Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…agriculture is trashing our environment. The Telegraph discusses what decades of agriculture has done to the life of our soil.

“American scientists have made an unsettling discovery. Crop farming across the Prairies since the late 19th Century has caused a collapse of the soil microbia that holds the ecosystem together.

A team at the University of Colorado under Noah Fierer used DNA gene technology to test the ‘verrucomicrobia’ in Prairie soil, contrasting tilled land with the rare pockets of ancient tallgrass found in cemeteries and reservations. The paper published in the US journal Science found that crop agriculture has “drastically altered” the biology of the land. “The soils currently found throughout the region bear little resemblance to their pre-agricultural state,” it concluded.”
(The Telegraph Nov 27, 2013)

It’s obvious what big agriculture and the government has done to our environment and food supply. It’s time to start supporting local farming.

…in the 1970s, researchers who believed our deteriorating diet had a profound effect on crime, tried to reduce crime through diet. “Research by Hippchen, Schoenthaler, Schauss, and others concluded that hypoglycemia, caused by a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, could account for most of anti-social behavior, they found that hypoglycemia causes the brain to secrete glutamate, a neurotoxin, which leads to agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and violent behavior.”

It’s becoming more apparent that our deteriorating diet in the U.S. is cause for alarm. The meteoric increase in many disorders and diseases (i.e., autism, depression, cancer and diabetes) has a linear relationship to denatured and devitalized modern foods.
((2013). Wise Traditions, 14(1), 19-35.)

…many trainers and coaches still espouse to pre-exercise warm-up that includes stretching. The objective of a study conducted by Brazilian researchers from the University of Sao Paulo was to compare the effects of static stretching, ballistic stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation on maximal strength, number of repetitions at a sub-maximal load (endurance) and total volume. All 12 participants completed eight weight training sessions. Four were designed to stretch prior to weight training. Researchers found that all stretching protocols significantly improved range of motion, but significantly reduce leg press one leg maximum, number of repetitions at a sub-maximal load and total volume. (J Strength Cond Res 26(9): 2432–2437, 2012)

…the barbell back squat (BBS) is widely regarded as the king of all exercises. It is without question. No other exercise works as many major muscle groups as thoroughly or as intensely as the squat. It is also a highly functional and safe exercise, and is used as a key component of many strength training programs including Olympic lifting. The BBS is also a mainstay in bodybuilding routines given its record for overall leg development. Because of its efficacy and versatility, the squat has been studied repeatedly for many different purposes. A review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined studies that investigated muscle activation during the BBS to clarify how the exercise can be appropriately applied for different goals. The following are some highlights of this review:

• Increasing the stance width increases the activation of the adductors and gluteus maximus, but not the quadriceps or hamstrings.
• Activation of the muscles of the legs and trunk increase as a consequence of the increase in external load not stance width.
• Free BBS elicits and higher overall EMG (muscle activation) than squats in a smith machine, leg press and leg extension.
• The squat at moderate loads is a more effective method of activating the trunk stabilizers compared with other instability trunk exercises.
• Muscle activation is not influenced by the use of a weight belt.
(The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(4):1169-1178, 2012)

  

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Did You Know… with Mike Furci: The Flu and Cold Edition

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…you should exercise with a cold? Dr. Kaminsky and other researchers at Ball State encourage people to exercise when they have colds as long as the symptoms are above the neck. It’s the types of colds that produce symptoms below the neck like chest congestion and muscle aches that they’re more cautious with.

Two studies were performed over a decade ago in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports Medicine and showed surprising results. The researchers found no difference in symptoms between those who exercised and those who didn’t; there was no difference between maximum exercise performance between the groups, and there was no difference in recovery time from colds. (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998)

…that a fever is a natural beneficial function of your body to fight off invading organisms when the primary lines of defense, your immune system, fail? So many people misunderstand fever, and believe it to be dangerous. This is primarily due to our “take a pill for everything society” created by physicians and big pharma. Your body raises its temperature because most infectious organisms cannot survive this environment; the ideal temperature for fighting infections is between 102 and 103 degrees F. The problem is, just as our bodies are doing what’s needed to eradicate the infection, we self medicate with, or worse yet, give our children, anti-pyretic drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin by themselves or in combination.

It’s very important to think of a fever as a healing response. And contrary to popular belief, the best action is almost always little or no action. Rather than trying to lower a fever through medication, try to work through it and allow it to run its course. To support a fever, Colleen Huber and other naturopathic physicians recommend consuming liquids such as broths and water until the fever breaks. The body slows down the movement of food in the gut (peristalsis), so avoid solid food. Another and perhaps most important recommendation to support a fever is rest. Activity uses the body’s essential energy needed to fight invading organisms, and hinders the immune function.

The benefits of a fever:

• Directly kills invading organisms through heat.
• Stimulates antibody production more specific to the infection than any antibiotic.
• More interferon is produced to block the spread of viruses to healthy cells.
• Stimulates production white blood cells which mobilize and attack invaders.

When to seek medical attention for a fever:

• Anyone with a temperature above 104.5 degrees F.
• Infants 100.4 degrees F. Seek care right away.
• Infants from 1 month to 3 months old, with a temperature >100.4 degrees F, if they appear ill.
• Children between 3 months and 36 months, with a temperature above 102.2 degrees F, if they appear ill

For anyone not in the above categories, employ rest and fluids to support the fever and allow it to do its job. (Naturopathyworks.com, Mercola.com)

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Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…the United States is the only developed country in the world that still fluoridates its citizens’ drinking water?

10 facts you need to know about fluoride:

1. More people in the U.S. drink fluoridated water than the rest of the world combined.
2. Fluoridated countries do not have less tooth decay than non-fluoridated countries.
3. According to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels.
4. Fluoride is naturally occurring in some areas, leading to high levels in certain water supplies “naturally.” Fluoridation advocates often use this to support its safety, however naturally occurring substances are not automatically safe (think of arsenic, for instance).
5. About 40 percent of American teens have dental fluorosis, a condition that refers to changes in the appearance of tooth enamel that are caused by long-term ingestion of fluoride during the time teeth are forming.
6. Infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water may consume up to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amounts.
7. The fluoride supplements sometimes prescribed to those who are not drinking fluoridated water have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of tooth decay.
8. Water fluoridation is a form of mass medication that denies you the right to informed consent.
Many European nations have rejected fluoride for the very reason that delivering medication via the water supply would be inappropriate.
9. It is now widely recognized that fluoride’s only justifiable benefit comes from topical contact with teeth, which even the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged. Adding it to water and pills, which are swallowed, offers little, if any, benefit to your teeth.
10. Fluoride toxicity is exacerbated by conditions that occur much more frequently in low-income areas.
Mercola.com

…Fructose, not fat, has a linear relationship with the U.S. obesity epidemic.

The incidence of overweight and obese individuals, shown by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), has a striking relationship to fructose consumption in the United States. According to a USDA’s data below, total sugar and fructose consumption started to increase sharply in 1985, and reached a peak in 1999, which is congruent with the incidence of obesity. During 2000 through 2005, we see a slight drop in total sugar and fructose consumption, which is consistent with the leveling off of obesity rates during that same period. This drop in sugar ads up to 10 pounds of total sugar, with fructose contributing six of those pounds.

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Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

… a new study found an association between L-carnitine, an amino acid found at high levels in red meat and heart disease risk. Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, tested the carnitine and TMAO levels of omnivores, vegans and vegetarians, and examined the clinical data of 2,595 patients undergoing elective cardiac evaluations. They also examined the cardiac effects of a carnitine-enhanced diet in normal mice compared to mice with suppressed levels of gut microbes, and discovered that TMAO alters cholesterol metabolism at multiple levels, explaining how it enhances atherosclerosis.

The researchers found that increased carnitine levels in patients predicted increased risks for cardiovascular disease and major cardiac events like heart attack, stroke and death, but only in subjects with concurrently high TMAO levels. It’s important to emphasize that in scientific terms association doesn’t show cause, and to be careful of the credence given because a study said so.

Meanwhile, a meta-analysis of 20 studies involving more than 1.2 million participants from 10 countries who were followed for up to 18 years, found no definitive association of daily consumption of red meat heart health (Boston.com). Heart disease does have a strong association with consumption of processed carbs and fats like vegetable oils and man-made trans fats (Fats, April 18,2006). It is important to keep in mind that there are many other studies done on L-carnitine that do not show any adverse health effects at a variety of doses. In fact, the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on L-carnitine shows it’s not only safe, but good for the heart and peripheral artery disease.

… that pre-workout stretching is still touted by many trainers and coaches. A study examined the effects of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching and static stretching (SS) on maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). Thirteen participants completed 3 different conditions on 3 nonconsecutive days in a random order: (SS), (PNF) and no stretching (control, CON). The MVC of knee and elbow flexion and the vastus lateralis muscles were measured. Researchers concluded although stretching has a positive effect on range of motion (ROM), it has been shown repeatedly to have a detrimental effect on muscular performance. ((2013). Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(1), 195-201)

Bottom line, stretch after your workouts to avoid reducing the musculotendinous stiffness, because hampers the excitability of the muscles being worked, thus hindering performance.

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