By Dr. Michael Koskiniemi
Why are probiotics such a hot topic? Because improving digestive health is the key to reversing disease symptoms. Probiotics attenuate issues with gas and bloating, gut motility and regularity, they assist with nutrient absorption and assimilation, can ease spasm, and help regulate the gut-brain axis. The end result? A calmer, less painful, more predictable system.
Probiotics literally means "for life", they help assist digestion, immune cells fight disease, and provide nutrients for building blood. They also help clean your liver, which is your primary mechanism to remove toxins. Our bodies contain ten times more bacteria than cells. This discovery neatly revealed the emphasis we need to put behind beneficial probiotics in order to maintain a healthy body.
Our diets have become seriously deficient in probiotics due to agricultural practices such as pesticides, chemicals and zero tilling. Not to mention the general lack of quality produce in our diet and the amount of processed food we are ingesting. As a result, we suffer from bad bacterial overgrowth, which severely compromises our ability to fight off any infections or foreign invaders.
Numerous studies show the beneficial effects of taking probiotics. First, a Canadian test determined that probiotic supplementation helped women lose weight and keep it off. Researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada, recruited 125 overweight men and women and put them all through a 12-week weight loss diet. Half of the men and women took two capsules daily of one strain of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The other half took placebos. Despite all participants losing weight after the first 12 weeks, only those women who took the probiotic pills lost more.
Experts at Yale University reviewed the scientific literature and concluded that probiotics can effectively be used to treat many health issues like, preventing eczema associated with cow's milk allergies and to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Likewise, in the Journal of Pediatrics, Lactobacillus species have been shown to be a safe and effective form of treatment for children with infectious diarrhea.
Probiotics were shown to reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol during the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions. Additionally there are literally thousands of studies showing the health benefits of consuming probiotics to lower blood pressure, improve skin health and the elimination of chronic fatigue.
Scientists in Australia at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute are finding out that probiotics are the biggest step toward curing fatal peanut allergies in children. In a study involving 30 children all allergic to peanuts, the children were given both peanut flour and a probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus. After a year and a half, 80 percent of the children were able to tolerate peanuts. It appears that Lactobacillus rhamnosus is the missing piece of the children's immune systems. Lead researcher Mimi Tang said, “The families involved in the study were so impressed with the probiotic treatment that they said it "changed their lives."
Taking this discussion a step further, certain human strains of probiotics could have a therapeutic effect on mood, further emphasizing this special relationship. Several studies have shown that this is indeed the case. One particular strain, Bifidobacterium infantis, in an interesting model of stress and depression was shown to significantly influence the stress response by normalizing immune response and cytokine modulation as well as specific measurements of the HPA axis. Probiotics have been shown to treat anxiety and depression related disorders by the prestigious international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Researchers continue to find evidence to support the opinion that the brain, which has intimate control of the function of the GI tract through the vagus nerve, can directly communicate with the diverse microbiota that makes up the natural bacterial environment of the GI tract. According to one study, “Since the interactions of microbes with host leads to a complex balance of host genes, alteration of microbiota population can cause several metabolic disorders.” This implies the importance of maintaining the health of the digestive system’s bacterial micro-environment and the significance of probiotic use.
The profound prospect of the intimate communication and relationship between our brain and gut further brings into focus the importance of maintaining an optimally functioning gastrointestinal tract. This also strengthens the view that perhaps the gastrointestinal system be a priority in the evaluation of new clients and patients which, if taken for granted or overlooked, may lead us away from an important cause of many chronic diseases.
Let us help you improve your gut health and restore the bacteria needed for all of the amazing benefits you read about. Using our four strain probiotic and prebiotic called PROBIO-4 by ATP Labs it will encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, boost the immune system, and increase the production of neurotransmitters.
Stop by Motions Fitness, call 906-228-2233, email [email protected] , or visit our website at http://motionsfitness.com/shopmotions/product/181-probio-4 to get started today!
Tyrosine, an important amino acid you may not know about
Like almost any nutrient, be it a vitamin, mineral, or botanical extract, amino acids are best introduced to the body via whole foods. In this way, they typically come packaged along with complementary and accessory nutrients that facilitate their absorption and fulfillment of their biochemical destinies. (It’s so nice of nature to do that for us, isn’t it?) But in just the same way that certain disease states, both acute and chronic, can increase the body’s need for particular vitamins and minerals above the levels someone would reasonably get from food alone, certain conditions may warrant supplemental amounts of amino acids.
There’s branched chain amino acids for potential skeletal muscle growth, tryptophan (and its metabolite, 5-HTP) for lifting a low mood or helping to promote sleep, and glutamine for gut health and tissue healing and repair after trauma.
What about tyrosine?
Like its aromatic amino acid brethren (phenylalanine and tryptophan), tyrosine is a building block for neurotransmitter synthesis. Unlike phenylalanine and tryptophan, however, it is not technically an essential amino acid, since it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. (For individuals with phenylketonuria [PKU], tyrosine is essential, as they lack the enzyme that facilitates this conversion.)
Tyrosine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is the starting point for producing L-DOPA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also the building block for thyroxine (a.k.a. T4, or thyroid hormone), but inadequate tyrosine is usually not the limiting factor in thyroxine synthesis. Individuals with suboptimal thyroid function might benefit from supplemental tyrosine, but likely only if hypothyroid symptoms are due primarily to insufficient tyrosine availability. Owing to its role in neurotransmitter and catecholamine synthesis, it has shown benefit for alleviating depression, acute stress, narcolepsy, and cocaine addiction. (With regard to cocaine addiction, tyrosine and tryptophan may be an effective combination, with these amino acids blunting the cocaine “high,” and reducing the depression that may result from drug withdrawal.)
Tyrosine competes with other large, neutral amino acids (phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine) for transport across the blood-brain barrier, so for optimal efficacy supplemental tyrosine is best taken on an empty stomach, or perhaps with a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack that is low in protein. Taking vitamin B6 along with it may facilitate the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine, as the vitamin is a cofactor for the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme that catalyzes the reaction.
The Brain and Mood Link
Considering tyrosine’s role as a precursor to dopamine and thyroid hormone, it would seem that tyrosine supplementation would be a slam dunk for improving depression. Yet, results are mixed . Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have failed to show efficacy for tyrosine with regard to depression ; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence indicates there may be a role, so it’s possible it depends on an individual patient’s presentation. Depression is multifactorial, so there may be cases where supplemental tyrosine will help alleviate symptoms, and others where the issue is unrelated to inadequate levels.
On the other hand, tyrosine may be helpful for supporting cognitive function in acutely stressful situations. A review looking at the effects of tyrosine on behavior and cognition found that “tyrosine loading acutely counteracts decrements in working memory and information processing that are induced by demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.” Most likely this is due to the influence of tyrosine on restoring healthy brain catecholamine levels. Other researchers had similar findings—that it does enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and cognitively demanding situations. One study’s authors caveated this by saying that it “is an effective enhancer of cognition, but only when neurotransmitter function is intact and DA [dopamine] and/or NE [norepinephrine] is temporarily depleted.”
Fortunately, it is an inexpensive compound to supplement with, so patients may be inclined to give it a try if their health care professionals suspect some of the symptoms they present with may be related to suboptimal tyrosine and/or reduced levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that come from tyrosine.
Note that tyrosine should not be supplemented in pregnant or lactating women, nor in individuals taking MAOIs for depression. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplemental tyrosine, for the production of dopamine, but it should not be taken at the same time as levodopa, due to possible reduction in the drug’s efficacy.
Weight lifting is important to begin to building muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of shoulder training.
Posture is essential if you want to be injury free and want to start adding serious size to your shoulders.
Visual feedback and equal weight distribution are important to ensure that your muscles contract accurately.
New study demonstrates omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to regions of the brain associated with cognition
According to a new study published last Thursday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, by using neuroimaging, researchers were able to demonstrate increased blood flow in regions of the brain associated with memory and learning in individuals with higher omega-3 levels.
Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD) are a group of conditions that cause mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. These conditions affect one’s ability to function socially, personally, and professionally. It’s important to recognize that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms start , just like many other conditions. There is evidence that simple prevention strategies can reduce the risk of ADRD by as much as 50%.
This new study included 166 individuals from a psychiatric clinic in which Omega-3 Index results were available. These patients were categorized into two groups: higher EPA and DHA concentrations (>50th percentile) and lower concentrations (<50th percentile). Quantitative brain single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) was performed on 128 regions of their brains and each individual completed computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.
SPECT can measure blood perfusion in the brain. In addition, performing various mentally stimulating cognitive tasks will show increased blood flow to specific brain regions. (Previous research has demonstrated that mentally stimulating activities reduce the risk of new-onset mild cognitive impairment even when performed later in life.) As a result, researchers identified significant relationships between the Omega-3 Index and regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas that are involved with memory and neurocognitive testing.
This study demonstrated the positive relationships between omega-3 EPA and DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition. This is significant because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
See Strength Sensei for more information.
Fix Your Knee Pain in 2 Easy Steps
Tip Number 1 – Fix Your Feet Fix Your Knee
The movement of the knee joint is influenced by the movement of the ankle joint. To make sure you have proper biomechanics of your knee, you should first ensure that your foot has optimal movement. Start by testing your shoes. Position your foot on top of your shoe. You’ll want to make sure that the width and length of the shoe is big enough to accommodate the size of your foot and toes. If your toes are sticking out, then the shoe is too small. Change shoes.
Fix Your Low Back Pain (Two Tips)
When talking about lower back pain, we’re not inclined to think that the clenching of our teeth could have a negative repercussion. Our jaws (maxillary and mandible) is linked to our anterior and posterior muscular chains. As such, it would be impossible to display an outburst of strength without having our jawbones in contact.
Tip Number 1 – Red Dots
Use six red dots that you will alternate every six weeks. Position them in different areas of your house and working area at the level of your eyes. The red dots are meant to be used as a visual cue, so that when you see the dot, you become aware that your teeth are in contact. Immediately stop and move on to tip number two.
Is magnesium deficiency halting your gains?
To be valid, every hormone or mineral evaluation must be tested in the right compartment. Even if it is commonly prescribed, the serum magnesium test is a poor indicator of magnesium levels as serum magnesium represents only 1% of the body’s stores . Low serum magnesium indicates severe deficiency.
Red blood cell magnesium is the way to go. The optimal range is 6.8-7.2 mg/dL .
Most people hover around 2 mg/dL. Magnesium deficiency is a concern for 50-80% of the population depending on the source.
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Here’s what you need to know…
1. Bad posture increases muscle strain and tension, as muscles that are not aligned are forced to work harder to fight gravity.
2. Bad posture increases risk of back pain, nerve impingement and slipped disks, because the spine does not have the right curves and balance. While training, this imbalance of curves could lead to injury.
3. Bad posture increases the wear and tear of all joints because they are not moving in the way they are designed to and because the muscles stabilizing the joints do not receive the correct activation from the brain. This breaks down the cartilage and weakens ligaments leading to increased risk of injury such as ligament tears and muscle pulls.
4. Bad posture (and the above mentioned factors) can increase the production of stress hormones and inflammation in your body. This can lead to lowered immune system function, decreased sleep quality, digestion and energy levels.
The Brain Muscle Connection
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