Frequent consumption of red and processed meat has been shown in population studies to be positively correlated with cardiovascular disease [1-3], cancer and type 2 diabetes. Recent meta-analyses also indicate that it increases total mortality . Hence, a high meat intake (regardless of its fat quantity and quality) is generally perceived to be unhealthy and something that should be avoided. However, although there are many studies documenting these associations, results are not always consistent and there are several methodological issues which weakens the strength of their findings (more on that in a bit). In the same way as the putative health risks of red meat consumption is investigated, its documented health benefits (which I will cover below) are equally as important and must be given a fair chance in the establishment of public health messages in relation to red meat consumption. In this article I will therefore cover both the risks and benefits associated with red meat consumption, and after having taken all the scientific data into consideration, argue that meat has been unfairly blamed…
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a recent study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass readers will want to check out. The results of this study will be covered HERE and in a future article by Monica. This excellent article below by Monica discusses the safety of ARA supplements and possible health benefits that set the record straight on this fatty acid…
In part 1 I outlined the background to the “ARA is bad” theory, and presented studies that have refuted this notion. Part 1 also explains the importance of distinguishing the different omega-6 fatty acids, LA and ARA, and describes the bell-shaped relationship between ARA and EPA + DHA in cell membranes.
In this part you will learn about safety aspects and potential health benefits (!) of ARA supplementation…
Safety and Health Effects of ARA supplementation
With the bad reputation that ARA has, let’s start by looking at safety data. On a typical modern diet (that includes meat, eggs and fish) the average intake of ARA is approximately 100–200 mg ARA per day.[1-5] Several studies have investigated safety aspects of ARA supplementation in different populations.
When healthy volunteers were given over 7 times the usual intake of ARA (i.e. 1500 to 1700 g ARA per day, compared to usual intake of 200 mg ARA per day) in a 7 week controlled feeding study, no effects on platelet aggregation, bleeding times, the balance of vasoactive metabolites, serum lipid levels, or immune response were observed.[6-10] Likewise, in a recent study on healthy men aged 26-60 years, supplementation with 840 mg ARA per day for 4 weeks had no effect on any metabolic parameter or platelet function.
A study in healthy Japanese men and women aged 55-70 investigated whether ARA supplementation affects clinical parameters involved in cardiovascular, inflammatory, and allergic diseases. Subjects were supplemented with ARA-enriched oil (240 or 720 mg ARA per day) or placebo for 4 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period. The fatty acid contents of plasma phospholipids, clinical parameters, and AA metabolites were determined at baseline, 2, 4, and 8 weeks. It was found that ARA content in plasma phospholipids in the ARA supplemented groups increased dose-dependently and was almost the same at 2 weeks and at 4 weeks. The elevated ARA content decreased to nearly baseline during a 4-week washout period. Contrary to expectations, during the supplementation and washout periods, no changes were observed in plasma phospholipid EPA and DHA content. There were no changes in clinical blood parameters related to cardiovascular, inflammatory and allergic diseases.
The Journal Of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM) covers a wide range of topics focused on special operations forces (SOF). Topics range from medical procedures and other medical based focus (diseases, etc) SOF can face and need medical treatment for. JSOM also covers topics such as training and injury prevention, and even topics such as nutritional supplements that may benefit SOF. For example, JSOM recently published a review of the importance of vitamin D for soldiers.
So, having a personal and professional interest in the topic, it should not be a big surprise I read this journal. Recently Dr. Kyle Hoedebecke and yours truly had an LTE published in JSOM. This short paper was in response to a review paper titled “Operational stressors on physical performance in special operators and countermeasures to improve performance: a review of the literature.” by O’Hara R, Henry A, Serres J, Russell D, Locke R.
In this review the authors concluded that “The rigors of both physical training and prolonged deployments without adequate rest and food intake can compromise physical performance.” After doing a literature search, they concluded that “Specific countermeasures for these known decrements are lacking in the scientific literature.”
Dr. Hoedebecke and I responded that there were published studies that demonstrate a number of nutritional supplements may counteract some of the decrements of training and combat specific to special operations forces (SOF) and other military personnel, and we covered a small sample of nutritional supplements that can directly assist SOF and other military personnel. This is the citation and abstract from what we submitted and was published in JSOM as response:
Hoedebecke K, Brink W. Operational stressors on physical performance in special operators and countermeasures to improve performance: a review of the literature. J Spec Oper Med. 2014 Summer;14(2):84-5.
In the article “Operational Stressors on Physical Performance in Special Operators and Countermeasures to Improve Performance: A Review of the Literature,” O’Hara and colleagues* performed a literature search for “specific countermeasures to reduce or prevent significant decrements in physical performance and reduce musculoskeletal injuries” with the conclusion that “specific countermeasures for these known decrements are lacking in the scientific literature.” This deduction, however, proves inaccurate as evidence within the military community does exist and, unfortunately, has been undervalued. Provided here are only a few examples of present Special Operations Force (SOF)-relevant supplement research.
NOTE: If you’d like to read the full paper by O’Hara R, Henry A, Serres J, Russell D, Locke R. and the response to their paper by Dr. Hoedebecke and myself, JSOM does give a 3 day free membership where you can read back issues, full papers, etc. If interested, go HERE for your free 3 day membership so you can read the above papers as well as others you may find interesting.
Below is a side bar from a lengthy article I recently wrote on the latest studies covering the many potential benefits of creatine. This short side bar covers the possible contraindications of creatine
Are there any contraindications Of Creatine Monohydrate?
Hundreds of studies to date have shown that creatine monohydrate is an amazingly non-toxic and safe supplement with numerous benefits. Further studies directly examining possible side effects, both prospective and long-term retrospective (up to five years), have failed to find any serious side effects of creatine supplementation (65-69) on various markers studied, such as renal function, hepatic function, and others. So are there contraindications of creatine monohydrate?
Although creatine monohydrate is clearly safe for healthy people with a very low side-effects profile using up to 10 grams per day, are there specific groups who should not use it?
Again, the data suggest very few actual contraindications. The only people who should avoid creatine supplements are those with a history of renal disease and/or those taking nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys) medications. There’s been a handful of case reports that show very high doses of creatine (and the reports were not always clear as to what form of creatine was used) were associated with kidney dysfunction.(70) Typical for such a simple case report, it’s unclear what other medications were involved or pre-existing medical condition existed.
However tenuous the connection between high-dose creatine monohydrate and pre-existing kidney dysfunction, it’s prudent to advise people with a history of renal disease and/or those taking nephrotoxic medications to avoid creatine supplementation until more data exists examining that connection. As creatine monohydrate supplementation may cause a transient increase in creatinine levels in some individuals, it may act as a false indicator of renal dysfunction.
Full Article HERE
How many times have we done or seen people at the gym doing the “wind-mill” stretch before a workout? Sooner or later every weightlifter will experience pain and tenderness in their shoulder. The pain usually lingers for weeks if not months, and the pain is usually more noticeable when performing a bench and/or overhead press, but it gets better later into the workout. Chances are someone has said that it is possibly bursitis or rotator cuff issue, and rest and “take it easy” is the best way to treat it, but taking it easy or rest isn’t going to happen.
How It All Started
It didn’t take much. He was tall and lanky; I was not. But at 5’2” and 100lbs, I was far from overweight. All he did was wrap his hand around my arm, and then do the same to his own. An alarm sounded in my head — but on the outside, I didn’t move a muscle. I knew exactly what he was doing: he wanted to see if I was bigger than he was. I turned away very calmly without a word and left the room.
The following day began as usual. I hung around my 13 year-old peers, giggled my way through class, and turned in assignments late. Then lunchtime rolled around and I simply sat there. “I’m just not hungry,” I told everyone. The truth was, that friend from yesterday was sitting too close for my comfort. I couldn’t let him see me eat.
And so began the beginning of my dark days. As the months rolled by, I continued to skip lunch. And as I began to drop weight off of my already-petite frame, the compliments started rolling in. You’re so pretty. You’re so skinny. How do I get a body like yours? I loved it. No – I relished it, and I craved more. My breakfasts soon consisted of a few quick bites of whatever was on the table, and dinner was cut in half. My stomach growled on a constant basis, but that only made me feel strong. I have the power to resist the food; I can do anything.
Whey protein has become a staple nutritional supplement with both athletic populations requiring the highest possible quality protein to help recuperate from exercise, and those interested in the various health and disease fighting benefits of whey.
However, whey is a complex protein which leads to various questions regarding this biologically active protein. Some of this confusion has stemmed from the marketing efforts of various companies competing for sales in a very competitive market. Some of the confusion stems from a simple misunderstanding of the science of whey.
This Q&A will attempt to address some of the most common questions regarding whey as it applies to some of the major differences between types of whey, such as whey concentrates and whey isolates and other common sources of confusion. For in-depth information on whey and its many potential health benefits, read the “50 Shades Of Whey”
Q1:“What are the essential differences and advantages/disadvantages of each type of whey protein? Isolate, concentrates?”
A hotly debated recent study, the SELECT trial, has casted doubt on the well documented health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. This study found that a higher content of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DPA+DHA) in blood plasma was associated with a with a greater risk of low-grade (44%) and high-grade (71%) prostate cancers over a 5-year follow-up 1. Associations were similar for individual long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Higher linoleic acid (omega-6) was associated with a 25% reduced risk of low-grade and 23% reduced risk of total prostate cancer 1 .
This has understandably generated confusion among the general public and intense discussions among health professionals and researchers. However, a deeper look at the data and study methodology reveals a different picture…
Will Brink and Dr Lopez have previously commented on the notorious omega-3 / prostate cancer study:
Here is my take on it…
Most everyone knows that strength training is important if you want a strong body and a nicely-muscled physique, but it’s also important for many other non-cosmetic reasons.
A study published by a German science journal pointed out the numerous benefits of strength training for aging gracefully and healthily, including: reduction of age related muscle loss, increase in muscle strength and mass (as the trainee in this story, demonstrates in the gym), reduction in the loss of bone density, and improvement in posture and coordination (which helps decrease the likelihood of falls).
Now before you start thinking: “it’s probably too late for me,” or “the gym is for muscle heads,” or “the weight room is intimidating,” I’d like you to introduce Tom, a client of mine for over 6 months, who is 76 years young.
My latest article in Police Magazine (June 2013 Vol 37 #6)
By adopting more functional training, tactical law enforcement units can improve their effectiveness and extend the longevity of their operators.
In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift in how the tactical community approaches its fitness training. The majority of this change has come from the individual operators looking to improve their general physical preparedness for the job via an emphasis on more functional training.
Functional fitness is all the rage these days in the civilian gyms, and it has recently found some acceptance by various branches of the military as well as law enforcement. Everyone and his mother has jumped on the functional fitness or “functional training” bandwagon, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.