The mere word cholesterol gives many goose bumps. We have been indoctrinated since the well-known Framingham Studies that the higher the blood cholesterol level, the higher the risk of heart disease 1-3. However, much has been discovered in medical research since then. Today there is compelling evidence showing that strict reliance on the traditional cholesterol test that is routinely run in the clinic can falsely tell you and your doctor that you’re fine, even if you aren’t. Here you will find out what to look for…
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Nitric oxide (NO) boosting “pre-workout” supplements based on arginine are currently in the rage among many athletes, particularly bodybuilders and strength athletes. While it’s true that arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator 1, 2, most studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype that arginine supplementation increases muscle blood flow and/or performance in healthy folks 3-5. In my previous article “The L-Arginine Paradox” I explained why.
In this article I will cover the less well known, albeit highly significant, NO generating process, the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway. This “new” NO producing pathway holds a lot of promise and supplements that target it will probably will replace the current arginine based NO boosters in the near future….The nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway is especially interesting in that it not only has performance enhancing effects in non-diseased people, but also offers cardiovascular protection.
Some of the most popular supplements today are the so called pre-workout nitric oxide (NO) boosters 1, 2. These contain a panoply of ingredients, but the main one is arginine. The rationale goes that arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator 3, 4, which in turn supposedly will boost blood flow to exercising muscles, performance and recovery. And while arginine supplementation is beneficial for various clinical populations (see below), studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype surrounding arginine supplementation and nitric oxide boosters 1, 5, 6. Why? Let’s take a look under the hood…
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. - Voltaire
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For reasons that are not readily apparent, there appears to be a conservative political movement that opposes the use of testosterone in older men. This was clearly demonstrated by the report of the Institute of Medicine, which felt that testosterone is not yet ready for prime time and that there is still a need for studies to prove its efficacy 1. Along the same lines, the guidelines of the Endocrine Society on testosterone use in older men seem to be ultra-cautious 2 . But fortunately, there are also other, more liberal guidelines and recommendations 3-5.
Probably no other medical issue has been bombarded by the influx of “expert” views from all walks of life; from endocrinologists and psychiatrists to urological surgeons and gerontologists, from the lay press to the regulatory agencies and from the pharmaceutical to the entertainment industries. The dismal result of all this free-for all cacophony of opinions is a great deal of confusion, erroneous information and significant detriment to patients and physicians alike.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the reasons for the negative attitudes to male testosterone replacement therapy (I will cover post-menopausal testosterone replacement in an upcoming article), and the hard scientific data that refutes it…
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…
Consumption of red meat has been associated with fat gain (and weight gain) because of its high energy and fat content. Even though the role of fat intake as a causative factor for obesity recently has been seriously questioned, and rightly so, red meat still is a food that’s on the forbidden or avoid list of most diet plans. And while there are studies showing an association between meat intake and obesity [1-3], there are also studies not showing this [3-5]. And when digging deeper in the data, many of the studies that have reported a significant association with meat intake and fat gain / obesity have several flaws that invalidate their conclusions….
Recent studies have shown some controversial findings that high-rep training is as effective as the traditional medium rep training for muscle growth. If you missed it, check out my two previous articles:
In this article I will show some examples of how high-rep sets can be implemented in a serious weight lifting program, and look at the results of some studies that have investigated this.
In a previous article I reported the controversial results of a study that compared the muscle (myofibrillar) protein synthetic response of a traditional “bodybuilding” high-load low rep workout (90FAIL) to a higher rep low load workout (30FAIL), both taken to failure 1. If you haven’t read that article, here’s a lowdown:
The workout with higher rep lower load sets (30FAIL) was equally effective in stimulating muscle (myofibrillar) protein synthesis as a workout with low rep high load sets (90FAIL) 1. But more notably, the high-rep low load workout (30FAIL) resulted in a more prolonged muscle protein synthetic response and a greater elevation of muscle protein synthesis rates than the low rep high load workout (90FAIL) 24h after exercise, and also induced a greater stimulation of anabolic signalling pathways 1.
However, this study was an acute study with measurements taken for only 24 hours after one single workout bout. This doesn’t tell us whether higher rep sets would lead to long term increases in muscle mass, which is what we are ultimately interested in. Well, the same research group just published an actual 10 week training study 2 to find the answer to this nerve-itching question….
Risk factors and chronic diseases often get more attention among the middle-age and elderly population. And rightly so, since that’s when the manifestations of chronic diseases start to show up, and when people get reminded about their chronological age. An integral component of successful aging (also known as healthy aging) is the freedom of physical disabilities and debilitating chronic diseases 1-3. While it is true that it is never too late to become health conscious and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle 4,5, the fact remains that the sooner we start the better off we will be as we get older. If you are in your 20s or 30s, or have kids, read on…
In discussions about dieting, a topic that often comes up is that of “cheating”; is it good or bad to cheat once in a while during a diet?
In order to answer this questions appropriately, it is necessary to look at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of dieting, and the physiological and psychological responses they each elicit.