Soon To Come: Exercise, The Drug

October 2, 2015 11:10 am 1 comment

First, Bryan Ferry told us that Love is a drug; now researchers at the University of Sydney arimgrese suggesting that exercise could soon be a drug too. A University of Sydney news story reports that researchers at the school have identified 1,000 molecular changes that occur in our muscles when we exercise, providing the world’s first comprehensive exercise blueprint. Next, they hope to design a drug that mimics the beneficial changes. Yes, it’s a long-term goal, but they have already narrowed down the therapeutic possibilities within the blueprint using mathematical and engineering-based analysis.

“Most traditional drugs target individual molecules,” says researcher David James. “With this exercise blueprint we have proven that any drug that mimics exercise will need to target multiple molecules and possibly even pathways, which are a combination of molecules working together. We believe this is the key to unlocking the riddle of drug treatments to mimic exercise.”  Maybe.

10 Minute Walk Counters 6 Hours of Sitting

October 1, 2015 10:18 am 0 comments

Can a ten-minute walk reverse the effects of six hours of sitting? Researchers at the University of Missouri thiwalkingnk so, at least in one respect. A U of Missouri news story reports that when researchers compared the vascular function of 11 healthy young men before and after a period of prolonged sitting they found that blood flow in the popliteal — an artery in the lower leg — was greatly reduced after sitting at a desk for six hours. Researchers then had the participants take a short walk, and found that 10 minutes of self-paced walking could restore the impaired vascular function and improve blood flow.

Eat Hot Peppers, Live Longer

September 29, 2015 8:00 am 2 comments

imgresYes, it does work, at least according to researchers at Tulane University. A Tulane news release reports that epidemiologists at the school followed the diets and health of 500,000 Chinese people for seven years, tracking their intake of chili peppers and their likelihood of dying. Ready? The envelope please…… The researchers found that people who ate hot chili peppers every day reduced their risk of premature dying by 14 percent, as compared to people who ate chili peppers less than once a week. But wait, the researchers found that even in people who ate hot peppers one to two days a week, there was some evidence of longer lives. How does that work? Not sure, but the researchers point out that chili peppers contain capsaicin, which decreases appetite, and may reduce risk of obesity and offer antibacterial properties. It also may help protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other conditions. Chili peppers have also been shown to reduce blood pressure and oxidative stress.

Which Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure Best?

September 28, 2015 8:40 am 0 comments

Which exercise is best fiStock_000047811792_Fullor lowering blood pressure? New York Times fitness columnist Gretchen Reynolds puts that question to Glenn Gaesser, the director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University and an expert on exercise and hypertension. Gaesser’s answer? Just about any exercise. Exercise helps lower blood presser, he says, because it makes blood vessels a bit more flexible, and that flexibility is most evident during and immediately after exercise. For that reason, says Gaesser, it’s a good idea to do several bouts of exercise throughout the day. Gaesser’s own research has shown that three ten-minute walks throughout they day do more to control blood pressure than one 30-minute walk does. His work also suggests that the intensity of exercise is much less important than the frequency. Simple walks, pedaling a bike, or even standing up for ten minutes at a time will help, if done often enough.

Beer, At Least Some Beer, May Lower Heart Risk

September 25, 2015 7:49 am 0 comments

imagesSome beer drinking, twice a week beer drinking to be precise, appears to lower the risk of heart attack by 30 percent, when compared to heavy beer drinking, or no beer drinking at all. One more thing: It may only work if you’re a woman. That’s right, a woman. A University of Gothenburg news release reports that researchers at the school surveyed 1,500 women, asking about the frequency of their consumption of beer, wine or spirits (from ‘daily’ to ‘nothing in the past 10 years’), and about various physical symptoms. A 32-year followup survey found a statistically significant connection between high consumption of spirits (defined as more frequent than once or twice per month) and an almost 50 per cent higher risk of dying of cancer, compared with those who drink less frequently. It also found that women who drank beer once or twice per week to once or twice per month ran a 30 per cent lower risk of a heart attack than women who drank beer several times per week/daily or never drank beer. The bottom line: Moderate consumption of beer seems to protect women from heart attacks.

Fidget Your Way To Health

September 24, 2015 7:42 am 0 comments

Feeling fidgety? That’s a good thing, according to resevibrating_beltsarchers at the University of Leeds. Scientists there examined data from the University of Leeds’ UK Women’s Cohort Study, one of the largest studies of diet and health of women in the UK, which asked, among other things, if women were fidgety, moderately fidgety or very fidgety. Ready? The envelope please… A University of Leeds news release reports that the researchers found an increased risk of mortality from sitting for long periods, but only in those who consider themselves very occasional fidgeters. Among those who described themselves as moderately of very fidgety, there was no increased risk of mortality from longer sitting times, compared to more active women.

The Trouble With Yohimbe

September 23, 2015 8:39 am 0 comments

That’s right, yohimbe. It’simgres an African tree whose bark supposedly yields an aphrodisiac, sold widely as a dietary supplement to men hoping to boost their sexual performance. Rachel Zimmerman, writing for WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, doesn’t tell us if it works, but she does pass on a warning from researchers at Harvard Medical School who tested 49 yohimbe products for accuracy in their labeling. The finding? Not so good. Most of them had inaccurate data either about the quantity of active ingredient or an incomplete list of side effects, such as headaches, panic attacks, and elevated blood pressure. In fact, only 22 percent of the supplements tested listed specific quantity of yohimbine on the label, and only 3 of 11 were accurately labeled, and those three didn’t contain the other compounds found in the tree bark. Yohimbe? Perhaps not.

Paleo Diet Works Great—For Inuit

September 22, 2015 8:22 am 0 comments

imgresGreat news for Inuit readers: the paleo diet should work pretty well for you. For everyone else, however, not so much. We know this because researchers at UC Berkeley have learned that the Inuit and their Siberian ancestors have special mutations in genes involved in fat metabolism. The mutations help them partly counteract the effects of a diet high in marine mammal fat, mostly from seals and whales that eat fish with high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The bad news? A UC Berkeley news release reports that those genetic mutations, found in nearly 100 percent of the Inuit, are found in a mere 2 percent of Europeans and 15 percent of Han Chinese, which means that these groups would synthesize omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids differently from the Inuit.The research provides some of the clearest evidence to date that human populations are actually adapted to particular diets; that is, they differ in the way they physiologically respond to diets. Just as genome sequencing can lead to personalized medicine tailored to an individual’s specific set of genes, so too may a person’s genome dictate a personalized diet. Bottom line: find your own diet.

Endurance Training Speeds Brain-Muscle Response

September 21, 2015 7:52 am 0 comments

imagesCommunication between the brain and the quadriceps is different in people who train by running long distances. That’s right; it’s quicker. We know this because a University of Kansas news release reports that researchers at the school measured muscle responses of five people who regularly run long distances, five who regularly lift weights and five sedentary who regularly do neither. The endurance trainers had taken part in a running program for at least three years, ran an average of 61 miles a week, and did not do any resistance training. The resistance trainers had consistently taken part in a weight-training program for at least four years. They took part in resistance training four to eight hours per week and reported doing at least one repetition of a back squat of twice their body mass. One reported doing a squat of 1.5 times his or her body weight, but none did aerobic activity such as swimming, jogging or cycling. The sedentary participants did not do any structured physical exercise for three years prior to the study. The researchers measured submaximal contraction and total force by having participants extend their leg, then exert more force, attempting to achieve from 40 to 70 percent of total force, which they could see represented in real time on a computer screen. Ready? The envelope please…The researchers found that the quadriceps muscle fibers of the endurance trainers were able to fire more rapidly than the strength trainers or the sedentary group. Why? More research is needed.

Beet Juice Boosts Muscle Power

September 18, 2015 8:03 am 1 comment

Yes, more news about the benefits of beet juice. This time, it comes from researchers at Washington University, who found that drinking concentrated beet juice — which is high in nitrates — increases muscle power in patients with heart failure. A Wash U news release reports that the researchers studied nine patients with heart failure, who, two hours after drinking concentrated beet juice, demonstrated a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee. The researchers saw the most substantial benefit when the muscles moved at the highest velocities, and noted that the increase in muscle performance was significant in quick, power-based actions. They saw no improvements in performance during longer tests that measure muscle fatigue. With the growing evidence of a positive effect from dietary nitrates in healthy people, elite athletes and now heart failure patients, the researchers also are interested in studying dietary nitrates in elderly populations.  “One problem in aging is the muscles get weaker, slower and less powerful,” said study co-author Andrew R. Coggan​. “Beyond a certain age, people lose about 1 percent per year of their muscle function. If we can boost muscle power like we did in this study, that could provide a significant benefit to older individuals.”

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Recent Comments

  • Art Jahnke: Probably works for anything with capsaicin
  • Ed Gates: Is it only true of chili peppers or will eating habaner
  • Mary Ann: How much beet juice, and how often. Straight beet juice
  • Patricia Ames: Hey, and take a look at a relatively new book, Yoga as
  • Art Jahnke: All apples