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Asbestos detected in Baby Powder!

Like many of you, I have been known to use a talc based powder  (AKA “baby powder” to some) after a shower or on hot days and such. Many use talc powders after they hit the gym and take a shower. And of course, many a parent has used it with infants to help prevent diaper rash. Sounds like a bad joke, but that’s what a recent report suggests: small amounts of asbestos is detected in talc powder. Yes, the stuff people have been putting on themselves and their babies for many decades. Worse yet, the major manufacturer of Baby Powder apparently knew about it for decades, and didn’t divulge it to the public. Talc has been associated with some cancers, but the connection was tenuous at best, now we may know why.

Baby-PowderUntil we have all the details, I’d recommend people avoid all talc based powders for now. I rarely put out a public service announcement like this until I have all the facts – knowing all too well how the media has no problems twisting the facts to fit an agenda and ratings – but I felt it was warranted in this case.

BTW, In case people think that’s a rare event, read my prior article on the poor quality control found in the pharmaceutical industry  for examples of negligence that reach criminal levels you never hear about. Next time someone tells you the supplement industry is dangerous because it’s “unregulated” (1) I’d recommend you send them to that article.

Via the NYT’s:

The memos were concise and direct.

An executive at Johnson & Johnson said the main ingredient in its best-selling baby powder could potentially be contaminated by asbestos, the dangerous mineral that can cause cancer. He recommended to senior staff in 1971 that the company “upgrade” its quality control of talc.

Two years later, another executive raised a red flag, saying the company should no longer assume that its talc mines were asbestos-free. The powder, he said, sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos fiber.”

the carcinogen which often appears underground near talc, has been a concern inside the company for decades. In hundreds of pages of memos, executives worried about a potential government ban of talc, the safety of the product and a public backlash over Johnson’s Baby Powder, a brand built on a reputation for trustworthiness and health.

Executives proposed new testing procedures or replacing talc outright, while trying to discredit research suggesting that the powder could be contaminated with asbestos, according to corporate documents unearthed by litigation, government records obtained by The New York Times through the Freedom of Information Act, and interviews with scientists and lawyers.

In one instance, Johnson & Johnson demanded that the government block unfavorable findings from being made public. An executive ultimately won assurances from an official at the Food and Drug Administration that the findings would be issued only “over my dead body,” a memo summarizing the meeting said.

Cont HERE

 

(1) While far from perfect, the fact is, the supplement industry is regulated far more than most are aware of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Love!

Over the years I have kept close track of the studies on the various benefits of dark chocolate, and those benefits are extensive. Of course the magic in dark chocolate is the cocoa content, and cocoa is loaded with health promoting compounds, which I cover in more depth in the Bomb Proof Coffee write up, which covers the science, etc. One study found  synergistic effects of combing cocoa and coffee, which is additional support/confirmation for my Bomb Proof Coffee (BPC) recipe. Back to dark chocolate!

A  refresher on cocoa:

For those not aware of some of the benefits of cocoa, here’s a brief synopsis from linked write up above:

Dark chocolate and cocoa beans!

Dark chocolate and cocoa beans!

Cocoa (the main ingredients in chocolate),  is rich in various polyphenols (including flavonoids/flavanols) and other  bio active compounds such as  amines, alkaloids,   tyramine, magnesium, procyanidins, phenylethylamine, and N-acylethanolamines. Cocoa has been shown to  reduce blood pressure, improve insulin resistance and improved endothelial function. A meta analysis found that the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest level of intake, an that’s despite the sugar and fat content of chocolate; reduced insulin resistance and reduced serum insulin levels were associated with the chocolate consumption. There are various studies that also suggest direct cognitive benefit of cocoa ingestion as well as neruo protection. The flavanol epicatechin is believed to be the main source of benefit, but there’s a wide range of compounds in cocoa and it’s highly likely there’s synergism between epicatechin and other flavanols as well as other compounds found in cocoa, many of which are still being elucidated.

So what about athletic endeavors? High intensity exercise will increase free radical production and oxidative stress, and when oxidant/antioxidant status is left unchecked, there’s a possible increased risk of injury to the muscles and other negatives – e.g., immune suppression, increased inflammation, etc – all best avoided.   A recent study found that dark chocolate (85% cocoa),  positively modulated the oxidative stress in elite level football athletes.  Below is the abstract with a link to the full paper. While this study did not look at endpoints such as performance, the study found “…a significant reduction in muscle damage markers” in the athletes getting the dark chocolate and “These results indicate that polyphenol-rich nutrient supplementation by means of dark chocolate positively modulates redox status and reduced exercise-induced muscular injury biomarkers in elite football athletes.”

While I’d like to see if those effects translates into improved performance, reduced rates of injury and so forth, the fact remains that cocoa continues to come up win on all fronts. Some people will drink a mug of BPC as their pre workout drink, while others – yours truly included – prefer it in the morning. I can also be found eating a dark chocolate bar a few times a week while watching Simpson’s reruns, but I digress… ;)

Dark Chocolate Intake Positively Modulates Redox Status and Markers of Muscular Damage in Elite Football Athletes: A Randomized Controlled Study

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2018, Article ID 4061901, 10 pages

Intensive physical exercise may cause increase oxidative stress and muscular injury in elite football athletes. The aim of this study was to exploit the effect of cocoa polyphenols on oxidative stress and muscular injuries induced by intensive physical exercise in elite football players.

Oxidant/antioxidant status and markers of muscle damage were evaluated in 24 elite football players and 15 controls. Furthermore, the 24 elite football players were randomly assigned to either a dark chocolate (>85% cocoa) intake () or a control group () for 30 days in a randomized controlled trial. Oxidative stress, antioxidant status, and muscle damage were assessed at baseline and after 30 days of chocolate intake. Compared to controls, elite football players showed lower antioxidant power and higher oxidative stress paralleled by an increase in muscle damage markers. After 30 days of dark chocolate intake, an increased antioxidant power was found in elite athletes assuming dark chocolate.

Moreover, a significant reduction in muscle damage markers (CK and LDH, ) was observed. In the control group, no changes were observed with the exception of an increase of sNox2-dp, H2O2, and myoglobin. A simple linear regression analysis showed that sNox2-dp was associated with a significant increase in muscle damage biomarker release (). An in vitro study also confirmed that polyphenol extracts significantly decreased oxidative stress in murine myoblast cell line C2C12-derived. These results indicate that polyphenol-rich nutrient supplementation by means of dark chocolate positively modulates redox status and reduced exercise-induced muscular injury biomarkers in elite football athletes.

 

 

DHEA; The Most Underrated Supplement For Women?

2018 Update:

This has been one of my most popular articles over the years, and the data for DHEA and women has only improved since writing it circa 2010. I believe I was the first person to really stress the sex differences of supplemental DHEA in men vs women, and several recent studies confirm it. For example, a recent study (J.Endocrine. 2018 Oct 11.) found DHEA supplements improved sexual function in premenopausal women, mostly likely due to the bump in testosterone levels, although DHEA may have additional benefits not directly associated with it’s conversion to T in women.

Even more interesting, a compilation of studies found DHEA improve bone mineral density and body comp in women, but not men. Again, no surprise to me! As expected, the effects will be more dramatic in older women due to their age related decline in various hormones that DHEA can help restore, but it’s also helpful to younger women (see below) in my experience.

I have posted links to the recent studies at the end of this article for those interested.

 

DHEA; The Most Underrated Supplement For Women?

 

Sumi Singh Fitness Model

BrinkZone author and Fitness Model Sumi shows what healthy sexy bodycomp looks like!

Have you ever noticed if a supplement, drug, etc is tried in men, and fails to work, it’s written off as being ineffective? Although improving, it’s well known that men have been the standard subjects in research, with the results often being applied to women as an afterthought.  In recent years, that situation has improved and women are viewed as the physiologically distinct people they are from men, and studies looking at specific effects in women – using women as the test subjects – has grown dramatically. That’s the good news at least. The bad news is, there’s still plenty of research out there done on men, being applied to women, sometimes to the detriment of women. Obviously, men and women are not so different that a great deal of research fails to be perfectly applicable to both sexes, but the fact remains a great deal of prior research was done looking at men, and the results, good or bad, applied to women more as an after thought.

Such is the case with DHEA in my view… Continue reading..

Creatine And Depression: Review

creatine-dissolving-trainergizeStudies suggest creatine may be helpful with depression,  and various mood disorders as well as being  neuroprotective. I have covered that topic over the years here on BZ via article, vids, etc. It’s also a primary ingredient in my Bomb Proof Coffee recipe. Here’s a new review worth a read covering the possible mechanisms by how creatine may exert anti-depressant effects, clinical studies that exist, and so forth on this important topic. Another recent study examined the impact of creatine on bipolar depression and found benefits.

Bottom line: Creatine does a body and brain good! 8-)

The possible beneficial effects of creatine for the management of depression

Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2018 September 4

Depression, a highly prevalent neuropsychiatric disorder worldwide, causes a heavy burden for the society and is associated with suicide risk. The treatment of this disorder remains a challenge, since currently available antidepressants provide a slow and, often, incomplete response and cause several side effects that contribute to diminish the adhesion of patients to treatment. In this context, several nutraceuticals have been investigated regarding their possible beneficial effects for the management of this neuropsychiatric disorder.

Creatine stands out as a supplement frequently used for ergogenic purpose, but it also is a neuroprotective compound with potential to treat or mitigate a broad range of central nervous systems diseases, including depression. This review presents preclinical and clinical evidence that creatine may exhibit antidepressant properties. The focus is given on the possible molecular mechanisms underlying its effects based on the results obtained with different animal models of depression.

Finally, evidence obtained in animal models of depression addressing the possibility that creatine may produce rapid antidepressant effect, similar to ketamine, are also presented and discussed.

Full paper HERE

Cognitive effects of creatine monohydrate adjunctive therapy in patients with bipolar depression: Results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Journal of Affective Disorders
Volume 224, 15 December 2017,
Highlights

• Depressive episodes and cognitive impairments produce most of the dysfunctionality in bipolar disorder.

• Multiple lines of evidence strongly implicate the occurrence of mitochondrial dysfunction in bipolar disorder.

• This study was the first to investigate cognitive effects of creatine monohydrate supplementation on bipolar depression.

• Creatine monohydrate supplementation for 6 weeks was associated with improvement in verbal fluency in bipolar depression.

•Future studies on the cognitive-enhancing properties of creatine monohydrate in bipolar disorder should be undertaken.

Source HERE

The Patrol Athlete

Yours Truly and Deputy P. Whitney Richtmyer have an important article in the latest Issue of Police Magazine. It covers how patrol officers should approach their exercise programs specifically to improve job performance and health, while reducing risk of injuries, and other benefits to both the officer and PD:

The Patrol Athlete

A strong, fit, flexible, explosive, and well-conditioned police officer is a better police officer. Improved physical conditioning is correlated with lower officer injury and death rates, lower sick leave usage, lower civil liability, fewer civilian complaints, lower suspect injury rate, lower suicide rate, improved mental health, lower uses of force, and lower officer-involved shooting rate.

The first rule is to work hard and train consistently. Athletes from different sports train differently, but successful athletes follow this rule. The best program in the world won’t work if you don’t train consistently and put effort into your training. But you need to focus on the right type of training for your line of work.

Cont HERE

Vasper, A Breakthrough In Fitness?

EFw4PRSjRAc85h6OJLRQ Vasper is an exercise machine that employs several approaches that have shown promise  in studies for improving performance, health, body composition, strength, and recuperation. Those are compression/occlusion, cooling, and intervals. All three of those modalities have shown beneficial effects in studies, but it should be noted studies are ongoing.  Vasper combines all three into a single machine, which seemingly allows a greater response to exercise in a shorter time period. Some major organizations, such as NASA, Texas Rangers, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and various other groups and teams employ Vasper directly and or are researching the possible benefits. Several small pilot studies have shown some impressive hormonal effects, in the form of increased testosterone and IGF-1 and decreased cortisol levels.

I decided I had to investigate this exercise machine further and try one for myself. A Dr. Ramesh Kumar at LifeWellMD in Palm Beach Gardens Florida employs a Vasper at his facility, and I made arrangements to go try it. Obviously a single session on the Vasper does not tell us much, but I found the experience interesting. What I did notice, was after my 20 minute interval session, I didn’t feel as beat up and tired as a I normally would. Also, normally, I’m drenched in sweat from doing HIIT or intervals (which are not the same thing BTW…) but after using the Vasper, I was a little sweaty on my head and such, but I sweat easily. Dr. Kumar said most people don’t even sweat using the Vasper, which makes sense since your major extremities are being cooled during the workout. For an explanation as to the potential benefits of that, see the Vasper page. The non technical explanation is essentially the Vasper attempts to metabolically “trick” your body into thinking it’s working much harder and longer than it is without the tissue damage and other downsides that can accompany intense/lengthy workouts. I hope to work with the Vasper in the future for additional assessment, so stay tuned on that front.

The Vasper may have a variety of uses, from rehab to improved bodycomp and conditioning and definitely in the “worth a try” category in my view.

At LifeWellMD on the Vasper machine

At LifeWellMD on the Vasper machine!

It may also be a time saver for those looking for maximum effects in minimal time. My major criticism is while there’s a good amount of data from third party sources on the individual approaches used, there’s  little on the Vasper itself.  “On paper” the Vasper looks quite promising for a wide range of uses, but Vasper et al would benefit greatly from doing a study on the Vasper itself versus a control, such as a group following the same interval workouts minus the compression and cooling. My understanding is, there are more studies in the works.

Conclusion: if you can find a place with a Vasper in your area, it may be worth a try, depending on your goals, needs, etc. The Vasper does get high marks in “real world” settings from those employing it,  and a number of high level/pro athletes and teams using it find their general recoup improved using the Vasper. So far, I’m  optimistic with a few caveats mentioned.

Learn More about Vasper HERE:

 

What’s In Your Water?

For some reason I always seem to end up writing articles about contaminants found in various supplements we ingest, in particular creatine, but there have been others. First I wrote “What’s in your creatine?” which exposed the fact not all creatine supplement are created equal. That article single handedly changed the creatine market at the time. I followed that up with “What’s in your supplements” which was really just a continuation of the first article, with additional testing and comments. I’m calling this one, “What’s in your water?!” for lack of a better title.

I have always been conscious of the potential impurities in drinking water. My town sends out a yearly report on water quality, and has always been well below EPA limits on the chemicals they test for. Regardless, I have always used a water filter to filter my drinking water. (1) Continue reading..

Coconut Oil Facts

Update to this topic: a recent review of coconut oil posted below the vid is in line with my recs in this vid on coconut oil. One comment/correction I would make to that review below, It states:

“…the clinical benefits of commercial MCT oils cannot be generalized to coconut oil.”

All true, but would lead the reader to assume the clinical benefits of MCTs have in fact been well documented as beneficial, when the data has been mixed at best. MCT’s themselves in healthy people, are, to use a science term, meh at best.

Other than a small amount of coconut oil added to my Bomb Proof Coffee recipe, I tend to favor other sources of fat in the diet.

Coconut oil is all the rage these days as the latest greatest “natural” product promising
everything from weight loss to immune support. IS IT TRUE?

I cover that topic in this latest vid!

How Supplements (Should) Get Made!

Here’s a new vid from my recent visit to NutraBio, done with CEO Mark Glazier. We go through the full process on how they go from new ingredient to product that illustrates the GMP process, and where NutraBio often exceeds GMP. People will find this very educational!

For more details on my visit to the company, shorter vid mentioned in this vid, etc, go HERE

BrinkZone Visits NutraBio

My trip to NutraBio.

32161266_10155448544151517_5843624072193245184_nAs  readers who have followed my stuff over the years know all too well, I have been a consumer advocate for decades. I have tried to educate people on issues such as proprietary blends, how companies source their ingredients, or whether they test their products regularly for purity, dose, and contaminants. I have also written a number of articles and made videos on how products are really produced, passed the marketing hoopla and claims.  Most also know I rarely recommend any companies, and if I do, it’s few and far between. When I do, it’s because I personally know the owner, or have done some consulting work for the company and know how it operates, where and how products are sourced and produced,  and so forth. One company I have recommended over the years was NutraBio. NutraBio was perhaps the first company in the sports nutrition space to take a “no proprietary blend” position with their formulas, and is generally transparent about their sourcing. They also go through great lengths and expense to produce products with no fillers and excipients where ever possible. If you look at the label of various supplements, you will see “other ingredients” that may contain binders, fillers, flow agents, coatings & glazes, and so on. You will not see that with NutraBio products. It should be noted, those often added excipients are not generally harmful, but NutraBio has decided they want to offer as pure a product as is possible. To be clear, excipients found in some supplements are not necessarily a negative nor dangerous, tend to be found in very small amounts, and some products simply can’t be produced without them. I do not feel people need to go out of their way to avoid supplements that have added excipients, but for those who want to use products that don’t contain excipients or have sensitivities or allergies to them, NutraBio is an easy choice. Currently, I use NutraBio L-Tyrosine for my Bomb Proof Coffee recipe for example.

DSC00457

Mark G and your truly in a room that didn’t require our masks to be on at the time. In most of manufacturing section of the facility, the masks have to stay on the entire time.

On the surface, sounds great, but is it true or just a marketing angle? Many companies will make similar claims, but it’s more often than not, nothing more than BS marketing claims. I sent the owner of the company an email with some probing questions about some of the claims made and such for my own research and his response was “come see for yourself Will.”

Hence, I decided to see for myself per his offer,  so off to New Jersey I went to meet with owner of the company, Mark Glazier to get a tour and see if their claims passed the smell test. It should be noted NutraBio is a true manufacturer, which is rare in the industry. Vast majority of the time I go to visit a company for work or pleasure, it’s to see a corporate office and maybe a warehouse. I give a basic explanation of how that works in my vid “how your supplements are really made” for those who want more info on that. Mark and I did a vid that gets into the full details of how he goes about producing a product worth a watch that gets down to much more granular level, and allows people to see just how invested he is in the process that I will also post once done.

DSC00463

yours truly In one of the manufacturing rooms while it’s being cleaned

I spent approximately two days at the company touring the facility, doing some vids, talking with the employees and so forth. Summary finding? NutraBio is the real deal and a company that goes above and beyond minimum Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as a manufacturer, and tests its source ingredients and final products extensively, well passed any FDA GMP requirements. To produce some of the products with no excipients for example, is both time consuming and expenses to do, but that’s what Mark wanted to offer to consumers, and seeing it in person, impressed on me it’s more than a simple marketing claim. Be it a forum, a company, or a military organization, the culture starts at the top, usually with one person. Mark struck me as a perfectionist in all things and his work ethic (he’s a member of Hall Of Fame of Martial Arts for example) comes through in every aspect of his company.

DSC00460

In front of one of the blending rooms.

NutraBio started out as a single ingredient company selling in bulk, and more recently moved onto offering their own formulas, from pre workouts to protein blends and so forth.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a company that produces their own products and goes above and beyond what’s required of them by law to guarantee what’s on the label is in the product, in the doses listed, using quality ingredients that are tested extensively, NutraBio has that covered.

 

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