Boost Your Metabolism with Green Tea

Today’s post is more to point you to a previous post. Call it Throwback Tuesday if ya like.green tea

The post is titled Wanna Boost Your Metabolism and Burn More Fat? Drink Green Tea.

Although some studies published since then haven’t shown as significant of a fat-burning effect, there’s still a trend that points toward an increase in fat burning and a decrease in fat storage.

What is conclusive, however, is that green tea is flat out good for you. It’s something pretty much all of us should drink more of.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

Depressed? Probiotics May Help…Here’s How

It may sound like a stretch, or even somewhat hokey, but there’s actually an ever-increasing amount of legit scientific evidence that points to the fact that taking probiotic supplements may help alleviate depression. Let me explain.

The Gut-Brain Connectiongut brain

If you’ve ever felt ‘butterflies in your stomach’ prior to some nerve-wracking event, then you already knew that your brain and gut were connected. However, we tend to think that it’s the brain that affects the gut, but not necessarily the other way around.

As our understanding of the human body improves, we’re learning more and more about how that gut-brain connection is a two-way street. In other words, the gut does affect the brain, not just the other way around.

Just how the gut and brain are connected is a complex issue to say the least. And it’s something we’re really just beginning to understand. I’m just going to cover a couple high points here.

It is said (for example in this article published by the American Psychological Association) that the gut makes about 95% of the serotonin in our body. We tend to think of this feel-good neurotransmitter as only being made by the brain, when most of it is actually made in the gut. (By the way, when I say ‘gut,’ I’m referring to the GI tract, in particular the intestines.)

Continuing on, research has found that tweaking the bacteria in the gut does, in fact, alter brain chemistry. For example, improving the amount of ‘good bacteria’ vs ‘bad bacteria’ helps improve our response to stress, thus reducing anxiety. The same article says “Such findings offer the tantalizing possibility of using beneficial, or probiotic, bacteria to treat mood and anxiety disorders…”

If you want some more evidence, here’s a UCLA article talking about how dietary changes affect gut biochemistry and brain function.

Sharing a bit of my ‘clinical’ experience with you…over the years I’ve noticed a strong correlation between people who have issues with depression and those suffer from GI problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), in particular. In fact, I’d say well over half of people I’ve worked with that have depression, also have a GI problem.

Probiotics for Depression

There’s tons more we could talk about regarding this topic of how our gut affects our brain, but I’d end up turning this into a book chapter (or even a full book) if I were to try to do the topic any justice.

Instead, my aim here is simply to make you aware of the connection between our gut health and our brain health.

And I want you to be aware that if you suffer from depression, or perhaps even anxiety, you really should focus on taking care of your GI tract by nourishing it with some good bacteria.

One obvious way to increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut is to take a probiotic supplement. Along the same lines, a prebiotic supplement could help, too. You could also consume more yogurt and/or eat fermented foods to boost the good bacteria in your gut.

(Later we’ll discuss more about prebiotics vs probiotics, but for now just know that prebiotics are certain types of fiber that enable your gut to make good bacteria, whereas probiotics actually are live bacteria.)

To me, this whole gut-bacteria/brain connection is fascinating. While you may not be a big nerd like me, it’s still a topic you need to know a bit about in order to live as healthily and happily as you can…so we’ll definitely come back to this soon.

Your friend in fitness…including the fitness of your brain and gut,

Dr Clay

Sources:

  1. That Gut Feeling by Dr. Siri Carpenter; American Psychological Association, September 2012, Vol 43, No 8
  2. Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function, UCLA study shows; Rachel Champeau, UCLA Newsroom; May 28, 2013
  3. A bunch of other stuff I read when I got off on this gut-brain connection topic like this, and this.

Rebound Hypoglycemia May Be Why You’re Tired After Meals

Ever find yourself getting tired not too long after a meal? If so, it may be due to something called rebound hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia is simply low blood sugar (aka serum glucose) – hypo, meaning too little; glycemia, meaning glucose/sugar in the blood.

Rebound hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that occurs as a result of insulin being oversecreted in response to a carb-containing meal. In fact, blood sugar often ends up lower than it was before you even ate.

Long story short, when we eat carbs, insulin is secreted to transport those carbs to where they need to go (i.e. muscles, liver). But in some people, too much insulin is secreted, which grabs too much glucose from the blood…thus leaving you with too little glucose in the blood.

This rebound hypoglycemia typically leaves you tired, sleepy, and often times hungry for more carbs…especially sugary carbs.

How To Avoid Rebound Hypoglycemia

Although much could be written about carbs, insulin, and avoiding rebound hypoglycemia, I’ll give you the uber-condensed version for now.

They key is to avoid eating too many carbs, and to especially avoid eating too many sugary carbs. For example, a small cup of oatmeal isn’t very likely to cause rebound hypoglycemia, whereas a big bowl of frosted flakes is more likely to.

Likewise, fiber, fat, and protein all tend to slow or moderate the glycemic response…so you’d be less likely to have a big drop glucose after a meal that contained those.

Well, if you do tend to get tired after some meals, now you know one of the likely causes – rebound hypoglycemia.

Rock on!

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

Related Reading: wanna learn more about insulin and how to manipulate it to gain muscle and/or lose fat? If so, check out this article I wrote called The Insulin Advantage: How to Bulk and Cut on the Same Day.

Cholesterol-Lowering Statins Reduce CoQ10 Levels – PLEASE Take Note!

If you, or someone you know, takes a statin drug (i.e. Lipitor, Crestor, etc) to treat high cholesterol, this is important info! So please take note and/or share if it applies to you or someone you know.

Medical Doctors (and DO’s) often prescribe medications to treat high cholesterol levels. Because of increasingly poor diets, many people these days do have high cholesterol…which leads to a LOT of people using cholesterol-lowering drugs.

(Personally, I feel that elevated cholesterol should be treated via diet and exercise, and that cholesterol-lowering drugs should be used as more of a last resort. More on that another time.)

Cholesterol-Lowering ‘Statin’ Overview

When someone is prescribed a medication to lower their cholesterol, it’s typically one that works via the reduction of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase – the enzyme responsible for manufacturing cholesterol in our bodies.

These drugs can, therefore, be called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Lipitor (generically called atorvastatin)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Pravachol (pravastatin)
  • Mevacor (lovastatin)
  • Lescol (fluvastatin)
  • Livalo (pitavastatin)

Notice how all of these drugs have “…statin” in their generic name? Well, that’s why they’re called statins.

Well, these statins (aka HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) have been found to not only lower total cholesterol, but also CoQ10 (aka Coenzyme Q10 – an important nutrient).  [Read more…]