Ageless Forever Anti-Aging News Blog

Diet, Nutrition & Supplements (27)

Red Meat - Good or Bad for Fat Loss?

 
Consumption of red meat has been associated with fat gain (weight gain) because of its high fat and calorie content. Even though the old idea that “a high fat intake causes body fat gain” has been completely debunked in medical research [1-9], red meat still is a food that's on the forbidden or avoid list in most diet plans. And for some reason, women tend to be especially afraid of eating meat…
 
While there are studies showing an association between meat intake and obesity [10-12], there are also studies not showing this [12-14]. And when digging deeper in the data, many of the studies that did report a significant association with meat intake and fat gain / obesity have several flaws that invalidate their conclusions....
 
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Vitamin D - what's the optimal blood level and how to achieve it?

 
Until just a few years ago, it was thought that vitamin D is only needed for building and maintain strong bones.
 
However, over the past decade an impressive body of scientific research has demonstrated the importance of optimal vitamin D status for wide array of health conditions.
 
Vitamin D is interesting for several reasons:
 
1. The role of vitamin D for health promotion has undergone a paradigm shift. Adequate vitamin D levels are necessary to prevent many diseases, especially cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure), endothelial dysfunction, diabetes (both type1 and type-2), the metabolic syndrome, muscle weakness, cancer, chronic inflammation, osteoporosis (including falls and fractures), cognitive dysfunction and mental illness, autoimmune diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), infectious diseases, as well as infertility and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes [1-26]. 
 
Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is associated with increased all-cause mortality [1, 27], and vitamin D supplementation has been shown to decrease mortality [28, 29]. It has been estimated that doubling blood vitamin D levels in the general population (from 21 ng/mL to 44 ng/mL) would reduce  vitamin D-related disease mortality rate by 20%, and increase life expectancy with about 2 years [30]. 
 
2. Insufficient levels of vitamin D also have direct implications for fitness enthusiasts and athletic performance, due to the importance of vitamin D for muscle function (I will cover this in much more depth in an upcoming article) [31-42].
 
3. In contrast to most other vitamins, vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is very common (more on that below).
 
4. The vitamin D requirement for health promotion and protection against all-cause mortality and muscle dysfunction is much higher than the dietary recommendations (RDA), which only consider for bone related outcomes [4, 43-48].
 
Having heard about all the vitamin D benefits you might wonder what is the optimal vitamin D blood level? How low is too low? How common is vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency? 
 
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Nitrate supplementation – ramp up the less well-known NO pathway to boost performance and health

 

Nitric oxide (NO) boosting “pre-workout” supplements based on L-arginine have been – and still are – quite popular among many fitness enthusiasts and athletes. While it’s true that arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator [1, 2], most studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype that arginine supplementation increases muscle blood flow and/or performance [3-5]. In my previous article “The Arginine Paradox” I explained why.
 
In this article I will cover the less well known, albeit highly significant, NO generating process, the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway. This new NO producing pathway holds a lot of promise and supplements that target it will probably replace the current arginine based NO boosters in the near future[6, 7].
 
The nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway is especially interesting in that it not only has performance enhancing effects in healthy folks – as well as in people with risk factors – but also offers cardiovascular protection, regardless of baseline health status [7-10].
 
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Red Meat and Health - have we been blaming the wrong thing?

 
Frequent consumption of red meant and processed meats has been shown in population studies to be associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes [1-3]. It has also been suggested that eating meat increases all-cause mortality [4]. Hence, a high meat intake (regardless of its fat quantity and quality) is generally perceived to be unhealthy and something that should be avoided. 
 
However, although there are many studies documenting these associations, results are not always consistent and there are many important methodological issues which weaken the conclusions (more on that in a bit). In the same way as the putative health risks of red meat consumption is investigated, its documented health benefits (which I will cover below) are equally as important and must be given a fair chance in the establishment of dietary recommendations related to red meat consumption. 
 
In this article I will therefore cover both sides of the red meat debate, and after having taken all the available scientific data into consideration, present a more balanced view about the “meat is bad” dogma…
 
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The Arginine Paradox - do L-arginine based NO boosters really work?

 

Some of the most popular supplements today are the so called pre-workout nitric oxide (NO) boosters [1, 2]. These contain a panoply of ingredients, but one the main ones is arginine. The rationale goes that L-arginine is a nitric oxide (NO) precursor and NO is a potent vasodilator [3, 4]. Theoretically this would increase blood flow and nutrient/oxygen delivery to exercising muscles and thereby boost performance, as well as recovery. 
 
While it is true that L-arginine supplementation may be beneficial for various clinical populations (see below), studies in healthy adults have not unequivocally supported the marketing hype surrounding arginine supplementation and nitric oxide boosters [1, 5, 6]. Why? Let's take a look under the hood...
 
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Dietary Guidelines on Fat Intake - has there ever been any evidence to support the low-fat recommendation?

In an effort to slash heart disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [1] have since 1977 been urging people to: 
 
1. Reduce total fat consumption to 30% of total caloric intake.
 
2. Reduce saturated fat consumption to 10% of total energy intake.
 
Government issued dietary guidelines are highly authoritative and regarded by a majority as being backed by solid research. However, as it turns out, this is not the case… 
 
Dietary recommendations regarding intake of total and saturated fat are highly controversial, and the debate is heating up. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of six studies that were available 1977, when the first version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was published, shows: [2]
 
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Fish Oil for Muscle Growth and Prevention of Muscle Loss with Aging

 
A key hallmark of aging is a progressive loss of muscle mass, which occurs independently of health status.[1] Exercise and nutrition are the two main anabolic stimuli for muscle growth and its maintenance throughout the life course.[2-11]
 
It is clear that maintaining high physical activity and exercise levels throughout ones lifespan reduces aging related loss of muscle mass and function, compared with living a sedentary life.[12-19]
 
However, even active older adults and master elite athletes still experience some loss of muscle and physical performance with advancing age.[8, 13, 20]
 
When it comes to nutrition, high protein intake [2, 3, 10, 21] and creatine supplementation [4-8, 22] are two of the best documented interventions, which together with resistance exercise training, result in greater increases muscle mass and strength in both young [21-23] and older people [2-8, 10], and prevent its loss with aging. Here I will present the relatively unknown effevts of fish oil (most well-known for its cardiovascular health promoting effects) on muscle growth (anabolism) and its possible contribution to prevention of aging related loss of muscle mass and function...
 
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Omega-3 fat intake for prevention of skin aging

Photoaging is the process of aging of the skin due primarily to regular and long-term exposure to ultra-violet radiation. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been implicated in modulating inflammatory processes associated with the skin, and supplementation with 3 g EPA+DHA for 6 months has been shown to reduce both UVB-erythemal sensitivity (i.e. sun induced skin reddening) [1], sunburn and sun induced itchy rash.[2]
 
A recently published study in Journal of Dermatological Science [3] investigated the associations between daily omega-3 fat intake and the severity of skin photoaging...
 
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Walnuts Improve Semen Quality in Men Consuming a Western-Style Unhealthy Diet

It is well-documented that maternal food habits and essential nutrient intakes have an important impact on reproductive outcomes.[1, 2] However, there is less information available on the importance of nutrition for paternal reproductive fitness. Evidence is particularly limited for men who habitually
Consume a Western-style unhealthy diet which is lacking in many essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for healthy sperm and fertility.[3-13] Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for proper sperm morphology and function.[5, 6, 8, 9]
 
Raw unprocessed walnuts are a rich source of essential nutrients and provide an array of health promoting phytochemicals, including carotenoids, phenolic acids, phytosterols and polyphenolic compounds such as flavonoids, proanthocyanidins (PAC) and stilbenes.[14-18] Therefore, a study specifically investigated if in young men (age 21-35 yr old) habitually eating unhealthy, adding 75 g of whole-shelled walnuts per day would have an impact on semen quality...[19]
 
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Fish oil supplementation - benefits for young healthy adults

Fish oil is well known for protecting against development and progression of cardiovascular disease in high risk individuals, mostly middle-age and older.[1-4] A notable recent study shows that fish oil supplementation also confers health benefits in young healthy adults.[5]

Young healthy males, aged 21-24 years, were given a fish oil supplement providing 2 g EPA and 1 g DHA per day for 3 months. It was found that the fish oil supplementation significantly reduced fasting blood triglycerides (i.e. blood fats) by a whopping 38% (from 86 mg/dL to 54 mg/dL) and also improved the total cholesterol/HDL ratio, by reducing it from 3.25 to 3.05.

Relevance of blood triglycerides and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio for cardiovascular disease

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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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