Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Environment, health and 5 minutes of your time.

This is our Jungle Miami's post of today.

In the Green of Health: Just 5 Minutes of 'Green Exercise' Optimal for Good Mental Health.
Published by: ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010).

How much "green exercise" produces the greatest improvement in mood and sense of personal well-being? A new study in the American Chemical Society's semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology has a surprising answer.

The answer is likely to please people in a society with much to do but little time to do it: Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health.

Jules Pretty and Jo Barton explain in the study that green exercise is physical activity in the presence of nature. Abundant scientific evidence shows that activity in natural areas decreases the risk of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. Until now, however, nobody knew how much time people had to spend in green spaces to get those and other benefits.

"For the first time in the scientific literature, we have been able to show dose-response relationships for the positive effects of nature on human mental health," Pretty said.

From an analysis of 1,252 people (of different ages, genders and mental health status) drawn from ten existing studies in the United Kingdom, the authors were able to show that activity in the presence of nature led to mental and physical health improvements.

They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming. The greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally-ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. All natural environments were beneficial including parks in urban settings. Green areas with water added something extra. A blue and green environment seems even better for health, Pretty noted.

From a health policy perspective, the largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose.

"We know from the literature that short-term mental health improvements are protective of long-term health benefits," Pretty said. "So we believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise," added Barton.

A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely as public policy, Pretty noted, adding that the economic benefits could be substantial.

Policy frameworks that suggest active living point to the need for changes to physical, social and natural environments, and are more likely to be effective if physical activity becomes an inevitable part of life rather than a matter of daily choice.


The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

Jo Barton, Jules Pretty. What is the Best Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010: 100325142930094 DOI: 10.1021/es903183r


Monday, June 28, 2010

After 10 minutes of exercise, hour-long boost

The fitter you are, the more benefit for your metabolism, study finds.


Ten minutes of brisk exercise triggers metabolic changes that last at least an hour. The unfair news for panting newbies: The more fit you are, the more benefits you just might be getting.

We all know that exercise and a good diet are important for health, protecting against heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. But what exactly causes the health improvement from working up a sweat or from eating, say, more olive oil than saturated fat? And are some people biologically predisposed to get more benefit than others?

They're among questions that metabolic profiling, a new field called metabolomics, aims to answer in hopes of one day optimizing those benefits — or finding patterns that may signal risk for disease and new ways to treat it.

"We're only beginning to catalog the metabolic variability between people," says Dr. Robert Gerszten of Massachusetts General Hospital, whose team just took a step toward that goal.

The researchers measured biochemical changes in the blood of a variety of people: the healthy middle-aged, some who became short of breath with exertion, and marathon runners.

First, in 70 healthy people put on a treadmill, the team found more than 20 metabolites that change during exercise, naturally produced compounds involved in burning calories and fat and improving blood-sugar control. Some weren't known until now to be involved with exercise. Some revved up during exercise, like those involved in processing fat. Others involved with cellular stress decreased with exercise.

Those are pretty wonky findings, a first step in a complex field. But they back today's health advice that even brief bouts of activity are good.

"Ten minutes of exercise has at least an hour of effects on your body," says Gerszten, who found some of the metabolic changes that began after 10 minutes on the treadmill still were measurable 60 minutes after people cooled down.

Your heart rate rapidly drops back to normal when you quit moving, usually in 10 minutes or so. So finding lingering biochemical changes offers what Gerszten calls "tantalizing evidence" of how exercise may be building up longer-term benefits.

Back to the blood. Thinner people had greater increases in a metabolite named niacinamide, a nutrient byproduct that's involved in blood-sugar control, the team from Mass General and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard reported last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Possible to tweak metabolic process?
Checking a metabolite of fat breakdown, the team found people who were more fit — as measured by oxygen intake during exercise — appeared to be burning more fat than the less fit, or than people with shortness of breath, a possible symptom of heart disease.

The extremely fit — 25 Boston Marathon runners — had ten-fold increases in that metabolite after the race. Still other differences in metabolites allowed the researchers to tell which runners had finished in under four hours and which weren't as speedy.

"We have a chemical snapshot of what the more fit person looks like. Now we have to see if making someone's metabolism look like that snapshot, whether or not that's going to improve their performance," says Gerszten, whose ultimate goal is better cardiac care.

Don't expect a pill ever to substitute for a workout — the new work shows how complicated the body's response to exercise is, says metabolomics researcher Dr. Debbie Muoio of Duke University Medical Center.

But scientists are hunting nutritional compounds that might help tweak metabolic processes in specific ways. For example, Muoio discovered the muscles of diabetic animals lack enough of a metabolite named carnitine, and that feeding them more improved their control of blood sugar. Now, Muoio is beginning a pilot study in 25 older adults with pre-diabetes to see if carnitine supplements might work similarly in people who lack enough.

Next up: With University of Vermont researchers, she's testing how metabolic changes correlate with health measures in a study of people who alternate between a carefully controlled Mediterranean diet and higher-fat diets.

"The longterm hope is you could use this in making our way toward personalized medicine," Muoio says.

More on


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strength or Resistance Training and Children. The facts.

Many parents ask us about Strength or Resistance Training and its impact on children. Today, Jungle Miami' s post touches this very important subject, by publishing the policy and guidelines set by the American Academy Of Pediatrics's Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (Revised on April, 1st, 2008).

Strength Training by Children and Adolescents

Pediatricians are often asked to give advice on the safety and efficacy of strength training programs for children and adolescents. This review, a revision of a previous American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, defines relevant terminology and provides current information on risks and benefits of strength training for children and adolescents.


Strength training (also known as resistance training) is a common component of sports and physical fitness programs for young people. Some adolescents and preadolescents may use strength training as a means to enhance muscle size and definition or to simply improve appearance.

Strength training programs may include the use of free weights, weight machines, elastic tubing, or body weight. The amount and form of resistance used as well as the frequency of resistance exercises is determined by specific program goals. Table 1 defines common terms used in strength training.


In addition to the obvious goal of getting stronger, strength training programs may be undertaken to improve sports performance, rehabilitate injuries, prevent injuries, and/or enhance long-term health. Studies have shown that strength training, when properly structured with regard to frequency, mode (type of lifting), intensity, and duration of program, can increase strength in preadolescents and adolescents.1-4 Gains in strength, muscle size, or power are lost after 6 weeks if resistance training is discontinued.5 Maintenance exercises may offset these losses, but specific recommendations for maintaining strength gains have not been defined for preadolescents and adolescents.

In preadolescents, proper resistance training can enhance strength without concomitant muscle hypertrophy. Such gains in strength can be attributed to neuromuscular "learning," in which training increases the number of motor neurons that will fire with each muscle contraction.2,6,7 This mechanism helps explain strength gains from resistance training in populations with low androgen levels, including females and preadolescent males. Strength training can also augment the muscle enlargement that normally occurs with pubertal growth in males and females.3,6,8,9

Strength training can improve an adolescent athlete's performance in weight lifting and power lifting. Strength training is a common practice in sports like football in which size and strength are desirable. Despite theoretical benefits, scientific studies have failed to consistently show that improved strength enhances running speed, jumping ability, or overall sports performance.6,10

Evidence that strength training programs help prevent sports-related musculoskeletal injuries in preadolescents and adolescents is inconclusive.11 Furthermore, there is no evidence that strength training will reduce the incidence of catastrophic sports-related injuries.


The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, through its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), has estimated the number of injuries that are associated with strength training equipment. The NEISS data neither specifies cause of injury nor separates recreational from competitive weight lifting injuries. From 1991 to 1996, an estimated 20 940 to 26 120 injuries occurred each year in individuals under 21 years old.12 According to NEISS data and other studies,13 muscle strains account for 40% to 70% of all injuries. The lumbar back is the most commonly injured area.11,14

A limited number of case reports have raised concern about epiphyseal injuries in the wrist and apophyseal injuries in the spine from weight lifting in skeletally immature individuals. Such injuries are uncommon and are believed to be largely preventable by avoiding improper lifting techniques, maximal lifts, and improperly supervised lifts.12,15,16

Strength training programs do not seem to adversely affect linear growth and do not seem to have any long-term detrimental effect on cardiovascular health.2,417-19 Young athletes with hypertension may experience further elevation of blood pressure from the isometric demands of strength training.8


A medical evaluation before commencing a formal strength training program can identify possible risk factors for injury and provide an opportunity to discuss training goals, techniques, and expectations. Risks involved with use of anabolic steroids and other body-building supplements are appropriate topics for discussion with any adolescent interested in getting bigger and stronger.20,21

If children or adolescents undertake a strength training program, they should begin with low-resistance exercises until proper technique is learned. When 8 to 15 repetitions can be performed, it is reasonable to add weight in small increments. Exercises should include all muscle groups and be performed through the full range of motion at each joint. To achieve gains in strength, workouts need to be at least 20 to 30 minutes long, take place a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week, and continue to add weight or repetitions as strength improves. There is no additional benefit to strength training more than 4 times per week.5

Young people who want to improve sports performance will generally benefit more from practicing and perfecting skills of the sport than from resistance training. If long-term health benefits are the goal, strength training should be combined with an aerobic training program.

1. Strength training programs for preadolescents and adolescents can be safe and effective if proper resistance training techniques and safety precautions are followed.

2. Preadolescents and adolescents should avoid competitive weight lifting, power lifting, body building, and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity.

3. When pediatricians are asked to recommend or evaluate strength training programs for children and adolescents, the following issues should be considered: a. Before beginning a formal strength training program, a medical evaluation should be performed by a pediatrician. If indicated, a referral may be made to a sports medicine physician who is familiar with various strength training methods as well as risks and benefits in preadolescents and adolescents.

b b. Aerobic conditioning should be coupled with resistance training if general health benefits are the goal.

c c. Strength training programs should include a warm-up and cool-down component.

d d. Specific strength training exercises should be learned initially with no load (resistance). Once the exercise skill has been mastered, incremental loads can be added. e. Progressive resistance exercise requires successful completion of 8 to 15 repetitions in good form before increasing weight or resistance.

f f. A general strengthening program should address all major muscle groups and exercise through the complete range of motion.

g g. Any sign of injury or illness from strength training should be evaluated before continuing the exercise in question.

Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2000-2001

Reginald L. Washington, MD, Chairperson

David T. Bernhardt, MD

Jorge Gomez, MD

Miriam D. Johnson, MD

Thomas J. Martin, MD

Thomas W. Rowland, MD

Eric Small, MD


Claire LeBlanc, MD

Canadian Pediatric Society

Robert Malina, PhD

Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

Carl Krein, AT, PT

National Athletic Trainers Association

Judith C. Young, PhD

National Association for Sport and Physical Education

Section Liaison

Frederick E. Reed, MD

Section on Orthopedics


Steven J. Anderson, MD

Bernard A. Griesemer, MD

Oded Bar-Or, MD


Heather Newland



The recommendations in this statement do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

The best drink, water.

Water, water, water. Our Jungle Miami' s post today explores this amazing resource.

9 Reasons To Drink Water And How To Form The Water Habit.

Written on 07/03/2008 by Leo Babauta and republished on 2/28/10. Leo offers advice on living life productively simple at his famous Zen Habits blog. Check him out.

We all know that water is good for us, but often the reasons are a little fuzzy. And even if we know why we should drink water, it's not a habit that many people form.

But there are some very powerful reasons to drink lots of water every day, and forming the habit isn't hard, with a little focus.

The thing about it is, we don't often focus on this habit. We end up drinking coffee, and lots of soda, and alcohol, not to mention fruit juices and teas and milk and a bunch of other possibilities. Or just as often, we don't drink enough fluids, and we become dehydrated -- and that isn't good for our health.

I've made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now I don't drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and once in awhile a beer with dinner. I love it.

Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

Weight loss
Water is one of the best tools for weight loss, first of all because it often replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn't have any calories. But it's also a great appetite suppressant, and often when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar. Drink plenty to help your weight-loss regimen.

Heart healthy
Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of a heart attack. A six-year study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired -- even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated -- and this can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.

Headache cure
Another symptom of dehydration is headaches. In fact, often when we have headaches it's simply a matter of not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

Healthy skin
Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It won't happen overnight, of course, but just a week of drinking a healthy amount of water can have good effects on your skin.

Digestive problems
Our digestive systems need a good amount of water to digest food properly. Often water can help cure stomach acid problems, and water along with fiber can cure constipation (often a result of dehydration).

Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Cancer risk
Related to the digestive system item above, drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Better exercise
Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities, slowing you down and making it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
How to form the water habit
So you're convinced that water is healthier, but you'd like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

How much water?
This is a debatable question. What's clear is that the old recommendation of "eight 8-ounce glasses a day" isn't right, for several reasons: that amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages; it also ignores a person's body weight, which is an important factor in figuring the amount; it also varies if you are sick or exercise. It's also not good to just drink when you're thirsty -- you're already dehydrated by then. Best is to form a routine: drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, a glass in between meals, and be sure to drink before, during and after exercise. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.

Carry a bottle
A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk, and I drink from it all day long. When it's empty, I fill it up again, and keep drinking.

Set a reminder
Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder, so that you don't forget to drink water.

Substitute water
If you would normally get a soda, or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It'll make tap water taste like bottled, at a fraction of the price.

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It's not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you're going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time, so that it will get through your system in time, and again, drink during and after exercise as well.

Track it
It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it -- it increases awareness and helps you ensure that you're staying on track. Keep a little log (it can be done on an index card or a notebook), which can be as simple as a tick mark for each glass of water you drink.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Exercise and creatine.

Exercise trumps creatine in cardiac rehab.
Published by June 23, 2010.

Athletes have been enjoying the benefits of creatine supplements to gain stronger muscles since the 1990s, and the supplement has also proven beneficial among other groups. Could it help cardiac patients regain strength to help with their heart-training workouts as part of rehabilitation? The evidence at this stage suggests not - exercise alone proved a far more powerful tonic for patients in a study out today. The results appear in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, published by SAGE. Drs Cornelissen and Defoor along with colleagues created a double blinded, randomised placebo controlled trial to test the effects of creatine supplements used alongside an exercise programme. The study focused on patients with coronary artery disease or chronic heart failure over a three-month period.

Creatine is found naturally in our diets, in particular in meat. Creatine is also produced naturally in the human body for use by muscles; skeletal muscles use the vast majority. The remainder is used in the brain and heart. Supplements improve muscle strength, particularly for short-term, high-intensity exercise, and are used by athletes to make their training more effective. It may also help with muscle weakness due to atrophy in a number of clinical conditions.

Previous studies have shown that chronic heart failure patients' skeletal muscle strength can be improved with creatine supplements giving better strength and endurance in cycle ergomotry tests (on a stationary, gym-style bicycle). Cornelissen and Defoor wanted to find out whether creatine would help with cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and endurance during a cardiac rehabilitation programme, too. They reasoned that test results for older patients and cardiac patients may are likely to be lower due primarily to peripheral muscle weakness, and so giving these muscles a creatine boost may lead to more effective rehabilitation fitness results.

As well as measuring aerobic power, strength, endurance and recovery, the researchers looked at patients' quality of life scores and checked they were taking the supplements or placebos according to schedule. The bottom line was that among the 80 patients in the study, the researchers found no significant differences between the two groups.

"Contrary to our hypothesis, the magnitude of increase in muscle strength and/or endurance was not greater in the group with creatine supplementation," said study supervisor, Professor Luc Vanhees.

The rehabilitation programme led to better leg strength, and endurance and recovery and VO2 peak were significantly higher than when patients started. It may be the case that the large effect of the exercise training covered up any smaller effect that was down to the creatine. The researchers also think it is worth considering a therapeutic role for creatine once cardiac patients are already well established with their rehabilitation programme, as it may further boost their performance and let them get past the 'training hump,' although further study is needed to test this hypotheses.

Source: SAGE Publications UK


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chocolate milk, mmmmmmmm good for you.

Drinking Chocolate Milk After A Workout Offers Advantages For Post-Exercise Performance And Muscle Repair.

04 Jun 2010

One of the best post-exercise recovery drinks could already be in your refrigerator, according to new research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference this week. In a series of four studies, researchers found that chocolate milk offered a recovery advantage to help repair and rebuild muscles, compared to specially designed carbohydrate sports drinks.

Experts agree that the two-hour window after exercise is an important, yet often neglected, part of a fitness routine. After strenuous exercise, this post-workout recovery period is critical for active people at all fitness levels - to help make the most of a workout and stay in top shape for the next workout.

The new research suggests that drinking fat free chocolate milk after exercise can help the body retain, replenish and rebuild muscle to help your body recover. Drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout could even help prep muscles to perform better in a subsequent bout of exercise. Specifically, the researchers found a chocolate milk advantage for:

Building Muscle - Post-exercise muscle biopsies in eight moderately trained male runners showed that after drinking 16 ounces of fat free chocolate milk, the runners had enhanced skeletal muscle protein synthesis - a sign that muscles were better able to repair and rebuild - compared to when they drank a carbohydrate only sports beverage with the same amount of calories. The researchers suggest that "athletes can consider fat-free chocolate milk as an economic nutritional alternative to other sports nutrition beverages to support post-endurance exercise skeletal muscle repair."1

Replenishing Muscle "Fuel" - Replacing muscle fuel (glycogen) after exercise is essential to an athlete's future performance and muscle recovery. Researchers found that drinking 16 ounces of fat free chocolate milk with its mix of carbohydrates and protein (compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink with the same amount of calories) led to greater concentration of glycogen in muscles at 30 and 60 minutes post exercise.2

Maintaining Lean Muscle - Athletes risk muscle breakdown following exercise when the body's demands are at their peak. Researchers found that drinking fat free chocolate milk after exercise helped decrease markers of muscle breakdown compared to drinking a carbohydrate sports drink.3

Subsequent Exercise Performance - Ten trained men and women cyclists rode for an hour and a half, followed by 10 minutes of intervals. They rested for four hours and were provided with one of three drinks immediately and two hours into recovery: lowfat chocolate milk, a carbohydrate drink with the same amount of calories or a control drink. When the cyclists then performed a subsequent 40 kilometer ride, their trial time was significantly shorter after drinking the chocolate milk compared to the carbohydrate drink and the control drink.4

Why Chocolate Milk?

Chocolate milk's combination of carbohydrates and high-quality protein first made researchers take notice of a potential exercise benefit. The combination of carbs and protein already in chocolate milk matched the ratio found to be most beneficial for recovery. In fact, studies suggest that chocolate milk has the right mix of carbs and protein to help refuel exhausted muscles, and the protein in milk helps build lean muscle. This new research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting milk can be just as effective as some commercial sports drinks in helping athletes refuel and recover.

Milk also provides fluids for rehydration and electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium lost in sweat, that both recreational exercisers and elite athletes need to replace after strenuous activity. Plus, chocolate milk is naturally nutrient-rich with the advantage of additional nutrients not found in most traditional sports drinks. Penny-for-penny, no other post-exercise drink contains the full range of vitamins and minerals found in chocolate milk.

Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Anderson JM, Pasiakos SM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk consumption following endurance exercise affects skeletal muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and intracellular signaling. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. 2010;42:S48.
Karfonta KE, Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk enhances glycogen replenishment after endurance exercise in moderately trained males. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. 2010;42:S64.

Colletto MR, Lunn W, Karfonta K, Anderson J, Rogriguez N. Effects of chocolate milk consumption on leucine kinetics during recovery from endurance exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. 2010;42:S126.

Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave E, Doerner PG, Ding Z, Dessard B, Kammer L, Wang B, Liu Y, Ivy J. Effects of chocolate milk supplementation on recovery from cycling exercise and subsequent time trial performance. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise. 2010;42:S536.
Source: Weber Shandwick Worldwide


Any medical information published on Jungle Miami is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.


Monday, June 21, 2010

What should our essential body fat be? It depends..

Jungle Miami's post today is about essential body fat.

"Ideal Body Fat Percentage for Men & Women"

The ideal percentage of body fat varies between each individual depending on various factors such as body type, hereditary, age, activity levels and eating habits. However for any one person there’s no reason why body fat percentage should be above 25 percent if the general lifestyle provides adequate activity.

Overweight people generally develop a higher body fat percentage due to either a sedentary lifestyle or a regular consumption of more energy than the body requires, often though it is the combination of both these factors over time that allow the body fat percentage to push to high levels.

We all store body fat in different areas of the body. Although where fat is stored mainly depends on genetic factors, men generally have more fat cells around the abdominal area and women usually store more fat around the hips and thighs. On decreasing body fat to the ideal percentage it is the more abundant storage areas where we often lose it from last. A certain percentage of body fat is also stored internally. This visceral fat is also reduced on losing weight much to the frustration of the dieter when they look in the mirror and believe that no progress has been made.

Age is also a major factor for changes in body fat percentage, as we age we tend to store more fat mainly due to a lowered metabolism and changes in hormones. It is interesting to note that the actual numbers of fat cells are established up to the age of around 16 years. After this age an increase in fat storage results in the expansion of each fat cell not an increase in the numbers.

Learn more about body fat cells and fat percentage!

Some people who try to reduce stored fat sometimes have an unrealistic estimation about the ideal fat percentage they should aim for, with a view that the lower the better. In fact, it is considered unhealthy to have a percentage of body fat below three percent for men or ten percent for women. The minimum percent body fat considered safe and acceptable for good health is 5% for males and 12% for females, although some people can reduce fat levels much lower without any problems especially if a low percentage is only maintained for a short time.

Tom Venuto often reduces his fat percentage to a very low 3.5 percent however, two possible factors help him achi

Recommended Body Fat Levels for men and women:

Males age range Too Little Healthy range Overweight Obese
20-30yrs Below 8% 8 - 19% 19 - 25% over 25%
31-40yrs Below 8% 8 - 19% 19 - 25% over 25%
41-50yrs Below 11% 11 - 22% 22 - 27% over 27%
51-60yrs Below 11% 11 - 22% 22 - 27% over 27%
61-70yrs Below 13% 13 - 25% 25 - 30% over 30%
71-80yrs Below 13% 13 - 25% 25 - 30% over 30%
Females age range Too Little Healthy range Overweight Obese
20-30yrs Below 21% 21 - 33% 33 - 39% over 39%
31-40yrs Below 21% 21 - 33% 33 - 39% over 39%
41-50yrs Below 23% 23 - 35% 35 - 40% over 40%
51-60yrs Below 23% 23 - 35% 35 - 40% over 40%
61-70yrs Below 24% 24 - 36% 36 - 42% over 42%
71-80yrs Below 24% 24 - 36% 36 - 42% over 42%

Recording body fat percentage
It would be good practice to regularly monitor fat levels as this can indicate if any changes in lifestyle or diet affects your body fat percentage.

There are many body fat monitors now available that can be a valuable tool to help monitor your progress. You will learn very quickly if you are to reach your ideal fat percentage on time and reveal if a lack of visual results is simply due to a loss in visceral fat within the body cavity.

Some body fat monitors use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) technology. These body fat monitors work by sending a low-level electrical signal through the body from two footpads on the scales. The signal passes more quickly through muscle than fat due to its high water content. The monitor analyzes the readings from this signal with stored personal data (height, weight, gender, activity level). This information is converted to a body fat percentage within seconds.

More at


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Muscle Training and Endurance.

Today Jungle Miami is publishing an interesting article on breathing and training.
Feel free to give us your take on it.
Inspiratory Muscle Training and Endurance.
June 7, 2010

An Indiana University study found that strengthening inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for six weeks significantly reduced the amount of oxygen these same breathing muscles required during exercise, possibly making more oxygen available for other muscles.

Louise Turner, a researcher in the Department of Kinesiology, said just the act of breathing during an endurance activity, such as running, swimming or cycling performed at maximum intensity, can account for 10 to 15 percent of an athlete's total oxygen consumption. While inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been shown to improve performance in endurance sports, Turner's study sought to shed light on how IMT does this.

"This study helps to provide further insight into the potential mechanisms responsible for the improved whole-body endurance performance previously reported following IMT," she said.

About the study:

The double blind, placebo-controlled study involved 16 male cyclists ages 18 to 40.
IMT involves the use of a hand-held device that provides resistance as one inhales through it, requiring greater use of inspiratory muscles. For half of the study participants, the IMT device was set to a level that provided resistance as the subjects took a fast forceful breath in. For six weeks they took 30 breaths at this setting twice a day. The cyclists in the control group did the same exercises with the IMT adjusted to a minimal level.
After six weeks, when the study participants mimicked the breathing required for low, moderate and maximum intensity activities, the inspiratory muscles required around 1 percent less oxygen during the low intensity exercise and required 3 to 4 percent less during the high intensity exercise.
Muscles need oxygen to produce energy. Turner's research also is looking at the next component of this equation, whether more oxygen is actually available to other muscles, particularly those in the legs, because less oxygen is being used by the breathing muscles.

IMT has been used as an intervention in pulmonary diseases and conditions, such as asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis, and also is marketed as a means for improving athletic performance in cyclists, runners and swimmers.

Turner is presenting her study, "Inspiratory Muscle Training reduces the Oxygen Cost of Breathing during Exercise," on June 03 at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting. Co-authors are Timothy D. Mickleborough, Joel M. Stager and Robert F. Chapman from Indiana University; and Sandy Tecklenburg-Lund, Nebraska Wesleyan University.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How little exercise can you get away with? Good question.

How little Exercise Can You Get Away With?
New York Times Well Blog.
Decembre, 30th, 2009.

Recently researchers trawled through a vast database of survey information about the health and habits of men and women in Scotland, hoping to determine how much exercise is needed to keep the Scots from feeling gloomy (or in technical terms, experiencing “psychological distress”). The answer, according to a study published in this month’s British Journal of Sports Medicine: a mere 20 minutes a week of any physical activity, whether sports, walking, gardening or even housecleaning, the last not usually associated with bringing out the sunshine. The researchers found that more activity conferred more mental-health benefits and that “participation in vigorous sports activities” tended to be the “most beneficial for mental health.” But their overall conclusion was that being active for as little as 20 minutes a week is sufficient, if your specific goal is mental health.

The question of how much exercise is enough gains special piquancy at this time of year, when many of us dust off last year’s New Year’s resolutions and promise to be more diligent about working out in the coming year. Unfortunately, figuring out an ideal exercise dosage is not simple, in part because the amount of exercise needed depends on the benefits you hope to gain. Twenty minutes a week of vacuuming or other activity may, according to the Scottish study, increase your contentment, but it certainly won’t do much for your cardiovascular fitness and is unlikely to lessen your risks for a multitude of diseases and, ultimately, of premature death, benefits that a greater amount of exercise may provide. It also won’t help much with weight loss. That said, anyone resolving to increase the amount of housecleaning they do in the New Year is welcome to begin their regimen at my home.

In general, a wide reading of the latest sports science makes it clear that the “amount of physical activity necessary to produce health benefits cannot yet be identified with a high degree of precision,” according to the authors of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report, which was produced by the Department of Health and Human Services and was based on the recommendations of an advisory committee scientists. These experts waded through dozens of studies on the health effects of exercise, looking at the impacts that exercise can have on people’s risks for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression and, in general, premature death. In some studies that were cited, exercise actually seemed to confer little if any disease-fighting benefits. In others, the benefits kicked in only if the exercise was quite strenuous; in yet others, a gentle stroll a few times a week was enough to lessen the risk of early death.

Despite the inconsistent results, caused in some part by even more inconsistent methodologies between the different studies, the advisory committee did ultimately reach some conclusions about how much — or, really, how little — exercise we each should be doing. That minimum amount of exercise required to see a significant lowering of your risk of dying prematurely was, they concluded, 500 MET minutes of exercise a week. Of course, unless you’re an exercise scientist, there’s a good chance you don’t know what a MET minute is. A single MET, or Metabolic Equivalent of Task, is the amount of energy a person uses at rest. Two METs represent twice the energy burned at rest; four METs, four times the energy used at rest; and so on. Walking at three miles per hour is a 3.3-MET activity, while running at 6 miles an hour is a 10-MET activity. The committee concluded that a person needs to accumulate a weekly minimum of 500 MET minutes of exercise, which does not mean 500 minutes of exercise. Instead, 150 minutes a week (two and a half hours) of a moderate, three- to five-MET activity, such as walking, works out to be about 500 MET minutes. Half as much time (an hour and 15 minutes per week) spent on a 6-plus MET activity like easy jogging seems, according to the committee, to have similar health effects.

Interestingly, they did not find that exercise beyond a certain point conferred significant additional health benefits. Instead, the “dose response” for exercise, the committee found, is “curvilinear.” In other words, people who are the least active to start with get the most health benefit from starting to exercise. People who already are fit don’t necessarily get a big additional health benefit from adding more workout time to their regimens. Which is not to say that if you are, for instance, a devoted runner or cyclist, you should reduce your workout time in 2010 to 500 MET minutes per week. You’re already well ahead in terms of health benefits. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines report, “It has been estimated that people who are physically active for approximately seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.”

Whether there might be an upper limit to the advisable amount of exercise is an issue that was not addressed by the group. It hasn’t been directly studied much by science, either, in part because of logistical and ethical barriers; you can’t run people until they drop. But there have been intimations that you can be too avid. As I reported in this column in October, laboratory mice that were made to run to exhaustion were more likely than mice that ran moderately to succumb to the flu. Similarly, a few small but provocative studies of the coronary health of long-time, competitive marathon runners have suggested that their efforts may not, in every case, be doing their hearts good, as I also reported this year.

So what does all this mean as you plan your 2010 exercise routines? First, because “activity affects so many organs and pre-disease states,” according to Frank Booth, a professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri at Columbia, who has extensively studied the health effects of exercise, “any activity is better than no activity.” For those contemplating their first regular exercise routine, consult a doctor before starting, of course. Then, get out and walk, working your way up to least 150 minutes a week. Although not all of the studies under review found health benefits from such relatively light aerobic exercise, enough of them did to support the recommendation of regular brisk walks or other moderate activities. (Moderate exercise, by the way, is defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as activities of between three and six METs, equivalent to about 45 to 64 percent of your maximum heart rate — or in simpler terms, activities during which it is possible for you to talk to a companion but too hard for you to sing the words to your favorite song.)

You do not necessarily have to divide your exercise time into daily allotments, either. Existing “scientific evidence does not allow researchers to say, for example, whether the health benefits of 30 minutes on five days a week are any different from the health benefits of 50 minutes on three days a week,” according to the activity guidelines. Do what suits your schedule. But, Mr. Booth says, do something. “Inactivity is looking more and more like one of the underlying causes of many chronic diseases,” he says. If, he adds, “you want to live to be 100,” which happens to be my New Year’s resolution, “then don’t just sit all day.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the name of the city in which the University of Missouri is located. It is Columbia, not Columbus.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Feeling Queezy? Get Some Fresh Air!

Here at Jungle Miami we believe in doing everything like nature intended. We preach whole foods, we excercise barefoot, we drink water, and we breath fresh air. That's why we're the Jungle.

So check out this article on the curative effects of fresh air by Thomas Valone, a licensed professional engineer, physicist, and environmental consultant. It'll blow your mind!

"Fresh Air Curative Effect Related to Ions and Traces of Ozone"


Ions and trace amounts of ozone have been found to be the two missing ingredients of typical indoor air. This article traces the history of ion and ozone research, including medical findings. Modern home and office buildings are often airtight with windows that do not open. As indoor pollutants build up, sick building syndrome is on the rise. A few parts per billion of ozone, along with a healthy dose of negative ions, sanitizes, deodorizes, and revitalizes the air. This synergistic combination has been found to produce a wide range of health benefits, which are described in this article.

Atmospheric Electricity

Not until 1752 was the secret of atmospheric electricity discovered -- when Ben Franklin in the U.S. and d'Alibard, a French investigator, working independently, proved that lightning occurs when thunder clouds discharge electricity. It was a reasonable explanation -- foreshadowed years before when one observer had noted crackling and flashes when he rubbed a lump of amber and held it closed to a finger. "It seems", he had suggested, "in some degree to represent thunder and lightning."

Another form of atmospheric electricity, more subtle than celestial phenomena, was discovered by Lemonnier, who found that an iron wire attached from the top of a building to the bottom produced sparks at times. It even vigorously attracted dust particles in fine weather, indicating that it was electrified. The electricity must be coming from the air.

Father Giambattista Beccaria of the University of Turin made careful observations for 20 years. He finally wrote, "It appears that nature makes extensive use of atmospheric electricity for promoting vegetation." He also added, " We have also observed that artificial electricity without sparks has the same effect on vegetation."

Air Ions

What was this electricity that these early pioneers were experiencing? Not until the latter part of the 19th century did Elster and Geitel in Germany and J.J. Thomson of England discover ions in the air. "Ion" comes from the Greek for "traveler". The term was first used to describe charged atoms moving in solution. For example, when table salt is dissolved in water, the sodium chloride splits into sodium ions and chlorine ions which will migrate to negative and positive electrodes respectively.

Air ions are somewhat different from ions in solution. Energy is needed for their formation -- even the shearing of water droplets in a waterfall supplies enough energy to make the fine spray carry a considerable load of small negative air ions while the heavier positive ions stay in the tumbling water. Ion concentrations have been measured at spas located near waterfalls to be as high as 35,000 per cubic centimeter of air.

Urban Air Is Ion Depleted

However, modern urban environments present a different kind of air quality: ion depletion.

Very few human activities add small ions to the air while many of them lead to ion loss. Industrial pollutants, traffic-engendered smog, and the ducts of ventila-tion systems all strip ions from the air.

As a result, we suffer not only the direct toxic effect of pollutants we generate but also long continued exposure to air in which the normal total ion concentration of about 2,000-3,000 per cubic centimeter (as found in the relatively clean air of open country) is reduced to barely detectable levels. Headache, somnolence, loss of attention, and general discomfort are just some of the initial reactions to air ion depletion.

Treatment of Disease With Ions

As noted in the book, The Ion Effect, by Fred Soyka (Ballantine Books, 1991), electronic negative ion generators have been used for the treatment of migraines, bedsores, allergies, asthma, catarrh, hay fever, eczema, burns, emphysema, and even as a substitute for tranquilizers. It was discovered that negative ions lowers serotonin in the body, and this explains why people tend to feel more alert, stable, and energized in their presence. Dr. Kreuger found that bacteria, staphylococci, and fungi growth is halted in the presence of negative ions, which explains the healing side effect. Dr. I. Kornblueh mounted experiments at the Northeastern Hospital, U. of Penn. Graduate Hospital, and at the Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia where he was able to report that 63 per cent of patients suffering from hay fever or bronchial asthma "have experienced partial or total relief" from negative ion therapy. Positive ions, on the other hand, make breathing more difficult, from Russian studies.

Ion and Ozone Synergy

Russian studies have also pointed indicated that "atmospheric ozone and ions are the vehicles of freshness". In studies at the Academy of Medical Sciences, Drs. Gubernskii and Dmitriev found that 0.005 ppm (parts-per-million) to 0.02 ppm of ozone added to normal deozonated indoor air increased animals' resistance to the cold, to infection, to toxic substances, and to oxygen deprivation. A general increase in the immune "biological potential" and the vital capacity of the lungs was reported.

Also produced during a thunderstorm, three atoms of oxygen combine in a temporarily stable molecule called ozone. As soon as ozone encounters almost anything, including another ozone molecule, it breaks apart and oxidizes the substance. This includes odor-causing chemical gases, bacterial and microbial cells, and even dust particles.

Present in fresh country and mountain air in the average concentration of 0.03 ppm, atmospheric ozone is what gave your mother's clothes on the line that fresh smell.

Not surprisingly, nature uses ozone to clean the air, even in polluted cities like Los Angeles and Mexico City, where ultraviolet light in the presence of "photochemical smog" produces enough ozone to break down the automobile hydrocarbons in the air. Where there is a lot of auto exhaust and sunlight, nature creates a lot of ozone to oxidize the poisons.

Germ Killer

Ozone is a disinfectant. Twin City Testing Labs in Minnesota demonstrated a steady decline in 5 strains of infectious microorganisms in 4 hours with as little as .05 ppm of ozone. These "bioaerosols" , often incubating in dirty air ducts, could be projected to be completely eliminated in 24 hours from the Twin City Labs test data. It has been argued that the same disinfecting action takes place in the human sinus cavities (where invading microbes first take hold) as well as further down the respiratory tract, while breathing fresh mountain air containing trace amounts of ozone.

If we go this far, it is also interesting to note that ozone is virucidal (East West magazine, Sept. 1989). Therefore, the question about its effect on the incidence of the common cold can be raised. East West describes virus-killing medical techniques that are being researched for a wide range of diseases.

Office Buildings Cause Dis-Ease

The most detailed account of the beneficial effects of trace amounts of ozone on the repiratory system comes from Drs. Gurbernskii and Dmitriev who report "that conditioned air causes employees working in office buildings to complain of headaches, weakness, a general poor feeling, oxygen deprivation, and leads to increased illness, rapid fatigue, and a reduction of the capacity to work."

They also note that "in addition, the number of colds, rheumatism, severe catarrh, of the upper breathing passages, cardio-vascular disorders significantly increased" with conditioned air even in the absence of indoor air pollution.

Ozone-Ion Complex Fights Sick Building Syndrome

Tests were done with less than .01 ppm of ozone reveal that "the levels of oxygen in the blood increase relatively quickly and remain at a high level for the duration of the experiment." They conclude by stating that "atmospheric ozone has a positive effect on animals and people. It is important to note its positive effect on the breathing system, blood composition, arterial pressure, immune system, general feeling of well-being, and mental and physical work capability." They note further that "the ozone-ion complex is a necessary component of fresh air that gives it a curative effect."

If that isn't enough, we find that in the journal Priroda (1976, No. 9, p.26), the above researchers report that, with tests of 0.005 to 0.02 ppm of ozone for 2-5 months, "an increase in the resistance to the cold, to the presence of toxic substances , and to anemia was discovered." In addition, they discovered an increase in hemoglobin and quantity of red blood corpuscles as well. The same article refers to the decrease in complaints of stuffiness (3.8 times less complaints) and 44% more positive remarks for an average of 0.0075 ppm (less than 0.01 ppm) of ozone.

Artificially Add Ions and Ozone

The researchers conclude, "After analyzing the composition of air in the internal environment of a person's dwelling in all sorts of buildings, it is possible to conclude that the optimum situation is a set of complex factors (ozone and ionized regime...) which, evidently, in the future will be necessary to artificially introduce into air conditioning systems. Without this favorable effect the air will be lacking."

Precisely reproducing quantities of ozone and ions found in fresh air is the best answer to revitalizing the home and office since people spend on the average 90% of their time indoors, often with windows that are sealed shut.

About the Author

Thomas Valone is a licensed professional engineer, physicist, and environmental consultant. He is a former college professor who is the author of two books and over 100 articles on popular science topics.
©Copyright 1996 by Thomas Valone, M.A., P.E.
(Explore Issue: Volume 7, Number 1)


Friday, June 11, 2010

Is the weather too hot to work out? Drink a slushie.

It's very important to have energy to be able to workout and endure it. In the hot months, the weather can be a challenge, so, at Jungle Miami we advise everyone to put their blenders to use, and make some slushies before hitting the gym.

To Beat The Heat, Drink A Slushie First.

Published: April 26, 2010

It’s no surprise that it’s hard to exercise on a hot day. You go slower. An easy workout is grueling. You have no endurance. The reasons are also no surprise. Blood is directed to the skin for cooling, which means it is diverted from working muscles. The hotter it is, and the harder the effort, the harder exercise becomes. Eventually, you slow down or stop, unable to go on. Exercise physiologists debate why. It could be that muscles are starved for blood. It could be that the brain gets too hot. It could be that the heart eventually can’t beat fast enough to satisfy all the demands for blood. But even without knowing why, researchers have found they can delay the time to utter exhaustion by getting people a bit chilled before they start.

So companies sell devices, like cooling vests to wear before exercise, or even portable cold baths for prerace immersion. Researchers have tested methods like having athletes swim for an hour in cold water or sit in a cold room or stand in a cold shower. No matter what the method, companies and researchers report a precooling effect.

The problem is that none of the methods are easy, cheap and practical. But now, a New Zealand endurance athlete and exercise researcher says he has found a method that is. All you have to do is drink an ice slurry, also known as a slushie, before exercising. In a new study, he reports that young male recreational athletes who drank a syrup-flavored ice slurry just before running on a treadmill in hot room could keep going for an average of 50 minutes before they had to stop. When they drank only syrup-flavored cold water, they could run for an average of 40 minutes.

There are limitations — the running test was indoors, so there was no cooling effect from breezes on the skin. In those artificial circumstances, precooling might have had more dramatic effects than it would outdoors. And what athletes really want is to go faster in a race, not run until they drop. But the study tested endurance, not performance, which is typical of such research.

Still, exercise specialists say, the effect was pronounced. “It’s a really interesting study, well done and carefully thought out,” said Craig Crandell, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who studies the effects of exercising in the heat.

The effect was short-lived, according to the senior investigator, Paul Laursen, at the New Zealand Academy of Sport in Auckland and a competitor who has raced in 13 Ironman triathlons (a 2.4-mile swim followed by a 112-mile bike race followed by a marathon-distance 26.2-mile run). It would not even begin to last long enough to run a marathon or do a century (100-mile) bike ride, for example. But it would be perfect for a sport like tennis or for a 5- or 10-kilometer race or for team sports like soccer or football, and it might give endurance athletes in longer events a boost by letting them beat the heat, to a certain extent, for the first 50 minutes or so.

Dr. Laursen said he thought of using ice slurries because they can lower brain temperature in swine more effectively than cold water. The swine studies were testing methods to cool the body before surgery. Dr. Laursen reasoned that slurries might also effectively cool the body before exercise. The advantage, he said, is that they are even colder than ice — 30 degrees Fahrenheit — an effect that occurs when sugary water is swirled with crushed ice.

“It’s a neat idea,” said Scott Montain, an exercise researcher at the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass. “I wouldn’t have guessed slurries would have that much of an effect.”

It’s not so clear why ice slurries or any other method work, though. As Dr. Laursen notes in a review article, “The mechanisms underlying the performance effects associated with precooling are not yet completely understood.” One possibility, which Dr. Laursen said might have explained the ice slurry results, was that slurries lowered body temperature before the young men ran, letting them run for a longer time before their bodies became critically hot.

Dr. Montain is not sure. The men did not get that hot, he said. At exhaustion, the mean body temperature of those who drank the slurry and those who drank cold water was about 101 degrees.

He said the limiting factor might have been the men’s heart rates. In both groups, exhaustion occurred when heart rates reached about 185 beats per minute. Those who drank the slurry hit that heart rate 10 minutes later than those who drank cold water. Dr. Montain says the heart beats faster and faster, trying to get blood to the skin, for cooling, and to the muscles for exercising, until it just can’t keep up.

“The heart can’t send blood everywhere without the blood pressure falling,” Dr. Montain said. “At some point, you can’t maintain your blood pressure.” But, Dr. Montain said, what mattered in the end was that the simple solution of drinking an ice slurry worked. He might even try drinking a one himself if he’s stuck racing in the heat, something he tries to avoid.

“I try to race when the weather is good,” Dr. Montain said. “I live in Massachusetts, so I can choose.”

Dr. Crandall, in Dallas, might seem the ideal person to use a slurry before a run. But he’s less interested.

“I just run for enjoyment,” he said. And if he drank a slurry with its sugary syrup, he said, “all the calories I burned off would be added back.” Dr. Laursen, though, is drinking slurries. He gets ice cream headaches when he drinks them — everyone does, he said — but he puts up with the pain. It’s worth it.

When he has a slurry before a grueling bout of exercise in the heat, he said, “I feel so much better.”

Gina Kolata’s column, Personal Best, will appear monthly in Science Times.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 27, 2010, on page D5 of the New York edition.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Protecting the most important muscle of our body, the heart.

Jungle Miami's post today is an article published on Health Central.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this subject.

Dairy, Eggs May Help Protect the Heart: Study

By Alyssa Sparacino Jun 9th 2010.
AOL Health News.

A new Swedish study has found that milk, eggs and cheese may actually be good for the heart, contrary to popular opinion.

While dairy foods have previously been linked to heart disease for their high saturated fat content, the latest findings suggest that milk products might actually protect the heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol in those who regularly consume them, according to Reuters Health.

Lead researcher Dr. Eva Warensjo of Uppsala University wrote that dairy foods contain a number of potentially beneficial substances such as calcium, vitamin D and potassium. They have also been shown to increase people's levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.

Warensjo and her research team evaluated the dairy fat in the diets of 444 heart attack patients and 556 healthy people, and found that women who ingested the most had 26 percent less of a risk of suffering a heart attack than those who didn't eat as much dairy.

For men, their risk was decreased by 9 percent, according to the study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

By comparison, a 60-year-old man of normal weight and no risk factors for heart disease like smoking or diabetes has a 6 person chance of dying of a cardiac condition over the next 10 years, but eating a lot of dairy would further reduce his risk by another half a percent, according to the American Heart Association. For women, the benefits of milk products would be even greater.

"The exact mechanism behind these associations cannot be deduced from the present study," the researchers wrote. "But the range of bioactive components present in the food matrix of milk products as well as associated lifestyle factors may all have contributed."

The study was funded in part by the National Dairy Council/Dairy Management, a trade group for the U.S. Dairy industry. Warensjo has also been paid to speak on behalf of the Swedish Dairy Association and the International Dairy Federation.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Strength, Resistance Training and Flexibility.

Jungle Miami's post today.

An interesting article published by It's about a study presented on June 6Th, at the American College of Sports Medicine's 57Th Annual Meeting in Baltimore. It concludes that for improving flexibility, resistance training is as good or even better than static stretching.

"Study: Strength training improves flexibility too"

While conventional wisdom says static stretching improves flexibility over resistance training, a study presented today at the American College of Sports Medicine's 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore calls that into question. Researchers compared the two techniques' effect on flexibility of the same muscle/joint complexes in a five-week intervention.

"The results suggest that carefully constructed, full-range resistance training regimens can improve flexibility as well as-or perhaps better than-typical static stretching regimens," said James R. Whitehead, Ed.D., FACSM, presenting author of the study.

Twenty-five college-age volunteers were randomly assigned to groups performing either resistance training or static stretching. A 12-person control group remained inactive. All were pre-tested on hamstring extension, hip flexion and extension, and shoulder extension flexibility, as well as peak torque of quadriceps and hamstring muscles. The resistance training and stretching programs focused on the same muscle-joint complexes over similar movements and ranges. Post-tests measured flexibility and strength.

The results-which may surprise advocates of stretching to improve flexibility-showed no statistically significant advantage of stretching over resistance training. Resistance training, in fact, produced greater improvements in flexibility in some cases, while also improving strength. Whitehead emphasized that this was a preliminary study involving a small sample size and called for carefully designed research with more participants to confirm or disprove the results.


American College of Sports Medicine



NOTE: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.


Monday, June 7, 2010

At Jungle Miami we train barefoot. Why?

Two main reasons:

- Our human bodies are designed to walk, run and perform other activities barefoot.

- With the arrival of the modern shoe, our feet don't get any exercise. They have become the forgotten body part.

The human body works pretty much like a suspension bridge, every string playing a major role. If one string breaks, the bridge will start to warp to accommodate. The strings in our bodies are: bones , muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and fascia. If one doesn't function properly, the rest of the body will also warp to accommodate.

In modern life humans are required to wear shoes. In an effort to be more comfortable, the modern shoe restricts the movement of the foot. The foot is essentially put into a cast, and what happens when you put an arm or a leg into a cast? The muscles atrophy. So do the muscles in our feet, if we are always wearing shoes.

Weakening of the muscles in the feet causes weakening of the muscular chain up through the knees and the hips. In the effort to take over for the non-functioning feet, the knee as well as the hip start to do tasks they weren't designed for. This causes overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, impingements, sprains, tears and the list goes on.

At Jungle Miami, we treat the body as one piece and the feet are a very important part of it. Working out barefoot gives the feet the necessary exercise to strengthen the whole body from the ground up.

For more on the subject check out these articles on the human body.
Human skeleton
Muscular System

Muscular System
About Fascia
Running barefoot, article


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trends in exercising.

Jungle Miami's post of today is short. Just some thoughts on the latest trends for working out.

Up-and-Coming Exercise Trends

Experts weigh in on what's new in the world of fitness.
By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

-Just the Basics- Body Weight to Get in Shape

-Mind-Body Fitness Workouts

-You Need a Friend- Pets as Exercise Buddies

Our fascination with self-improvement shows no signs of waning, and there's no shortage of new exercise trends aimed at helping us meet our health goals. Watchers of fitness trends say the road to better health is paved with new possibilities -- along with some old ones that are poised to make a comeback.

According to experts, some of the exercise and diet trends that appear to be past their prime are:

High-impact aerobic workouts.
Expensive home gym equipment.

Health trends on the way up, they say, include:

Back-to-basics exercise plans.
Functional fitness.
Mind/body workouts.
The "buddy system" of working out.
Just the Basics

After nearly a decade of chasing high-tech fitness dreams, experts say, there's a movement back toward the basics for getting in shape.

"The high-tech stuff was great and everybody loves gadgets, but what ends up happening is it becomes a great place to hang your clothes," says Ken Locker, MA, ATC, a spokesman for the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). "Everybody in America now has a little treadmill in the corner with clothes on it -- and now, there is a trend away from that, a trend back to basics."

By basics, he means using the body, and not much else, to get in shape, says Locker, a certified athletic trainer at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. So, remember those calisthenics from fifth grade -- push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and sprints? If trend forecasters are right, that could be the workout of the future.

According to Phil Black, a former Navy Seal instructor who is now a personal trainer and San Diego fitness entrepreneur, another emerging trend is functional fitness -- programs that help us move through daily life with greater ease.

"People don't care so much about becoming a pro athlete as much as they care about whether they can pick up their child without hurting their back, or do things around the house without getting injured or sore," says Black, inventor of the Fit Deck, a type of flash cards for everyday workouts. "We're looking towards workouts that increase flexibility and core strength, and help you live a healthier life overall."

-->For complete article click here


Friday, June 4, 2010

Effects of Oil Spills on Humans.

Today, Jungle Miami is reproducing an article written by Gina Solomon. Give us your opinion. We appreciate it very much.

Korean Picture Moment : Crude Oil Spill Clear Up

The Gulf Oil Spill: Human Health is affected too.

By Gina Solomon
Senior Scientist of NRDC
Published by The Hufftington Post May, 3rd, 2010.
First Published on the NRDC SWITCHBOARD May, 1st, 2010.

Oil spills destroy ecosystems and kill wildlife, but people's health is directly affected too. As the situation in the Gulf Coast unfolds, the local communities and workers must be protected.

Oil is semi-volatile, which means that it can evaporate into the air and create a heavy vapor that stays near the ground - in the human breathing zone. When winds whip up oily sea water, the spray contains tiny droplets - basically a fume - of oil, which are small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs. We know that's happening in the Gulf Coast, because people are reporting a heavy oily smell in the air. Already my colleagues in Louisiana are reporting that people in the coastal community of Venice, Louisiana are suffering from nausea, vomiting, headaches, and difficulty breathing. Knowing the health effects of oil, I'm not surprised.

Oil contains petroleum hydrocarbons, which are toxic and irritating to the skin and airways. It also contains volatile chemicals, called VOCs, which can cause acute health effects such as headaches, dizziness and nausea. Over the long term, many of these chemicals have been linked to cancer, so there are lots of reasons to worry about inhaling them.

Some people are at especially high risk:

Pregnant women - VOCs have been associated with miscarriage, so I would advise pregnant women to leave the area near the spill if they can.

People with respiratory disease cannot afford the additional lung damage from these chemicals, and should evacuate the area if possible.

The EPA is doing air monitoring and posting it on their website, and I will be carefully following the levels of contaminants in the air. I'm disappointed not to see hourly air quality updates, since the winds are dying down and shifting, so rapid hourly reporting would help health workers and local residents respond to the changing conditions.

I'm also worried about the clean-up workers. BP has hired local fishermen to help with the clean-up effort. It's great to provide employment and to involve them in the effort to save the Gulf Coast, but I'm worried. The fisherman have not been fully trained on how to work safely with hazardous materials. Worse still, reports from our Gulf Coast partners indicate that they may not be getting adequate protective equipment. The clean up workers need respirators with vapor cartridges (and need to be checked for adequate fit). They need heavy impermeable gloves, and protection on their arms. Remember, these chemicals can damage the skin and even be absorbed through the skin. This clean-up needs to be done quickly, but it also needs to be done safely. Eleven workers are already dead from the explosion; let's make sure worker and community health is protected from now on.

(1) National Resources Defense Council.

The Hufftington Post

Korean Picture Moment : Crude Oil Spill Clear Up
Soldiers from the South Korean army clean up crude-oil spills over Mallipo Beach after an accident involving a Hong Kong-registered tanker in Taean, about 106 miles southwest of Seoul, on December 10, 2007. Thousands of workers struggle to protect an area known for its nature reserve and vibrant marine economy.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Free radicals and exercising

Dr.John Berardi writes an interesting article on how free radicals can damage muscles during and after exercise, whether aerobic, anaerobic, or strength exercise. Learn which antioxidants you should take and why.

Are You Getting Rusty?

By John M Berardi and Lonnie Lowery
First published at, Jun 6 2002.

Rusty Hubcaps and Rusty Kneecaps

Ever notice rust on your hands after working out? Sure you have. Plenty of guys favor those old, slightly rusty 45-pound plates at their local gym. But have you ever thought about why they've rusted? Or if you might be doing the same?

Living in an oxygen-rich environment (the air is about 21% oxygen) allows you to exercise intensely, metabolize food, and do so many other things. Heck, this very oxygen-rich environment has helped life evolve on this planet. But while oxygen is certainly beneficial on many levels, its presence and function comes at a price.

Just as the metal plates at your gym and the floorboards of your '72 Pinto slowly oxidize (rust), so do the cells/tissues of your body. And it's this oxidation of your bits and pieces that some scientists think causes many of the diseases of aging. So let's go on a little trek into your cells and see why antioxidant nutrition might be a necessity…

Next On Dateline: "When Oxygen Goes Bad"

Whether you like it or not, we're primarily aerobic (oxygen consuming) organisms. To put this into perspective, under normal resting conditions, we consume around 3.5ml of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute. This means that if the average 80kg individual were to lie in bed all day, he/she would consume about 403L of oxygen in that day. Obviously if this individual gets up to exercise, to move around, or even simply to roll over and change the dressings on their bedsores, the oxygen requirement would go way up. Good thing the government isn't taxing oxygen!

So why such a huge amount of oxygen consumption? Well, this huge oxygen consumption is primarily used to drive cellular respiration, to metabolize nutrients, and to produce ATP for energy. All of this occurs at the mitochondrial level and within this organelle (specifically the cytochrome level of the electron transport chain), enzymes are present to assist in the processing of this oxygen. While these enzymes have evolved to efficiently process oxygen during the generation of energy, about 2-5% of all the oxygen flowing through this energy manufacturing warehouse "goes bad," forming reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals.

For the purposes of this article we'll consider ROS and free radicals one in the same and refer to them as pro-oxidants for the sake of simplicity. After all, each of these little cellular scavengers can become the equivalent of micro sized wrecking crews banging up your cellular parts. In more scientific terms, the chemical structure of these pro-oxidants is such that they contain extremely volatile unpaired electrons. These unpaired electrons readily react with cellular components such as proteins (structural, contractile, enzymatic), membrane lipids, and even the nucleotides within DNA and RNA, changing the structure of these molecules. This places every part of the cell at risk for radical-induced damage and alteration!

Bring Out the Heavy Artillery

Fortunately for us, with all of this oxygen processing, we are in possession of both well-developed internal (endogenous) enzymatic anti-oxidant defenses as well as the ability to consume foods that can protect against these cellular scavengers. These defense mechanisms step up as soon as the cell is challenged by excessive pro-oxidant activity and attempt to maintain a favorable pro-oxidant to anti-oxidant balance.

Exercise training provides a good example of this principle in action. It's been well documented that moderate intensity exercise increases pro-oxidant production. However, we all know that exercise is good for you and in fact, protects against many of the diseases associated with radical induced damage. So, what gives? Well, the body responds to moderate intensity exercise training with an upregulation of the natural anti-oxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). Therefore, although exercise causes an increase in radical formation, the physiological response to this actually improves the pro-oxidant to anti-oxidant ratio.

Fish oil supplementation provides another good example of this phenomenon. Since fish oil is extremely susceptible to oxidation both in the body and outside of the body (that's why it's kept in opaque containers), some researchers have reported an increase in pro-oxidant formation with fish oil supplementation. However, don't abandon your fish oil supplements just yet. Since the research demonstrating that fish oil supplementation provides protection against many of the diseases of aging is clear-crystal clear-you should be asking yourself whether something else is going on here. Well, there is. Research has demonstrated that fish oil supplementation actually increases the genetic expression of several genes that protect against free radicals (Takahashi et al 2001), again creating a more favorable pro-oxidant to anti-oxidant ratio.

Exercise Mode and Oxidation

As you might have guessed, different modes of exercise lead to different radical-generating mechanisms. Therefore both intense strength exercise as well as intense aerobic exercise have been shown to increase the production of pro-oxidants through three distinct mechanisms-increased metabolic (mitochondrial) oxygen processing, ischemic-reperfusion injury, and muscle micro-trauma/repair (otherwise known as leukocyte radical production). These mechanisms are described below.

Endurance Athletes and Increased Mitochondrial Oxygen Processing
As mentioned earlier, the enzymes of the mitochondria can produce pro-oxidants during energy metabolism, even at rest. Therefore it stands to reason that during intense aerobic activity, where oxygen processing occurs at rates 10-20 fold above resting oxygen consumption, more radicals will be generated. In fact, this increase in oxygen consumption leads to a 2-3-fold increase in free radical levels. While the natural anti-oxidant enzymes can normally neutralize free radical damage at rest, during exercise the increase in oxygen radicals may be more than these antioxidants can contend with.

Weight Training and Ischemic-Reperfusion Injury

Ischemia is defined as inadequate blood flow and/or inadequate oxygen delivery to the tissues of the body. While usually used in reference to the hypoxia (low oxygen) seen during myocardial infarction (heart attack), ischemia can also be seen in both skeletal muscles and various organs during weight training.

The typical static or moderate duration contractions associated with strength training can effectively "pinch off" the skeletal muscle, not allowing blood to circulate through this tissue. As described above, this could lead to hypoxia and ischemia within the skeletal muscle.

As well all know, once the contraction is over, however, blood rapidly refills the muscle, creating a huge pump. What you might not have known is that this rapid refilling can lead to something known as reperfusion injury. Reperfusion injury occurs, obviously, as blood rapidly re-oxygenates a tissue. Therefore, after a muscle contraction, blood rapidly flows back into the muscle and rapidly re-oxygenates it. Not prepared for this rapid influx, the mitochondria, myoglobin, and hemoglobin may form excessive amounts of pro-oxidants, thus injuring the skeletal muscle with radical induced damage.

While the skeletal muscle is certainly at risk for ischemic-reperfusion injury, other tissues may be at an even greater risk. It should come as no surprise that during exercise, blood is shunted away from internal organs and re-routed to the skeletal muscles. In fact, at rest, 15-20% of cardiac output (or 0.75-1L of blood per min) is shunted to the muscles. However, during maximal exercise, 80-85% of cardiac output (or 20-21.25L of blood per minute) is shunted to the muscles. Obviously with all this blood going to the muscle during exercise, there's less blood going to the organs. After the exercise session, there is a large influx of blood back into the organs and this influx may lead to the same type of reperfusion injury described above.

Weight Training and Muscle Micro Trauma/Repair

This final mechanism is interesting in that it doesn't actually occur during exercise; it's a post exercise phenomenon. As we know, intense strength exercise can lead to both mechanical and oxidative damage in skeletal muscle. This damage includes the loss of structural and contractile integrity as well as damage to the lipid membranes of the muscles. After exercise-induced microtrauma (damage), there's a period of inflammation and soreness characterized by neutrophil and monocyte (macrophage) infiltration.

In addition, leukocytes (white blood cells) are activated to initiate repair. Data on this phenomenon are displayed in Muscle Masochism, Parts I and II. While these immune cells are excellent in their role of removing damaged muscle fibers, these same immune cells lead to free radical generation. This is necessary as the free radicals can help clear away microscopic tissue fragments/debris. What this means is that both the weight training session and the recovery from this session can cause free radical-induced damage.

As an interesting side note, it's currently unclear as to which came first, the radicals or the damage. It seems as if there's a downward spiral effect. Acute exercise leads to free radical production. These radicals (as well as other mechanical factors) can cause damage to cytoskeletons, membranes, and other cellular components of skeletal muscle. Once this damage occurs, leukocyte radical production is initiated to clear away damaged fibers, leading to the release of more free radicals and more radical-induced damage. And so on until the next training bout.

So How Bad Is It?

Reviewing the three mechanisms listed above, it's scary to think about what's happening to our muscles during and after aerobic or strength training. But remember, our bodies do have some complex mechanisms designed to deal with alarming physiological events. But the question remains-are these mechanisms good enough?

Most of the research looking at the exercise and oxidation has been done in endurance athletes. In these individuals exercise training leads to increased endogenous ("produced within") antioxidant enzyme concentrations as well as increased activity of these antioxidants. Therefore just as VO2 max, capillarization, mitochondrial density, and cardiac output increase in order to facilitate future exercise bouts, so do the antioxidant defense systems. One question remains though. With very intense exercise, do these defense systems increase enough to balance out the increased levels of pro-oxidants? Many researchers believe that the answer may be no.

Scott Powers, PhD and well-known antioxidant researcher has been quoted as saying, "It is well known that intense or prolonged exercise results in oxidative injury to skeletal muscles…Further there is growing evidence that radicals contribute to muscular fatigue…Therefore it's not surprising that there is strong interest in the effects of antioxidant supplements on exercise performance."

Animal data has shown repeatedly that muscle fatigue can be delayed in controlled in vitro muscle preparations perfused with antioxidants. Human studies have also indicated that increasing the concentration of endogenous antioxidants (i.e. increasing glutathione concentrations via whey protein supplementation) as well as providing antioxidant supplementation can improve performance. As is often the case, however, human studies on this topic are rather equivocal ("back-and-forth") regarding performance enhancement. Still, antioxidant benefits appear to be more than theory.

Since we specifically discussed endurance athletes, let's address weight-training athletes. Unfortunately, very few data have been collected in these individuals. However, since enzymatic adaptations occur primarily in slow-twitch muscle fibers (which are more mitochondrially dense and therefore contain more antioxidant enzymes than fast twitch fibers), athletes with a high percentage of fast twitch fibers may be at greater risk of radical-induced damage.

Since there's a clear increase in pro-oxidants with intense strength and endurance exercise as well as a decrease in plasma concentrations of vitamin E, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10 (all antioxidant vitamins/nutrients), perhaps athletes training at a high intensity may need more than what the body can naturally provide. After all, even those athletes consuming what's traditionally defined as a "nutritious, well balanced diet" see these reductions in plasma concentrations of some of the antioxidants. In this scenario, supplementing with antioxidant nutrients may be necessary.

Rarely is Any Physiological Phenomenon All Bad

Before we discuss which nutrients may assist in preventing pro-oxidant induced damage in hard training athletes, we want to caution you against developing a hatred for pro-oxidants.

Sure, the appearance of too many pro-oxidants in the body is obviously a bad thing as these radicals can damage important cellular components. But just like with cortisol, estrogen, and dozens of other necessary physiological compounds, pro-oxidants in small quantities are necessary and can even be beneficial.

Small quantities of radicals may be beneficial to cellular communication and cellular defense. It's well known that several intracellular messengers (cAMP, diacylgycerols, etc) signal the onset of many cellular processes. There's now evidence that radicals may perform similar roles. Lipid peroxidation is one mechanism by which this can occur.

In case you didn't know, lipid peroxidation is the process by which free radicals oxidize the membranes of different body cells. While typically seen as a negative thing, this process of breaking down the cellular membrane is one way that the membrane renews itself. In addition, this lipid peroxidation can release some mediators of immune function and inflammation known as eicosanoids.

Free radicals can also interfere with enzymes that promote the formation and secretion of corticosteroids as well as the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins.

Additionally, free radicals are involved in the destruction of bacteria and viruses as well. They both help assist in the removal of these invaders as well as stimulating the gathering of immune cells.

Finally, even the leukocyte "oxidative burst" is necessary to destroy old or damaged tissue in order to promote new tissue growth and muscle hypertrophy.

So, don't hate free radicals altogether. In necessary quantities, they may be quite friendly. It's only when the pro-oxidant: anti-oxidant ratio gets out of whack (as in hard training athletes) that you need to worry about excessive cellular damage, poor performance, and hampered recovery. This suggests that excessive antioxidant support may actually be harmful in itself. Not only might it interfere with some necessary and beneficial physiological processes, but also with the potential toxicity of several antioxidant herbs, vitamins, and minerals, you may cause a host of other problems.

Antioxidant Nutrition

So now that you understand why you might consider taking antioxidant supplements as well as understand that there is such a thing as too much, let's discuss some of the available antioxidants. (Those that are marked with an asterisk deem special attention.)

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin A - This lipid soluble vitamin has been shown to possess antioxidant properties, offering protection against lipid peroxidation, oxidative damage to proteins, and LDL oxidation. While these benefits are certainly desirable, very little research has been done in athletes since vitamin A toxicity is likely at higher doses. Interestingly, while plasma vitamin A decreases with exercise training, skeletal muscle vitamin A increases. In our opinion, as long as you're getting your RDA (900ug per day), no supplemental vitamin A is necessary or encouraged.

Beta Carotene - The carotenoids are a group of lipid soluble molecules (including lycopene, alpha and gamma carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein, etc), some of which are converted to vitamin A. However, some of the carotenoids have vitamin A independent roles including radical quenching, immune enhancement, and the induction of detoxification enzymes. Beta-carotene and lycopene are the best studied for these properties as well as their role in deterring cancer and heart disease. While there are very few exercise data, exercise does reduce plasma carotenoids. Supplementation with a combination of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene can reduce lipid peroxidation at rest and at different exercise intensities as well as protecting against glutathione levels and muscle damage. We recommend supplementing with perhaps 5,000-10,000 international units daily.

Vitamin C - Ascorbic acid, is a very well researched water-soluble vitamin that has strong antioxidant properties. Vitamin C has the interesting ability to act as a primary non-specific antioxidant (it removes all radicals) as well as the ability to regenerate vitamin E. This can lead to a reduction in free radical production during exercise as well as a reduction in muscle soreness and damage. While vitamin C has a host of benefits, its antioxidant properties have to be weighed against its pro-oxidant properties. You see, vitamin C has the ability to increase dietary iron absorption. Iron is a potent pro-oxidant and linked to cardiovascular disease, particularly in men. And in excess, vitamin C itself can actually be a pro-oxidant. So moderate your doses. We recommend 250mg of vitamin C 1-2x daily (in addition to what your diet provides and not in conjunction with iron-rich meals).

Vitamin E - This lipid soluble vitamin is the most heavily researched antioxidant vitamin as members of the vitamin E family play roles in immunity, aging, exercise, heart disease, and cancer. For exercisers, muscle trauma can be attenuated with vitamin E supplementation, having favorable effects on lipid peroxidation, release of tissue enzymes, and protein damage/catabolism. While very large doses of vitamin E can be toxic, there is a wide therapeutic range. However, to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks, 400IU should be taken 1-2x per day (in addition to what your diet provides).

Selenium - Selenium, a trace mineral essential to natural glutathione peroxidase structure and function, can increase endogenous GPX levels (much like the cysteine donor, whey protein). However, whey protein supplementation has shown to also improve performance while selenium has not. With its narrow range of toxicity, and apparent lack of efficacy, whey protein may be better and safer than additional selenium supplementation above what the diet can provide.

Zinc - Zinc, a trace mineral, is a structural component of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD; the cytosolic form), but it's thought to have independent antioxidant properties, including membrane and protein stabilization. Since zinc balance is often unfavorable in athletes and zinc plays a variety of roles in physiological function (beyond antioxidant benefits), we suggest consuming at least 11 mg daily but not more than the tolerable upper limit of 40 mg per day.

Maganese - Maganese, a trace mineral, is a structural component of many enzymes and acts much like zinc in that it is a component of antioxidant enzymes (mitochondrial SOD) as well as an independent antioxidant. Maganese has been shown to decrease oxidative brain injury, LDL oxidation, and atherosclerosis. However, it is our opinion that 2-5mg per day, coming from food sources, is a sufficient intake and additional supplementation is unnecessary.

Copper and Iron - These trace minerals have many cellular functions including antioxidant potential. However, both of these are easily oxidized and can, in fact become pro-oxidants. Therefore the recommended intake of 0.9-3.0 mg of copper and just 8-10 mg of iron (for men) should not be exceeded. This iron limit may be difficult to maintain for serious carnivores but just try not to supplement any additional iron.


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Flax Oil, CLA, Fish Oil) - At this point we should discuss the pro-oxidant potential of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3s and 6s). Polyunsaturated fats become incorporated into cell membranes and due to their relative instability, can be easily oxidized. But, as mentioned earlier, omegas 3s (and to some extent CLA) increase endogenous levels of antioxidants and shift the body toward a better pro-oxidant: anti-oxidant ratio. In fact, some anti-cancer benefits of special polyunsaturates may even be reduced by other antioxidants. Therefore with all of the health benefits of omega 3s, their pro-oxidant status is not a big concern. We suggest that >33% of total fat intake should come from polyunsaturated fatty acids; with about half of this intake in the form of omega 3s.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (Olive Oil, Canola Oil) - Monounsaturated fatty acids are more resistant to peroxidation than their polyunsaturated counterparts. In fact, data show that consumption of these fatty acids can actually reduce markers of tissue oxidation. Since monounsaturated fatty acids lower cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol, and LDL oxidation, they should be a substantial part of any sound nutritional regime. We suggest that >33% of total fat intake come from monounsaturated fatty acids as found in olive oil and peanuts.

Whey Protein - See selenium. Antioxidant benefits come from as little as 20g of high quality, whey protein isolates per day.

Co-Enzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) - Ubiquinone is a naturally occurring part of the electron transport chain and antioxidant. It may act as a direct antioxidant as well as an indirect one, regenerating vitamin E. Exercising individuals have reduced levels of ubiquinone in the muscle. While CoQ10 supplementation can normalize muscle levels, the data are widely mixed with some studies showing a benefit, some showing no benefit, and others showing negative effects. Therefore we do not support the use of CoQ10 supplementation at this time.

Alpha Lipoic Acid - ALA is an interesting molecule as it is both lipid and water-soluble and is present in mitochondrial proteins necessary for oxidative metabolism; is a cofactor for dehydrogenase enzymes; enhances glucose disposal; and can scavenge numerous ROS. Research has also shown that ALA improves mitochondrial function and therefore age associated metabolic decline. While ALA's role in glucose disposal as well as its antioxidant properties need to be clarified, we believe that perhaps 300 of ALA per day can be beneficial in terms of health and body composition.

Polyphenols - Although there are very little data examining the antioxidant effects of the following compounds in exercise, we decided to include them here due to their popularity as well as the benefits seen with respect to other physiological parameters. More research is certainly needed to confirm these benefits as well as to help make recommendations as to their intake. Food, herb, and drug interactions may be a concern with these compounds however, for what it's worth, these compounds do have a long history of use in other cultures.

Milk Thistle - This herb, otherwise known as silybum marianum, contains a host of active compounds and is most well known for their hepato-protective effects (liver protection). These effects may be due to the antioxidant benefits of milk thistle in the prevention of lipid peroxidation and the protection against glutathione depletion. This herb also possesses numerous other detoxifying effects.

Pine Bark (Pycnogenol) - Pycnogenol is the main active compound in the French maritime pine, pinus maritime. Pycnogenol has strong free radical scavenging activity. Its benefits include the regeneration of vitamin C, protection of endogenous vitamin E and glutathione from oxidative stress, and up regulating oxidant-scavenging systems.

Grape Seed Extract - The polyphenols found in grape seeds are effective in scavenging free radicals and preventing against lipid peroxidation as well as DNA fragmentation. In addition, grape seed extract may be able to protect against ischemic-reperfusion injury. This extract may in fact be better than vitamin C and E at similar doses. Time (and more data) will tell.

Green Tea - Green tea, in our opinion, should be a staple beverage of any dietary regimen. In addition to the thermogenic, anti-cancer and cardio-protective benefits, green tea prevents lipid peroxidation as well as aiding in the cellular defense of the ROS released during carcinogenesis.

Ginkgo Biloba - The leaves and fruit of the ginkgo plant have been used for over 5,000 years in China. While beneficial in the treatment of peripheral artery disease and cerebral insufficiency, ginkgo may also be beneficial in scavenging free radicals generated during ischemic-reperfusion injury and inflammation.

Move Over Rust-Oleum

Since the goal of this article is to give you the necessary information to rustproof your cells, here's a quick recap of our recommendations:

1. Total dietary fat intake should be made up of at least 1/3-monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil) and 1/3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (much of these coming from omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil and flaxseed oil).

2. Consume at least 20g of protein per day from high quality whey protein isolates.

3. Supplement dietary intake with the following:

Vitamin C - 250mg 1-2x per day
Vitamin E - 400 IU 2x per day
Beta Carotene - 5000 IU 2x per day
Zinc - approximately 25 mg per day
Alpha-Lipoic Acid - 300mg 1-2x per day
One thing we want you to remember is that while many of the discussed nutrients may be very effective antioxidants, there seems to be considerable overlap between some of their effects, making supplementing with a laundry list of vitamins and herbs redundant. Caution therefore should be exercised since each added supplement may increase the risk of nutrient-nutrient interactions that can either negate otherwise beneficial effects or even induce toxicity. Contrary to most advertising campaigns, all interactions are certainly not synergistic (or even additive), some may, in fact, be negative or toxic.

Much of the information contained in this article (and much more - including a complete list of 158 references) is discussed by the authors in their book chapter entitled Antioxidant Supplementation and Exercise. This chapter was published as Chapter 12 in Sports Supplements, a new supplement resource edited by Drs. Jose Antonio and Jeffery Stoudt. You can find this resource, as well as another supplement text that John has contributed to, Sports Supplement Encyclopedia, at

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