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…
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….
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…
Mitochondria are the ‘energy powerhouse of the cell’ that convert the foods we eat to usable energy our body uses to fuel life sustaining reactions within cells, our daily activities and athletic performance 1-4. While energy production capability and muscle performance might seem to be more relevant to sports, it also equally important for achievement and maintenance of health throughout the life span. In this article I will describe how chronological aging affects our mitochondria, its implications and the ins-and-outs of a new type of supplements marketed at “exercise mimetics”.
Written by Monica Mollica
Everybody wants to stay young and vital throughout life. But aging is topic surrounded by many questions and myths; here we’ll get to the bottom of it.
Different types of Aging – Chronological Aging and Physiological Aging
Before we get started, I want to make a distinction of two types of aging; chronological and physiological (or biological).
Physiological age, also called biological age, is the result of many factors, many of which are under your control, and varies from person to person (even if they were born on the same date). It refers to age in terms of physical capacity.
Chronological aging refers to how long you have been alive, and is determined by a mathematical formula that is the same for everybody: current date minus date of birth. It is a function of time and cannot be slowed, stopped or accelerated (a side note: according to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, chronological can be modified, since as one approaches the speed of light, time slows down, and thus so does chronological age. But this isn’t relevant for us earthbound folks).
Physiological aging, on the other hand, describes the state of your body. What’s interesting with physiological aging is that many of the factors that impact it are under your full control (e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep etc). While chronological and physiological aging are related, the years of your life doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the years of your body. Many people don’t like to tell their (chronological) age; however, if you have taken care of yourself you should be proud of it!
Thus, chronological age and physiologic age do not always coincide, and physical appearance and health status often do not always correspond to what is typical at a particular chronological age. When talking about aging and anti-aging, it is the physiological age we’re referring to. Ok, now that we got that cleared out, let’s move on.
To most people outside the gym, the word “muscles” brings to mind huge bulging muscle bellies and bodybuilders. The importance of muscle mass, strength, and metabolic function in the performance of exercise and sports, has never been questioned. However, muscles aren’t just for show. Here I will explain why.
Big Pharma Looks To Cash In On Sarcopenia
I wrote an extensive article on sarcopenia (age related loss of muscle masss) in 2007 HERE. As expected, this has become a big area of research and interest. An article just published in the NY Times business section entitled “Doctors Seek Way to Treat Muscle Loss” covers the commercial interests in this condition. Various comments I don’t agree with, but it’s clear, as I predicted, this would be an area of focus once it was fully appreciated how much $$$ it costs the health care system and how much $$$ can be made from a magic pill to treat it.
Doctors Seek Way to Treat Muscle Loss
By ANDREW POLLACK
Published: August 30, 2010. NY Times
DHEA; The Most Underrated Supplement For Women?
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…
Why Women Need Weight Training!
It’s nice to see that in 2010 the mainstream media is finally starting to “get it” when it comes to the benefits of resistance training (weight training baby!) for women. I wrote an extensive commentary on the topic a while back, that debunked the myths and covered some of the science of why women specifically benefit from weight training. For example, some of the benefits listed were:
- Enhanced bone modeling to increase bone strength and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Stronger connective tissues to increase joint stability and help prevent injury
- Increased functional strength for sports and daily activity
- Increased lean body mass and decreased nonfunctional body fat
- Higher metabolic rate because of an increase in muscle and a decrease in fat
- Improved self-esteem and confidence