To most people, the mere word “muscles” brings to mind huge muscular bodybuilders. The importance of muscle mass, strength, and power for physical performance in exercise and sports is obvious. However, muscles aren’t just for show. Here I will explain why….
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.
EDITORS NOTE: The New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) currently has a poll for people to vote for or against the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) based on a case study they present. Currently, the poll is in the negative for TRT, which is totally illogical based on the case study. NJEM is a very influential journal in the medical community and followed closely by the non medical community, so the poll results do matter as to how both medical professionals and non (including the media…) view TRT. If you’re for TRT (and if you have read the many articles on the topic on BrinkZone you should be!) I highly recommend you take a few seconds to vote on this poll. It’s on the right side of the NJEM page and a tad small.
The highly acclaimed medical journal New England Journal of Medicine has a poll for people to vote “For or Against Testosterone Replacement Therapy”.
Poll open through Dec 3, 2014. There is still time for health conscious folks and healthcare professionals to make their voice heard.
Join the fight for the justice of testosterone and men’s health!
Creatine is one of the few dietary supplements that have a very solid scientific support for its efficacy in increasing strength, explosive performance and muscle mass. So the question in not whether it is effective, but rather how to supplement it to reap maximal effectiveness?
There are several theories on how to take creatine; some say you should load and then lower the dose to maintenance, while others say you can get good results by a constant low dosage regimen without loading. Yet others say you should cycle the creatine and take breaks from it in between cycles. And then we have the issue of dosages and how to ingest it. In addition, there is a lot of confusion about the myriad for creatine forms that claim to be superior over the gold standard creatine monohydrate – the form that was used in research which proved its efficacy. Are the new fancy creatine-super-duper formulations really worth their price? Let’s tackle all theses creatine issues here…
Testosterone deficiency, also known as hypogonadism, is a state with sub-optimal circulating levels of testosterone concomitant with clinical signs and symptoms attributed to low physiological testosterone levels.[1-3]
Sexual dysfunction is the most commonly recognized symptom of testosterone deficiency. However, testosterone also plays a broader role in men’s health. A growing body of evidence has established associations between low testosterone levels and multiple risk factors and diseases including the metabolic syndrome, obesity, type 2 diabetes, sarcopenia, frailty, mobility limitations, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment, depression, cardiovascular disease, and reduced longevity.[3-12]
In this article I provide an overview of the detrimental impact of testosterone deficiency on a wide range of health outcomes.
“The human body is an infinitely complex, but wholly logical system” – Will Brink
Back in the day I wrote the first article on the value of omega-3 fatty acids (via fax oil) for health and fat loss in the major bodybuilding publications. In fact, my first article on the value of flax oil – a source of the Omega 3 lipid LNA – was rejected because the very idea of intentionally adding fat to lose fat and improve health was such a foreign concept at that time. Yes, we are talking pre Internet here! Lucky for me, another magazine – MuscleMag International – ran the article, and the rest is history. It’s safe to say I have been researching and writing about Essential fatty acids (EFA’s), the value of omega-3 fats, the importance of balancing fatty acid intakes, and so forth, for a extensive amount of time. I am also partially to blame for the overly simplistic view of these fatty acids that followed and hope to atone for that with this article.
Much of what we understood at that time, and is still being pushed to this day by some, was an overly simple and generalized view of the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and their effects on human physiology. As time progressed, and additional research was published, the picture has become much more refined and accurate.
The old paradigm could be essentially summarized as “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” and that was about it. Other than a few who have really taken the time to research the topic, a position that remains to this day. Per usual, such entrenched views tend to change very slowly.
How did that start? Early research found the Standard American diet (SAD) provides excessive intakes of omega-6 lipids and minimal omega-3 lipids which resulted in an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. As science writer Monica Mollica put it so accurately in her recent article on BrinkZone.com, “In turn, an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio has been linked to a number of common chronic diseases, notably cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and certain psychiatric diseases such as depression. The omega-6 fatty acid that has been vilified and blamed to give rise to these detrimental health outcomes is arachidonic acid (ARA).” Hence, we ended up with an “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” model that attributed most of the negatives to ARA, with advice people should avoid ARA. Those concerned with their health increased their intake of omega-3 fats via fish, flax, supplements, etc., and reduced their intake of omega-6, to improve their 03/06 ratios.
All well and good, but it’s just not that simple as life rarely is, much less human biology. As Candice Pert Ph.D., discoverer of the opiate receptor said “Whenever something does not fit the reigning paradigm, the initial response in the mainstream is to deny the facts.” Such is the case with the “Omega-3 good, Omega-6 bad” model that some cling to in spite of the ever mounting data showing it to be an outdated model not supported by the modern data.
Testosterone therapy has been in use for more than 70 years for the treatment of hypogonadism, also called testosterone deficiency. In the past 30 years there has been a growing body of scientific research demonstrating that testosterone deficiency is associated with increased body weight/adiposity/waist circumference, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction (ED) and increased risk of mortality [2, 3]. In line with the detrimental health outcomes seen with testosterone deficiency, testosterone therapy has been shown to confer beneficial effects on multiple risk factors and risk biomarkers related to these clinical conditions.
Despite these well-documented health benefits, testosterone therapy is still controversial, in large part due to a few flawed studies about potential elevated heart attack (myocardial infarction) risk with testosterone therapy. On July 2, 2014, a new study was published, demonstrating that testosterone therapy is not associated with an increased risk of heart attack, and may actually confer protection against heart attack…
A long-held belief is that testosterone stimulates development of prostate cancer and/or accelerates its growth. This fear is the most common reason for doctors’ reluctance to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, even in hypogonadal men [1, 2] , which unnecessarily deprives many hypogonadal men of clinical benefits.
This summary gives an overview of an in-depth review of current literature regarding the relationship of testosterone levels and prostate cancer, and the effect of testosterone replacement therapy on prostate cancer progression and recurrence. Key studies which have refuted the old belief that testosterone has harmful effects on the prostate are presented, along the new testosterone-prostate paradigm known as the saturation model.
Surprisingly, new research provocatively suggests that it is not high testosterone levels that are problematic for prostate cancer, but to the contrary that it is low testosterone that is associated with worrisome cancer features and outcomes…and new experimental research has uncovered mechanisms that explain how low testosterone levels may be detrimental for prostate health, and support the new view that testosterone therapy actually may have beneficial effects with regard to prostate cancer…
EDITORS NOTE: A recent video I (Will Brink) did HERE also discusses the fact T is just as important women as it is for men, yet continues to be ignored by most women and the medical community at large. Monica’s excellent article below give the full details!
Testosterone is popularly known as the “male” hormone. While it is true that men have much higher levels of testosterone than women, and that testosterone contributes to secondary sex characteristics that physiologically distinguish men from women (increased muscle mass and facial/body hair), this does not mean that testosterone isn’t important in women.
In the same way that men need estrogen, aka the “female” hormone, for optimal health, women need testosterone for optimal health. This article will describe testosterone physiology in women and its importance for women’s health, and refute the two prevailing myths that “testosterone is un-physiological in women”, and that “there is no research or clinical experience supporting the use of testosterone therapy in women”…. you may be surprised…!
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass, but was not able to give details on the study at that time as it had yet to be published as an abstract or full paper. Finally, Monica now covers the meat of what most people really want to know about ARA: Can it increase strength and muscle mass as a supplement? The answer appears to be a solid yes. This excellent article below covers the recent study mentioned in my vid and write up on the study and gives the details, as well as a prior study. This is the must read article of the ARA series of articles on BrinkZone!
EDITORS NOTE II: The brand of ARA used in the studies covered in this article – the brand with longest track record and most extensive feedback by users – is X Factor by Molecular Nutrition. For supplement companies looking to carry ARA, the manufacturer of ARA is Cargill and the contact (wholesale inquiries only) is firstname.lastname@example.org
In part 1 I outlined the background on ARA and why it traditionally has been, and still is in certain circles is, deemed the “bad guy” fatty acid. Part 2 covered its safety aspects and presented research findings indicating, to the contrary of the “ARA is bad dogma”, potential health benefits of ARA supplementation. In this part I will present new research showing potential beneficial effects of ARA supplementation, in conjunction with resistance training, on physical performance, muscle growth and strength gains…
The impetus for human studies on the effect of ARA supplementation on muscle growth and strength gains came from early studies on isolated animal muscle and muscle cell culture.[1-6] It was found that an increase in ARA flux through the COX enzyme (either induced by stretch or ARA supplementation) promotes production of the prostaglandins PGF2-alpha and PGE2 in muscle tissue, and that PGF2-alpha potently stimulates muscle protein synthesis [2, 5, 6] while PGE2 stimulates muscle degradation.[1, 2]