2018

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck no bigger than a buckeye butterfly.  But this glands hormone also influences other hormone producing glands which have much to do with our weight and other important metabolic interactions and bodily functions.  Just because these glands are small, does not mean they are insignificant.

Walk More to Burn Additional Calories

It is seen through patient and animal research that hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) can cause many types of problems:  weight gain, depression, sluggishness, fatigue, bad mood, unhealthy appearance, impotence, water retention that adds to excess weight and cellulite, pear-shaped figure, infertility, PMS, hardening of the arteries, cystic breasts/ovaries (including breast/ovary cancer), irritability, bad complexion, puffiness under the chin, forgetfulness, irritability, apathy, dry skin, intolerance to cold, enlargement of the thyroid and unhealthy hair, nails and teeth.

If you have hypothyroidism to the degree where one quarter of the thyroid hormone thyroxin is produced, you may also suffer from chronic fatigue.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, hyperthyroidism causes an overactive thyroid gland condition that has the opposite effect on the body’s metabolism.  The “hyper” condition speeds up the metabolic process, causing underweight and hyperactive tendencies.

A more serious disorder from an underactive thyroid is a goiter (swelling in the neck area).  This occurs because the thyroids enlarge to compensate for lack of iodine in the diet.  However, a goiter can occur, even if you’re not iodine deficient.  This swelling or enlargement of the thyroid glands is also known as Graves Disease.  Regardless of whether you have a hypo/hyper thyroid condition, both conditions untreated can become a life threatening situation.

Before I get more into the meat of the matter let’s first understand what trace mineral stimulates the thyroids hormone “thyroxin” secretion.   A very important mineral is iodine.  There is also another one needed that works with iodine to manufacture the thyroxin hormone.  And that mineral is Tyrosine, an amino acid.  Luckily Tyrosine can be consumed through many types of high-protein foods such as chicken, milk, cheese, beans, bananas, soy products, peanuts, almonds, fish, turkey, etc.  Iodine, along with tyrosine is required to produce a normalized balance of the thyroxin hormone to stabilize our caloric burning furnace.

Spoil your children in moderation. Walk and share fun exercise activities with them.

There is a TSH (Thyroid-Stimulation Hormone) test that tells a treating physician if your thyroid is producing proper amounts of thyroxin hormone to keep your metabolic system balanced.  The test determines if your thyroid is working correctly through reading TSH levels in the blood.   This stimulator hormone is produced by the pituitary gland.  So as the pituitary gland slows down within the metabolic system it releases more TSH to signal “speeding” up the thyroids production of thyroxin.  This test can determine proper levels of TSH hormone in the blood.  The TSH hormone release is directly related to many interconnecting metabolic processes.  If all other metabolic processes are working correctly, the thyroid hormone release stimulated by TSH should normalize all metabolic functions which impact weight loss/gain and mitigate other disorders.  But if too little, or too much TSH is produced than the test will show ranges from under/over active and normal thyroid gland.

Normal TSH test scores will be between 0.4 and 2.5.  A low score of 0-0.4 is hyperthyroidism.  And if the score is between 2.5 and 4, this means there is risk for hypothyroidism.  Anything higher can lead to a major health concern.  Many doctors will resist treating patients until they hit a 10.  This is basically due to the delicate balance and interactions these hormones and chemical exchange relationships have on the entire metabolic system.  Nevertheless, if your measurement is at 4 or above, or below 2.5, you should discuss a treatment course with your medical specialist.

Although your thyroid only requires a hundred thousandth of a percentage of your body weight in iodine (150 micrograms daily – the best sources of iodine comes from seaweed, onions, seafood and salt); without it the thyroid cannot function.  If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you gain weight.  But if you get enough of it in your diet, adding more through supplementation will do absolutely no good because the glands function is balanced, or better known as “normalized effect”   That is, if your thyroid is functioning normal, iodine will not help because the thyroid is already normalized and functioning correctly.

If you must take an iodine supplement for an underactive thyroid, kelp is the best organic source.  It appears to have “the best “normalizing effect on the thyroid gland.  However, if your iodine dose is incorrect, it is possible to supplement with too much, or too little.  Some of the symptoms of iodine over supplementation include:  Severe acme, become underweight, emotional imbalances, hyper-activity, mental and emotional instability, negative effects on thyroid glands, skin irregularities (welts on arms/face, rough skin) and problems with focus, or spaced out feelings.

Getting enough iodine in the diet should not be a problem since we get it in our everyday table salt, processed and fast foods and through its presence in crop fertilizers.  However, the key issue with our iodine in our everyday diet is, most of us do not get organic iodine (e.g., seaweed, “kelp”).  Homeopathic doctors have prescribed kelp, vinegar, B6 and a lecithin diet for treatment of obesity and other types of preventative disorders for years.  The diet is also beneficial to brain tissue, sensory nerves and spinal cord.

However the normalizing effect of iodine benefits for an overweight problem gets lost in translation within the market place for those desperate to lose weight.  That is, consumers are lead to believe if iodine is good for the thyroid, than more is better whether you need it or not.  But there could be nothing further from the truth.   There is another way to look at this statistically.  Eighty percent of all thyroid cases are diagnosed as the hypo-type.  But this percentage does not equate to eighty percent of those that are obese have a thyroid problem.

Aerobic workouts good for the cardio Muscular endurance

Let’s also not forget those who choose “not to exercise, or eat healthy diets,” but have healthy thyroids with plenty of iodine in the diet.  They will not lose more weight by increasing iodine intake.  Also, 8 times out of 10 thyroid disorder diagnosis are more prominent in women than men.  And as a natural progression of aging, increased risk of thyroid disease occurs naturally.  And if you have an autoimmune disorder, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis your at higher risk for thyroid disease.  These diseases and other factors are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to diagnosing whether or not your thyroid needs stimulation to help you manage your weight.

If you do supplement your diet with iodine, it is important to understand it is also important to get enough vitamin A as well.  Vitamin A allows the thyroid gland to absorb the iodine.  If absorption of iodine through the gland does not occur optimally, then the production of thyroxin will occur relative to the glands absorption rate.  Recall, with reduced thyroxin hormone production, you have a lower BMR that does not help your weight loss and overall health goals.

One last point I’d like to touch on regarding a hyper-thyroid condition.  There are many cases documented where speeding up the thyroids function will cause weight loss.  But there are also cases where speeding up the thyroid function causes weight gain.  You ask how this is possible.  Because, by increasing the metabolic function, you also increase appetite.  Here is another truth, for those that lost weight during hormone treatment, once the hyper-active treatment stopped the weight came back.

Dogs need exercise as well to keep their body weight healthy.

Therefore, it appears that thyroid treatment to treat obesity does not appear to be real useful in many obesity cases.  This is why you should seek a treating physicians advisement to get help identifying the cause of your weight gain problem.  If you are diagnosed with thyroid disease, then you’ll likely be prescribed a synthetic thyroxin to replace the hormone your thyroid can no longer produce.

By working with your doctor to adjust to the necessary doses, you’ll begin to look and feel better.  In other cases some of you may need a combination of treatments to regulate, or lose body weight that include thyroxin prescription, diet and exercise.  And in other weight loss/gain situations – relative to disease and disorder(s) diagnosis…

Varying medical treatment strategies may be necessary as opposed to thyroid treatment. The point being, your thyroid may not be the problem. It may be one of several other connecting hormone functions dependent on the thyroid hormone that has malfunctioned and needs treatment.

References,

American Thyroid Association.  Thyroid and Weight.  2005. http://www.thyroid.org/patients/brochures/Thyroid_and_Weight.pdf

Hastings, John.  The Truth about the Thyroid.  The Oprah Magazine. Jan 2009. http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Truth-About-the-Thyroid-and-Weight-Gain

Veracity Dani.  How Iodine Accelerates Weight Loss by Supporting the Thyroid Gland.  Natural News.com, June 25, 2005.  http://www.naturalnews.com/008902.html

Woodard, Marc T.  GH-Hormone Stimulator the Fountain of Youth Elixir?  Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!  23 February 2012.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2012/02/23/exercise-is-the-anti-aging-hormonal-fix/

Woodard, Marc.  Low Testosterone, another Man-Made Risky Fix?  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. January 22, 2012.  http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2012/01/22/low-testosterone-another-man-made-risky-fix/

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2012-18 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Diabetes Dietary GI (Glycemic Index) and Weight Loss

23 10 2016
Healthy body weight keeps us fit, increases mobility endurance to see more of the world around us.

Author:  Marc Woodard,  “Healthy body weight increases mobility and endurance to see more of the world around us.  Natural whole foods are a big part of this equation.”

Last Updated:  23 October 2016

A good way to manage diabetes and weight loss is to understand the connection between carbohydrates and effects on blood sugar levels.  Learn how to apply the Glycemic Index (GI), choose healthier foods and maintain blood sugar at safe levels while losing weight.

This is an index that ranks carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0-100.  Zero being foods low in absorbable blood sugar and 100 the highest absorbable sugars from foods.

The higher the GI value of foods the higher the blood glucose level in the body.  When blood sugar levels increase from foods consumed the body produces more insulin to store it until the energy fuel is needed to get work done.  When blood glucos levels are sustained over ~105-110 for a period of time it often results in unwanted weight gain and for others disease.  The food groups listed below are determined by many in the health and dietary profession as healthier food choices for diabetics.  Because they are low absorbable sugar foods they are slower to digest and absorbed into the blood.  This helps to lower and maintain blood sugar levels.

I wrote a previous article “Diabetes a Serious Disease.” Click on the link to learn more on topic.  In short, diabetes is defined and diagnosed as type 1 or 2.  Whereas insulin function is critical to maintain blood sugar levels and metabolic receptors use it to nourish and fuel body movement.  When either of these systems break or become less efficient at utilizing blood sugar then risk of disease, or aggravation or worsening of pre-existing ill-health condition may occur.

Once diagnosed as a diabetic it is wise to consume lower absorbable carbohydrate foods.  This choice will help to mitigate damage to nerves,  blood vessels and alleviate diabetic nerve pain.  While reducing excess body fat known to contribute to cardiovascular and circulatory disease.

It is the complex carbohydrates “e.g., whole foods multi-grains and fibrous fruits and vegetables” that also delay hunger pains and support weight loss while alleviating diabetic symptoms.

However don’t be fooled in believing low glycemic foods alone will fully address overweight problems.   Although simple and complex carbohydrates are necessary in the diet, it is the quantity, or total calories consumed in a day that cause body weight to increase.   Eating too much of anything, including healthy foods while living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to any number of health problems.  Not addressed in this article are other factors that may contribute, or lead to diabetes and obesity.  Such as hormonal, immunological and genetic factors.  Maintaining a healthy diet is part of the health equation, but only a medical specialist can determine through diagnosis if other treatment or prescription is necessary to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

Below I provide a popular listing of low sugar foods good for overall health and weight management.  The American Diabetes and American Dietetic Associations have not yet adapted the GI concept.  It appears this has more to do with lack of empirical evidence required of each food listed and resulting degree of benefit to a diabetic patient.

If you suspect your diabetic or have long term overweight or obesity challenges, I highly recommend you request a referral of your primary care physician to see an endocrinologist, diabetic or metabolic specialist.  Then request relative laboratory tests to ensure your blood sugars and metabolism are functioning at safe levels.   Also, discuss managing your diet through healthier food choice by using the Glycemic Food Index (GI) as a safe guide to identify low absorbable sugar foods.  Prior to physician visit select the foods you prefer from the index.  Then consult with the doctor in determining if those choices are right for you.  For a full GI listing ask your doctor, use an Internet search engine, or visit your local book store.  Below represents the short lists.

Lower Glycemic Food Index (GI).   Sugar alcohols (Sorbitol, Maltitol) Soy drinks, milk, yoghurt, Sweet potatoes, yams, vegetables, Fruits – plums, pears, peaches, grapes, grapefruit, cherries, bananas, apples, avocados, fresh juices.  Dried beans, peas, lentils.  Spaghetti, pasta, Basmati rice, Whole grain breads and pita Nuts and seeds.

Higher Glycemic Food Index (GI) Quicker Acting Carbohydrates Ice cream (low-fat), frozen yogurt.  White bread, doughnuts, croissants, rice cakes, bagels.  White potatoes, corn, white rice.  Low fiber cereals – Cornflakes, RiceKrispies, Fruit loops, etc.  Pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, ripe bananas.  Soda, sugar sweetened sports and energy drinks.  Candy, sugar.

Since I’m not one to follow the letter of the dietary law, I do eat some high absorbable sugar foods in moderation.  But mostly I consume foods listed in the lower GI.  It’s not because I’m a diabetic, I just prefer those foods.  If you get into the habit of choosing healthier foods, after about 2 weeks you’ll begin to naturally crave them.

It is the hyper-palatable, or over sweetened processed foods by food engineers and unhealthy alcohol and mixed drink habits that addict us to the high absorbable sugar products.   Breaking the simple carbohydrate  food habit by learning how to moderate it in the diet is a challenge for some.  For others, not so much.  Give a healthier food choice a try and see if you can begin a new and healthier dietary habit.  If it works for you, you’ll feel better, have more energy, lose weight without hunger pains and mobility and fitness levels will increase.  And just maybe you’ll be less dependent on some medications and want to do more daily exercise.

As a side note…  never forego taking prescribed medications even if you improve diet and have significant weight loss and relief of diabetic symptoms .  Follow all doctor treatment and prescription advise.   Only a doctor can determine if removal of certain meds is right for you.

Take the low glycemic diet challenge and explore the world one step at a time. "You Can Do It!"

Take the low glycemic food diet challenge.  Explore the world one step at a time. “You Can Do It!”

If you’d like to prepare healthier foods for your family, check out our book store at the home site to find recipe books, specialized diets and cook books, etc.  These books & magazines provide a plethora of different ideas on how you can prepare tastey foods for those with diabetes, or those looking to get more fit and lose weight.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2016 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Inc.,  Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.





Alzheimer’s Disease and Aluminum Absorption Risk

21 10 2015

Do processed and cooked foods have any connection to this disease?

Updated:  22 Oct 2015

Why is Alzheimer’s disease the 4th leading cause of death among our elderly, only behind heart disease, cancer and stroke? It also happens to be the 3d most common mineral element on the planet we’re exposed to with frequency.

The World Health Organization to include many other research teams has determined there’s a correlation with aluminum and elderly mental health risk and mortality.  “According to Washington DC’s Department of the Planet Earth, United States and Canadian regulatory agencies, acknowledges a potential risk factor in elderly cognitive impairment. It makes sense, research shows aluminum can produce toxic, oxidative stress in the brain and a brain autopsy study of elderly persons found them to have aluminum levels 20+ times higher than a middle-aged group” (Edward 2013).

But not all research institutions are on board with this cause and disease relationship. For instance, “People exposed to high levels of aluminum may develop Alzheimer’s disease, but other studies have not found this to be true. “We do not know for certain that aluminum causes Alzheimer’s disease.”  The ideal being the possibility those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or genetically predisposed to get it, have brain tissue that absorbs and stores more aluminum to greater degree than others when exposed” (ATSDR 2008).

However it is certain “eating large amounts of processed food containing aluminum additives or frequently cooking acidic foods in aluminum pots may expose a person to higher levels of aluminum than a person who generally consumes unprocessed foods and uses pots made of other materials (e.g., stainless steel or glass). The consensus of this particular study finds aluminum levels found in processed foods and foods cooked in aluminum pots are generally considered to be safe” (ATSDR 2008).

Aluminum is so common within our consumer products it’s also found in city water and everyday hygiene and beauty products.

Other research shows us you are 3 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s through the use of arousal anti perspirants and hair spray containing aluminum.  Both entrants into the body are absorbed easily through consumption and may be easily absorbed by the brain through the nasal cavity (Public health reports, Natural health, University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter).

Aluminum cookware such as pans, pots and thermal beverage holders present absorption of mineral risk into foods. And for a pan lined with a Teflon nonstick surfaces this may present a separate health risk concern. It is suggested by consumer safety advocates Teflon may present health risk. However, M3 and DuPont research, show no conclusive proof that Teflon puts your health at risk.

Cookware sealants became a consumer health issue because 3rd party research shows when you get into varying chemical sealant composites to bind-bond-seal the aluminum or copper cookware as “THE” protective “HEAT” barrier may present other known & unknown health risks.  ‘To minimize the amount of aluminum that dissolves into your food from cookware, avoid cooking acidic foods like tomatoes and rhubarb in aluminum pans. Don’t store leftovers in aluminum, because the longer the food sits, the more aluminum it can absorb from the pan. Since more aluminum will dissolve out of old, pitted and worn pans, throw away your aging aluminum cookware. When you replace your old pans, consider upgrading to anodized aluminum pans” (LivingStrong 2015).

With regard to city treatment of drinking water how does one find out “how much” alum, or aluminum sulfate is added to our water?  The amount necessary to reduce algae and turbidity creating crystal clear drinking water from our city utilities dictates the amount of aluminum sulfate required.  If you drink city water, you are ingesting alum.  Due to the unanswered link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, (some scientists) are urging water treatment facilities use ferric sulfate, or calcium as opposed to aluminum sulfate to accomplish the job. Call your city treatment facility, or water provider how they treat the water source.

Aluminum is also an occupational hazard, “Exposure to aluminum, unfortunately, is common with some occupations like mining, factory work, and welding. Welding can be especially worrisome because it produces vapors that, when inhaled, send aluminum directly into the lungs in a “super absorption” status where it is released to the blood and distributed to the bones and brain. Researchers have repeatedly examined the consequence of inhaling aluminum vapors and the results are grim” (Edward 2013).

Recommendations,

  1. Medical research correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum is so convincing a prudent person would remove “all” aerosol or cosmetics to include deodorants made of, or containing aluminum.
  2. If you see the word alum (aluminum), on any consumer product, or consumable in aluminum container or cookware, seriously consider an alternative.
  3. If you drink beverages made from aluminum cans, it would be prudent to switch to glass bottled or other container type.
  4. The greatest risk of aluminum exposure at a super absorption rate is an occupational hazard where inhaling vapors presents a serious health risk potential. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should always be worn during working with or around aluminum vapors and where PPE is inspected with frequency for breach or defects per manufacturer safety use instructions and inspection standards.
  5. Contact your local municipality and ask about aluminum sulfate in your drinking water and do check the bottled water to see if it’s simply bottled city or natural spring water with alum.

Reference,

ATSDR. Health Statement for Aluminum. September 2008. Agency for toxic substances and disease registry.

Edward Dr. Why I’m Concerned about the Dangers of Aluminum. 17 July 2013.  GHC (Global Healing Center).

Webber, Vallery.  Health Risks of Cooking Aluminum. Last Updated: 6 May 2015. LivingStrong.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science. Original 2008 Copyright updated 22 Oct 2015.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @ www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.



 





Monitor Fitness Progress without Trainer Services

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results thereof.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve your fitness goals.  For example, when oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion].

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal ranges, it makes exercise and will power to start and continue more difficult, while health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals baseline at no cost to compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.  I can’t resist using the cuff to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above age standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical vitals comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.  Then check at a later point in time to see if diet and exercise activity improves past results.

If you’re too far outside a normal range health risk increases.  Or the test equipment is out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. Then visited another pharmacy and vitals were fine.  If you get the same readings at 2 separate locations, seek medical advisement and testing.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high relative to sedentary and daily exercise activity; the metabolism, hormone and circulatory systems are experiencing cellular and functional stress.  For example, body fat may continue to store and add load to weight bearing joints causing pain and further health risk, while effecting the fat burning furnace.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and meal proportions and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.  You’ll also note in many cases, when body weight is up, so is blood pressure and heart rate.  But not always.

IMG_1168

Walking requires a break with trail mix fuel to re-energize and endure the long haul hike back onto the trail.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running exercise, to include biking and swimming that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and metabolic systems when optimum aerobic exercise activity occurs…  And no health condition exists at specific efforts of physical intensity.

This physiological fat burning fact is measureable and known as THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.  Which simply means, if you’re in the appropriate aerobic heart rate zone during exercise and performing at specific aerobic effort of intensity, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then follow the 40 year old client example to apply formula on self to burn more fat fuel.

   Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Plug in your intensity % to determine heart rate range and stay within the fat burning zone and lose more body fat weight.

Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid environment.

First determine your maximum heart rate by taking 220 – age.  For example, if your 40 years old, your heart beats per minute would be 180 (220 – 40 = 180 bpm).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

“These calculations provide only estimates of your heart rate maximum and cardiovascular work zone. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I use both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring as quarterly practise to determine my level of fitness and overall health condition for my age group.

I make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if my numbers begin to fall outside an unfit range.  I also have blood draws taken every 6 months.  Blood lab results are great indicators of internal bodily functions and health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  do journal these results for later comparisons against adjusted diet and exercise programed changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more about how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live longer in good health.

Save money learning how to customize your own fitness and nutrition  programs.  But in no way do I advocate avoidance of medical advisement, examination and/or treatment.  It is wise to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Monitor Fitness and Health Like a Pro

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great low-impact aerobic exercise activity.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve fitness and health goals.  When oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion]; and sustain health and wellbeing.

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal range, it makes exercise more difficult to begin and sustain the effort and health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals at no cost and compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.

Free Self Check Vitals Services,

I can’t resist using the arm cuff station at the local pharmacy store to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts at the station, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above vitals standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical baseline comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.

If you’re significantly outside a normal vitals range for your age in comparison to previous results the station may be out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times.   To test this theory I’ve visited another pharmacy store the same day and vitals were normal for my age.  If you get “at risk” readings at 2 separate store locations, seek medical advisement.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high the body is experiencing circulatory and cardio functional stress.  These are warning signs that should not be ignored.  Typically but not always, when body fat weight is high so are vitals.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.

IMG_1168

Take a break, enjoy the day and fuel up to continue healthy activities.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running, biking and swimming, etc., exercise that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and cardio systems during low-impact aerobic exercise activity that burns more body fat.

During low-impact aerobic exercise fat burning occurs and is measureable when activity is within the THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.

Which simply means, if you’re in the aerobic heart rate fat burning zone during exercise, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR during activity and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then apply formula during exercise to lose more body fat weight.

To use Simple formula below, first determine aerobic effort you want to apply and stay within that fat burning zone during exercise.  Using the Simple formula plug in 50 – 70% to burn more fat:

For example, Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid and the metabolism burns less fat.

 Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Then determine your maximum heart rate take 220 – age.  If your 40 years old for example  (220 – 40 = 180).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

Take 90 or 126 and divide by 6.  Results:  15 and  21 BPM represent a 10 second pulse count you can take during exercise.  Simply monitor pulse at carotid (side of neck) or brachial (wrist) for a 10 second pulse count inbetween exercise.  If you fall within this heart rate range your burning body fat fuel.

“These calculations provide only estimates of your target heart rate,  cardiovascular work zone and fat burning efficiency during exercise.  To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I’ve used both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring to adjust exercise activity, improve health and determine level of fitness condition for my age.

Make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if vitals begin to fall outside an unfit range.  Also blood lab results are great indicators of internal health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  journal these results for future comparisons after adjusted diet and exercise program changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more on how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live life to the fullest.  And be sure to visit your doctor for frequent medical checkups.  And when you do, present your self monitoring data, nutrition and exercise habits and past vs. present blood test results for further medical advisement.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Why Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Challenge Pain Specialists

8 05 2014

Sticky Tongue to Ice Can Be Painful

Updated:  8 May 2014

Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) is a poorly defined condition “and somewhat” similar to fibromyalgia as a chronic pain experience.  CPS is where a neurologically based pain has not resolved, or finding the exact cause of pain may have not been identified.  We’ve all experienced pain at one time or the other, e.g., a broken bone, or speck of dirt in the eye, a bruised, or strained muscle, or maybe you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience a passing kidney stone.  These painful experiences are considered temporary or acute pain conditions.  If the injury heals then the acute pain will typically resolve itself within a 30 day window.  The difference between chronic and the acute pain, you healed and are no longer in pain, or that pain is triggered infrequently when aggravated.

If a pain condition has not healed significantly after 30 days, or you still experience significant pain for a 3-6 month time period, this is a chronic pain condition.  Those diagnosed with CPS can appear to experience pain all over and at any point of the neurological body.  This is much akin to those that experience frequent phantom pain anywhere at any time throughout the body.  You hurt and the pain varies in frequency and intensity throughout each day.  Nevertheless, your body always seems to be in pain.  For those with this type of chronic pain it is much harder for medical specialists to explain what is causing it, especially when a pain origin is not obvious.  Understanding and treating a CPS is certainly a challenge for the medical professional.

The most mysterious thing about CPS is that the chronic pain conditions can occur without evident exasperation, or aggravation of past injury, illness or disease.  And on the other hand, chronic pain can be a substantiated medical pain origin finding caused from illness and disease, i.e., cancer, immune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, back condition(s), past injuries and other radiating neuropathies that affect and cause pain.  CPS is typically a complex treatment pain story “often” without an origin of pain and/or lacks medically substantiated cause of injury or disease.

Regardless of pain origin or cause, or lack thereof, chronic pain patients will require a pain management specialist or team of various resources to treat a complex pain etiology, especially if the cause is unclear.  Those resources might include acupuncture, electroneuro-stimulation, hot/cold modalities, exercise, physical therapy, specialized diet, supplements, pharmaceuticals, or deep muscle massage, etc.

If you’re a pain patient with unexplainable pain and you’ve not been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or some other form of immune disorder for example, you may likely be diagnosed with CPS.  What is the difference between the two diagnoses?  Fibromyalgia is a neurosensory disorder where one feels widespread pain throughout the body, but most specifically; joint and muscle stiffness and pain with fatigue.

During the early years of fibromyalgia diagnosis, it was thought this type of pain originated from the brain and where chemical imbalance may be connected somehow to the cause of muscle and joint pain.  In other words, at one time a great portion of the medical community believed it possible to think the pain and from the psychosomatic (brain-body) connection, the pain manifested itself into chronic pain.  Although this is partially true, it is not the whole truth.

The American College of Rheumatology diagnosis criteria has proven that the origin of pain does not solely stem from a brain signal that produces the pain.  Instead a physiological chemical shortfall is present in many pain patient cases that prevent the patient from completely alleviating pain.  In my mind, this would be the equivalent of a person whose immune system is down, gets a cold and can never completely get rid of the cold.  So you always feel under the weather sort of speak and where it does not take much physical activity or stress to aggravate low-sensory acute pain to a high chronic pain condition.

Another difference between fibromyalgia versus CPS appears to be three primary symptoms for those that suffer with fibromyalgia:  Muscle tenderness, aches and joint pain, which produce stiffness and fatigue and/or emotional stress that can continue for years.  There also appears to be a chemical identifier in the way fibromyalgia pain origins present pain symptoms.  That’s where the neurosensory pain connection between the brain and spinal cord are now known to be chemically interlinked.

People with Fibromyalgia tend to have a low chemical P substance, and low levels of neurotransmitter chemical production of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.  It appears pain patients with a low P substance condition are more sensitive to acute low sensory pain perceived by the brain and spinal cord.  So it can be stated, if our bodies are low on P substance and neurotransmitters, anyone of us would be susceptible to low-acute to chronic pain conditions by lacking the ability to immunological and physiologically low stress environmental aggravation we’d not experience otherwise.

If our ability to produce natural pain alleviating chemicals is compromised than it is reasonable to deduce this makes pain patients more likely to be sensitive to daily stress.  And this everyday stress pain could be amplified 10-fold from the way anyone else would experience it given the same environment.

So the stress most of us experience daily is likely shielded chemically by normal levels of P substance and natural neurotransmitters in the body.  If pain protection is not chemically balanced to shield the body from the mental to physical pain, then those that lack this protection will experience more pain.  In time this can chronically fatigue a person into manifesting itself into illness-disease and painful medical condition.

Patients now diagnosed with fibromyalgia are taken much more serious as a real chronic pain condition where chemical deficiency and immune systems are likely compromised.  I suspect there are many hormonal and chemical imbalances within the brain-body barrier that creates an unshielded pain recipient experience.  It is amazing to realize that ~35% of all Americans have some form, or have experienced chronic pain.  And some 50 million have experienced partial to full disability due to chronic pain.

Many patients that experience CPS also experience the same internalizing and rationalizing effect of fibromyalgia depression for lack of ability to provide help for self and family.  This depression stress is often brought about by the obvious… Chronic unrelenting pain and addiction to pain alleviation drug use, anxiety, fatigue, reduced activities including sexual desire, and maybe simultaneous experience of other disabilities that are secondary to the primary cause of pain and medications.

This vicious cycle of internalizing and inability to control the pain becomes exhausting and to the point where it is difficult to get a good night sleep.  If this exhaustion cycle is not alleviated the calamity of suffering, sleeplessness and sadness can have a demoralizing impact on self and family.

CPS, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue pain patients are typically treated as outpatients and require a variety of pain alleviation drugs and other clinical resources to help manage their pain.

If you experience chronic pain, and/or pain depression and anxiety and are experiencing a complex pain condition and need help, be sure to seek medical referrals to a pain management specialist, rheumatologist, immunologist, or physiatrist through your primary care physician to get the treatment you need.

Referrals,

The Free Dictionary, by Farlex.  Fibromyalgia.  http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fibromyalgia

Dellwo, Adrienne. About.com. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue.  July 2, 2012.  http://chronicfatigue.about.com/b/2012/07/02/sound-off-about-symptoms-fibromyalgia-chronic-fatigue-syndrome.htm

Wikipedia.  Chronic Pain.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_pain

Health Encyclopedia – Diseases and Conditions.  http://www.healthscout.com/ency/1/629/main.html

Singh, Manish K. Chronic Pain Syndrome.  Medscape. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/310834-overview

Woodamarc.  Pain Depression Origins.  Hubpages.com. http://woodamarc.hubpages.com/_sigsinmula/hub/Pain-Depression-Origins

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain Connection

21 04 2014

 

Seek adventures in life.  This will motivate you to stay active.

Seek adventures in life. This will motivate you to stay active.

How many of you have a tendency to stay up late and then eat too much before bed time?  Or do you lack a good night’s sleep because of daily stress, anxiety or snoring while you sleep?  Do you wake up with little energy and then eat too much throughout the day?  Believe it or not there is a connection between these causes of your sleepless nights and weight gain.

Most are unaware when we lack a good night’s sleep we are then sleep deprived and our body is chemically stimulated internally and then activated to gain weight.  Much of this cause and effect has to do with one or more behavioral habits, environmental stressors and/or medical disorder that cause us to lose sleep.  And when we lose sleep our internal body’s hormonal and metabolic conditions shift to crave more food.

Let’s first address staying up late at night and eating too much before bed.  At night when you don’t sleep “for whatever reason” your body continues to burn energy and you feel hungry.  Instead of sleeping, you’re prone to eat more.  And this is the worse time to eat when the body’s metabolism is at its lowest metabolic burn rate.  Staying up late and watching Television and eating fattening food snacks are behavioral habits that don’t help in maintaining healthy body weight.

However, if the reason you do this is because of a bad habit of watching late night TV, the good news is this habit can be changed.  The not so good news is… if this habit is caused from chronic stress, anxiety and/or depression; behavioral therapy and/or medical treatment may be needed to address a primary medical condition prior to changing a secondary bad food habit used as a comfort crutch.

When you stay up late or don’t get enough sleep and if this trend continues, you’re going to feel low motivation to work, exercise, or even work on relationships, etc.  But a worse effect often results from sleep deprivation, i.e., food cravings that cause us to eat more than we would otherwise.  This is likely the result of hormonal and metabolic imbalances caused from sleep deprivation that attempt to resolve the body of feeling bad, or experiencing low energy levels.  And this feeling is typically coupled to a varying degree; a depressed mind-body [known as psychosomatic relationship].  Sleep deprived individuals are often unaware of these internal mechanisms and how they internally activate to provide the body a feeling of normalcy.

“The lack of sleep also changes the balance of hormones in your body, especially ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin spurs you to eat, and leptin tells you when to stop. When you are sleep-deprived, your body creates more ghrelin and less leptin; this leads to more eating, additional calories, and extra weight gain (Brooks 2014).”  “In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied?  If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin (Bouchez 2014).”

Also when tired you’re more prone to feel stressors and anxiety associated with the daily grind.  Why?  Because you lack the energy to mentally and physically shield yourself of their effects within your internal environment.  And when the body feels overwhelmed and depressed, then the mind and spirit is also less able to cope these stressors.

Sleeping disorders and behavioral habits can cause acute and chronic depression.  “People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don’t feel rested in the morning.  Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression.  ‘Sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression (Tracey 2014).”

Your weight gain nemesis may be directly related to any number of internal or external environmental conditions, or stressors that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.  Then you may feel depressed and eat for comfort; or your body tells you it’s time to eat even when not hungry. Or by simply not getting enough sleep the fat cell is unable to release its stored energy.

    “For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. Among children, sleeping less than 10 hours a night is associated with weight gain.  ‘Now a fascinating new study suggests that the link may be even more insidious than previously thought.  Losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain (Parker-Pope 2013).” 

    “Perhaps the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over a period of time was presented by the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006. The study that included nearly 70,000 middle aged women specifically pointed out those women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night (Menopot 2014).”

It’s interesting to note within the fat cell itself, there is a physiological responses to metabolic hormonal imbalances caused by a poor night’s sleep.  In other words studies show us the longer one goes without sleep causes fat cells to malfunction by preventing its release of stored energy.  And for those that experience too many sleepless nights the risk of diabetes, circulatory and cardio health risk increases with weight gain.

“To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours.  The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin – a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal.”

“High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin [tells you when to stop eating]. Brady suggests that if sleep-deprived cells are generally malfunctioning, this mechanism may also be disrupted, affecting weight gain (Hamzelou 2012).”

There are many reasons one may not get a good night’s sleep.  We’ve briefly touched on insomnia, behavioral habits and suggested environment stressors that keep us from getting a good night’s sleep.  But there are also medical conditions like sleep apnea, chronic depression and other medical disorders patients need help with in order to get a good night’s sleep, maintain healthy body weight and overall good health.

“It appears individuals can learn to change habits and behaviors through a natural process of removing an identified anxiety-stress stimulus.  Once the anxiety or stress trigger mechanism has been removed; anxiety and depression symptoms may be alleviated for many and go away never to return (Woodard 2010).”

Outside of environmental stressors and bad habits, there is a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea that causes many to lose sleep because of excessive snoring.  But it must be pointed out those who snore don’t necessarily have sleep apnea.  Which will become apparent after review of the summarized sleep study below.

Sleep apnea occurs during sleep and when muscle tissue is relaxed at the back of the throat in a way that partially occludes a clear airway.  In some cases, as more weighted tissue is involved around the throat area the structural airway integrity buckles and partially blocks it of free air passage.  This buckling can be thought of as a breach of the airway and in a way that causes excessive snoring.

There is also a neurological condition that is not a mechanical breach or related to an overweight condition.  Instead sleep apnea can occur due to the CNS (Central Nervous System) signaling the brain to stop breathing intermittently during sleep.  This type of breathing interruption is less understood but can be treated in the same way as a mechanical blockage using CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or dental device that keeps airway open.  Also both medical conditions of sleep apnea “mechanical and neurological” can also occur simultaneously.  In any event, dependent on medical diagnosis can be medically treated and/or surgically corrected to varying degrees of a successful outcome.

Those with sleep apnea repeatedly wake up because of snoring and occluded airway and May, or may not be consciously aware of doing so. But in almost all cases, those with untreated sleep apnea rarely feel they’ve had a good night’s sleep, feel unrested when they awake and are typically tired throughout the day.

Sleep apnea is serious business because respiratory failure and other health risk have led to death.  If you or spouse have a serious snoring problem, or stop breathing intermittently during sleep, or can’t sleep for whatever reason… see your physician and request a sleep study test.

Sleep Study Tests Show the Following Results:  While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing.  This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep.  But if the “non-breathing” episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  But if one is sleeping and averages 30 “non-breathing” episodes per hourly average where breathing stops up to 10 second intervals minimum between breaths, this is where serious health risk increases and incremental/accumulative damage to the heart occurs.  While loved one(s) and friends assume you simply have a bad, loud obnoxious snore, this could in fact be an indicator of something far worse than irritating those around you.  And also be aware, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea.  Only a sleep study test can prove this for sure (Woodard 2010).

When we snore and wake up repeatedly, or get little sleep for whatever reason we lack in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  While under REM our skeletal muscles are deeply relaxed and we dream and our food intake throughout the day is better regulated because our hormones and metabolism is refreshed, energized and balanced optimally.

It is especially important if you suffer from stress, anxiety, obesity, respiratory, or other disorder that causes you to lose sleep, seek medical treatment.  Treatment may include anti-anxiety, depression and/or behavioral therapy with, or without hormonal or prescription drug treatment.  If overweight you may also be tested for diabetes, heart and circulatory health, etc. Tests and treatment recommendations may also include sleep study test, CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or other device treatment, surgery to alleviate sleep disorder condition, etc.

Regardless of what prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep it is possible to target the problem of your sleep deprivation for sake of your health and overall wellbeing.

Developing or resolving good sleep habits and patterns will support healthy body weight, reduce daily stress and anxiety levels; and will provide the feel good energy to live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve.

Works Cited and Article Resources,

Bouchez, Colette. “The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep.” Review. Web log post. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Brooks, Dominique W., MD, MBA. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Hamzelou, Jessica. “‘Tired’ Fat Cells Might Trigger Obesity.” NewScientist. Reed Business Information Ltd., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Menopot. “Insomnia and Weight Gain.” Insomnia and Weight Gain. Menopot, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Tracy, Natasha. “Depression and Sleep Disorders.” HealthyPlace. HealthyPlace, 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Sleep Apnea an Insidious Angel of Death.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 23 July 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, MSC Officer, ANG Ret. 2014 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.