Archive for the ‘Science and stuff’ Category

This article first appeared on MadebyHemp.com

This year has been a year when most of the world focused on health and wellness in a more holistic manner: both physical and mental wellness. And it is beginning to look like 2019 will be a glorious continuation of what we have been opening our minds up to in 2018. So what can we expect to see in the health and wellness sphere in 2019?

1. Ayurveda

The 5,000-year-old health system, Ayurveda (in Sanskrit means “knowledge of life”) is responsible for a lot of health movements in 2018. Perhaps the most familiar of which would be the ketogenic diet. Ayurveda is an old system of medicine that incorporates plants and animal products, particularly fats. The practice of Ayurveda involves using fats both for consumption, meaning eating fats like ghee, and external use, like oils for the skin. The practice connects both mind and body in bringing about wellness.

2. More Plant Based Alternatives

2018 has seen the rise of plant based food, a whopping 23% rise in sales. Gone are the days when the choices we had regarding plant based food were TVP and tofu. Now it is beginning to look like there will be a huge movement in the plant based fish sector. Expect your local Whole Foods aisles to have more plant based fish meat choices. The plant based fish movement stemmed from the awareness of people of the negative impact of overfishing has on our environment.

3. More Sleep

A lot of people, students and workers alike, are severely lacking in sleep. In the coming year, we will have a better understanding of our circadian rhythm and the effects of melatonin and cortisol on our sleep patterns. If these two hormones get out of whack, our circadian rhythm will be thrown out of its cycle and our sleep gets messed up.

4. CBD Oil

This year has seen a massive rise in popularity of CBD oil. Despite its being taboo in certain circles, Whole Foods Market’s projection predicts that CBD oil will have an even higher spike in popularity in 2019.

Expect that in the coming year, we will be learning more about the endocannabinoid system or the ECS. This is a major bodily system which compounds like CBD and other cannabinoids interact with. We have seen how CBD oil has helped manage anxiety and we’ve marveled at its anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure effects. Cannabis might also help with setting our sleep pattern straight. It most certainly helps with keeping a lid on anxiety and stress.

5. Eco-consciousness

More and more people are becoming aware of global warming and the dire situation the Earth is currently in. Expect that in 2019, the strong rise of the eco-friendly movement will continue. It is predicted that the use of single use plastics and other single use items will see a further decline and the BYOB (bring your own bag) movement will continue to become more popular.

6. Mental Health

This year, mental health continues to be given its due importance. People are now realizing that in order to be physically healthy, you need to think about your mental health as well. Hemp based products (like CBD oil) has become a more popular alternative to the usual stress medications. It is predicted that 2019 will see the continuation of this mental health trend.

7. Oat milk

Is oat milk the new soy? This year, sales have grown by an impressive 45%. Lactose averse people have found a good alternative to dairy and soy milk and the rise of its popularity does not seem to be ending soon. Grab yourself a bottle of oat milk this 2019 because it looks like they will be flying off the shelves still.

8. MCT oil

Aside from CBD, 2018 brought MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil into the spotlight. This oil is odorless and colorless and stays liquid at room temperature. Putting MCT oil into your coffee, making it “bulletproof” is a good way of boosting your energy. Expect to see MCT become even more popular in 2019 as more people become aware of its benefits.

9. Body Positivity

Thanks to Rihanna and her Fenty brand, body positivity moved from the fringes to mainstream. Body positivity saw a rise in popularity in 2018 as more and more people focus on loving their bodies instead of shrinking them to fit into the mold that society wanted them to look. As more people shift their focus to mental health, this 2019 will see an even bigger rise in the body positivity movement.

10. Hemp based products

Aside from CBD oil, hemp based products have found their way into our lives from our beauty products, to our food. With the 2018 Farm Bill already signed into law, hemp based farming will be legal nationwide. Expect that in 2019, there will be more choices in hemp based products.

This article originally appeared on myfoli.com

As a distance runner, you may want to consider incorporating cannabis into your daily regimen to optimize your training and even improve your overall health in between your workout routine.

If you’re an avid distance runner, odds are you’ve encountered a handful of injuries – whether major or minor – during your time hitting the pavement.

While there are a number of conventional aids to help you deal with pain, maintain focus and mental clarity, reduce stress, and improve speed and overall performance, there’s a more natural substance that can be used for all of these and more: cannabis.

As a distance runner, you may want to consider incorporating cannabis into your daily regimen to optimize your training and even improve your overall health in between your workout routine.

If you’d rather avoid the high that comes from cannabis, look for hemp-derived CBD products. These provide many of the positive effects without getting you high – the benefits of cannabis can be reaped without the psychoactive effects of THC.

In fact, more and more athletes are turning to CBD thanks to its plethora of health, wellness and medical benefits. With the legalization of marijuana in certain parts of the country, an upsurge in recreational and medical usage has encouraged studies that insinuate an abundance of positive, healing effects of marijuana – and CBD in particular.

As these studies have emerged to verify the benefits of medical marijuana, a recent ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to remove CBD from their list of banned substances has allowed athletes the freedom to use the cannabinoid, both in and out of competition. Whether used to alleviate pain, reduce performance-related anxiety, or to help recover faster from rigorous training, CBD can be an effective tool for athletes.

How Cannabis Can Help You Become a Better Distance Runner

Over the years, an increasing number of studies have been conducted on cannabis and the cannabinoids within it, including CBD and THC. More specifically, research is focusing on the potential benefits of marijuana. The results tend to point to its ability to alleviate a number of ailments and even improve overall health and well-being – even when it comes to mental health.

But how exactly can cannabis fit into the world of a distance runner? What is it about the properties of cannabis and its cannabinoids that can make the life of a distance runner better?

Fights Fatigue

It’s no secret that distance runners require an abundance of energy to complete their long distance runs, but sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough fuel in the tank. When energy levels are low, performance typically suffers. Just struggling to finish the last mile or two can prove extremely draining.

But cannabis may be able to counter fatigue. In fact, certain marijuana strains may be effective at sustaining energy levels, making it easier for distance runners to keep up with their runs without caving to fatigue.

More specifically, sativa-dominant hybrid strains can help provide a little energy when needed most. Sativa cannabis types are those that tend to provide more energetic cerebral effects, which is why they would be more suitable for those who are looking for a pick-me-up.

On the other end of the spectrum are indica cannabis strains, which have been linked to a sedative effect that’s more suitable for users who are looking to relax and alleviate stress.

Hybrids offer a combination of both sides, with different indica/sativa ratios offering very different effects. How you feel depends on which strains dominate, and sativa-dominant strains lean more toward the stimulant side of the spectrum.

Improves Mental Clarity and Focus

While the physical aspect of training is certainly crucial for athletes when they train and compete, the mental aspect is equally – if not more – important. Being able to focus on training with maximum effort requires a certain degree of mental clarity and awareness.

But it’s not uncommon for athletes – including distance runners – to suffer from brain fog on occasion, which can have negative implications on their performance.

The CBD component of cannabis has been shown to help athletes – and the general public – improve their level of mental clarity so they’re more aware of the task at hand and the surrounding environment. In fact, studies have shown that CBD, in particular, has been showing great promise as a wake-promoting agent.

Helps With Pain Management and Recovery

Long distance runners are known to suffer from specific overuse injuries, particularly in the muscles and ligaments of the lower extremities, for obvious reasons. More specifically, distance runners are more prone to suffering from leg injuries such as stress fractures, muscles strains, and torn ligaments.

Overuse injuries require a certain amount of rest to ensure full recovery before training can recommence. Therapies are often required, including physical therapy or even surgery. But during the recovery process, a certain amount of pain is bound to be experienced, no matter how mild or severe.

While NSAIDs and opioids are typically prescribed to athletes to help them manage their pain, such medications come with a slew of side effects – some minor, but some more severe. Addiction can also arise from the ongoing use of these drugs, which we’ve all seen with the recent opioid addiction epidemic.

Thankfully, there are more natural substances that distance runners can take to effectively alleviate pain and discomfort from injuries without the potential for addiction or side effects that pharmaceuticals tend to have, and marijuana is one of them.

Several studies have linked the use of marijuana and the cannabinoids and terpenes within the plant with alleviation of pain and inflammation. Different types of pain can be targeted and treated, including pain resulting from physical stress and injury.

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the two most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant – both interact with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This interaction activates the reward system of the brain and reduces pain levels. While THC also induces a “high” at the same time, CBD can relieve pain without any mind-altering effects.

Promotes Relaxation

Running with tense muscles wastes a lot more energy compared to running in a more relaxed state. Using up too much unnecessary energy can burn you out long before your run is done, and even increase the odds of injury occurring. That’s why it’s important to relax your body before you take to the open road.

Distance runners are encouraged to practice relaxation exercises to help pinpoint and remove any tension from the body. Taking CBD may also be effective at promoting relaxation in distance runners.

Not only can cannabis and CBD products help calm distance runners before big events, but it can also help relax runners them after they’ve completed their training.

Modes of Marijuana Consumption

Smoking isn’t the only way to consume and enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Not only is this mode of consumption irritating to the lungs and bad for overall health, but it can also hinder the performance of distance runners who rely on maximum lung function to sustain long distance runs.
The good news is that there are other ways to use marijuana that are perfectly safe, including the following:

  • Tinctures/Cannabis oils – Marijuana tinctures can be placed under the tongue using a dropper to allow the THC and/or CBD to take effect more quickly by bypassing the digestive system.
  • Edibles – Cookies, brownies, gummies, chewing gum, and candies can all be infused with marijuana and eaten like any other treat.
  • Tablets/capsules – Tablets and capsules are perhaps one of the more convenient ways to use marijuana.
  • Vapes – Rather than burning the marijuana (as is the case with smoking it), vaping only heats the marijuana up just enough to melt the resins and oils.
  • Sprays – Marijuana sprays can be applied orally.
  • Beverages – Like edibles, different beverages can be infused with marijuana cannabinoids for a quick and easy mode of consumption.
  • Topical creams – Topicals are ideal for those suffering from localized pain. Users can apply the cream directly to the area of discomfort to alleviate any pain experienced.
  • Transdermal patches – These can be applied to any area of the body and offer an immediate infusion of marijuana into the bloodstream.

Final Thoughts

Marijuana is a lot more than just a THC-laden recreational drug that gets users high. The benefits of CBD and THC are boundless for athletes and those facing other physical and/or mental ailments.

Originally published on HVMN by Nate Martins.

The moment every athlete wants to avoid.

POP!

A muscle gives at the gym or on the track, leading to weeks of rehab. Sometimes it’s not even a single moment, but rather, countless hours of overuse that leads a muscle to strain or tear.

To avoid rehab, athletes need to be thinking about pre-hab. Get ahead of an injury before it happens.

Muscle recovery should be part of every training plan (specifically post-workout). But there are multiple strategies athletes can employ that lead to muscle health–even things like diet can impact how your muscles recover. Knowing what to do, and when to do it, can help avoid the injuries that’ll set you back weeks.

Why is Recovery Important?

An important goal of every training session is to break down muscle. Without recovery, a significant portion of that work might be a waste of time. So, what exactly happens during recovery? That’ll depend on the person and activity, but generally, four different things are happening while you’re resting.

Synthesis of protein: This is what leads to muscle growth. During recovery is when most muscle is built, because muscle protein synthesis increases by 50% four hours after a workout (like resistance training).1

Rebuilding of muscle fibers: Microtears in muscle fibers are a normal part of exercise, happening when we put strain on our muscles. Recovery allows these fibers to heal and become stronger during that process.

Fluid restoration: We sweat (and lose a lot of fluid through exhaled air).2 Hydrating before, during and after a workout is important, because these fluids help deliver nutrients to organs and muscle through the bloodstream.

Removal of metabolic waste products: Acids (via that pesky little proton associated with lactate) accumulate during a workout, and recovery gives the body time to restore intramuscular pH and reestablish intramuscular blood flow for oxygen delivery (among other things).

While you’re resting, your muscles kick into overdrive.

Recovery can be attacked several ways–some may be surprising, because they don’t directly target the muscles themselves. By approaching recovery through a few different avenues, it can be optimized.

Consuming Your Way to Recovery

It may not seem obvious, but a combination of hydration, diet, and supplements can do wonders for the muscles.

Hydration: During and After Exercise

Drinking fluids is a mantra repeated by coaches everywhere for good reason: muscles are 75% water.

Before and during exercise, hydration is key to maintaining fluid balance and can even improve endurance (it’s equally important to not over-consume water as well).3,4 But post-workout, consuming enough water is vital to helping digest essential nutrients and repairing damaged muscle.

The sought after protein resynthesis requires muscles be well-hydrated. And coupled with post-workout eating, saliva–which is comprised mostly of water–is necessary to help break down food, digest, and absorb all the nutrients you’re hoping to receive. In one study, adequate hydration after a 90-minute run on a treadmill showed significantly faster heart rate recovery;5 this illustrates that hydrated bodies recover from exercise-induced stress faster.

Don’t rely on the age-old test of urine to determine if you’re hydrated; that has been debunked.6

A good rule of thumb is to weigh yourself before and after a workout, drinking 1.5x the amount of weight lost.

Diet: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat All Work Together

Nailing the right nutrition strategy post-workout can encourage quicker recovery, reduce soreness, build muscle, improve immunity and replenish glycogen.

Your next workout starts within the hour your last workout ended.

Since exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein,7 it’s beneficial to consume an adequate amount of protein after a workout. Protein provides the body with necessary amino acids needed to repair and rebuild, while also promoting the development of new muscle tissue.8

Good sources of protein include: whey protein, whole eggs, cheese and smoked salmon.

Carbohydrates have a similarly important effect–they replenish glycogen stores. The type of exercise will depend on how much carbohydrate is needed. Consuming about 0.5 – 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight within 30 minutes of training can result in adequate glycogen resynthesis.7 Insulin secretion promotes glycogen synthesis, and is more stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed simultaneously.9

Carb sources are everywhere; but look to slow-release sources such as sweet potatoes, fruit, pasta and rice.

Fat shouldn’t be the main focus of an after workout meal, but should be part of it. Good fat sources include avocados and nuts. Milk is also a popular choice; one study found whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth than skim milk.10

Supplements: Protein, BCAAs and Omega-3s Build Muscle and Reduce Inflammation

We’ve outlined which supplements runners should take; it’s best to focus on protein, BCAAs and omega-3s–all these supplements help optimize muscle recovery.

While most athletes think protein is best left to bodybuilders, protein can repair the muscle damage that occurs during a workout, reduce the response from the “stress hormone” cortisol, and speed up glycogen replacement. Protein also accelerates the resolution of muscle inflammation.11,12

Whey, casein and soy are some of the most popular proteins. Whey is absorbed the fastest by the body, and is largely considered the most effective protein for muscle protein synthesis.13 Casein protein is geared more toward long-term recovery because it takes hours to absorb. Try introducing whey immediately post-workout, while using casein protein before bed; protein ingestion before sleep has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.14

Serious athletes should be taking about one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

If someone doesn’t consume enough protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can be a useful supplement.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. During exercise, the body breaks down protein into amino acids; those are absorbed and transported through the body to create new proteins that encourage building muscle. BCAAs help enhance muscle protein recovery by introducing more amino acids into the body. They preserve muscle glycogen stores, which fuel the muscles and minimize protein breakdown. Studies show BCAAs as effective for muscle recovery (as well as immune system regulation).15

Omega-3s, found in fish oils, have anti-inflammatory properties that help sore muscles.16 Kado-3, by HVMN, is a supercharged krill and fish oil stack designed to assist daily brain and body metabolism. Ingredients in Kado-3 work together; like astaxanthin oil (a powerful antioxidant) to fight against the buildup of free radicals, and Vitamins K and D to protect bone health.17,18,19

HVMN Ketone can also help muscle recovery. Those using HVMN Ketone have seen decreases in the breakdown of intramuscular glycogen and protein during exercise when compared to carbs alone.20 It also expedited the resynthesis of glycogen by 60% and protein by 2x when added to normal carb / protein post-workout fuel.21,22

Resting Your Way to Recovery

Rest should be accounted for in any training program.

Sleep: A Necessary Reset

On its face, sleep should be the easiest way to recover. One study found that lack of sleep can lead to muscle degradation.23 But many find it difficult to get the ideal seven-to-nine hours per night.

Sleep improves other facets of health that tangentially affect muscle recovery; the central nervous system (CNS) also recuperates during sleep, which is important for muscles, because the CNS triggers muscle contractions and reaction time. Hormones like cortisol and testosterone, which produce protein synthesis, are also working while we sleep.

To help optimize sleep, it’s important to set a routine.

Our screens can negatively impact sleep,24 so 60 – 90 minutes of screenless time before bed can do wonders. The blue light emitted from our devices tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime and we need to be awake, decreasing our natural melatonin.

It’s also important to create an optimal environment for sleep. Things like blackout curtains, a cooler temperature setting in the bedroom, or a quality mattress can all encourage better, more restful sleep.

Rest Days: Muscles Don’t Take Breaks, But You Should

On a much smaller scale, what’s happening during sleep is also happening on rest days. Work rest days into your training program because they give the body time to repair tissues that have been broken down.25

Depleted muscle energy stores, micro-tears, fluid loss–all the things that happen during a workout need time to recuperate and grow stronger.

Recovery time depends on your specific routine. Runners can have an especially difficult time doing this. For highly active runners who log miles six days per week, they should also incorporate recovery runs. About half of these runs should be at recovery pace, a slower less-strenuous pace that allows the body to recycle lactate as it’s produced. By increasing blood flow, recovery runs may actually accelerate the recovery process.

Also try to avoid intense workouts or hard runs on back-to-back days. Complete rest days vary by person, but a good goal is one or two rest days every week or ten days. Injury-prone athletes may increase the number of complete rest days during this period.

Techniques & Exercises for Recovery

Let’s get into the specifics of what you can do to help the body recover faster. By using exercises targeted at certain muscles, not only will those muscles recover faster–they’ll also get stronger in the process.

Active Recovery: Getting Stronger and Building Muscle

This type of recovery focuses on exercise intensity at low-to-moderate levels. Studies have shown that it’s best for the performance of endurance athletes.26 Active recovery is successful mostly due to its ability to more rapidly remove blood lactate, facilitating blood flow and giving the body the ability to process excess lactate produced during periods of intense exercise.27

Cross training is also a great way to engage in active recovery while enhancing aerobic fitness without putting the body through the same stress as your normal workouts. Try:

 

  • Cycling: The motion is similar to running without the joint impact. Ride at an easy pace in the low-intensity zone (around 120 – 140 heart rate)
  • Yoga: A beginner’s class should do just fine. Practicing basic yoga through online videos is sufficient, using poses such as sun salutation (to boost circulation and release tightness) and warriors one and two (to activate thigh and calf muscles while helping stretch hips)
  • Plyometrics: Even 15 – 30 minutes of bodyweight exercises can help boost circulation while stretching muscles. They’ve even been shown to increase sprint performance.28 Try exercises like planks, calf raises and lunges

Ice Baths: Taking the Plunge

Some athletes and coaches swear by ice baths, with trainers mandating post-practice cold water immersion (CWI). They consider ice baths essential to helping tired muscles, and feeling better for the next intense training sessions.

The idea here is that cold therapy constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, reducing swelling and tissue breakdown, flushing metabolic debris from the muscle.

But one study showcased that the “hypothesized physiological benefits surrounding CWI are at least partly placebo related.”29 This suggests that if you think ice baths help, then they may have a beneficial impact on recovery and subsequent training.

If you’d like to try an ice bath, fill a tub or large container with water, enough to submerge your hips. Add enough ice so the temperature of the water drops to about 55 degrees. Then sit in the bath for about 15 minutes.

Stretching & Foam Rolling: Increase Range of Motion

Stretching is important both before and after a workout because exercise can shorten muscles, decreasing mobility. Stretching helps flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to work in their full range of motion.30 One study found that hamstring flexibility led to increased muscle performance.31

Post-workout stretches are often forgotten by athletes in a rush, but it’s essential to account for these stretches in a training schedule. Generally, it’s best to hold stretches for about 30 seconds and repeat each once or twice. Target these muscles, which usually take a beating from a variety of workouts:

  • Piriformis
  • Chest and Anterior Deltoids
  • Hamstrings
  • Lats
  • Quads
  • Lower Back

Complementary to stretching, foam rollers help sore muscles,32 and they can be used on almost every muscle in the body.

Our muscles go through a constant state of breakdown, then repair. Fascia, the connective tissue surrounding our muscles, gets thick and short over time because the body is attempting to protect itself from more damage. Sometimes, trigger points form–sore spots, caused by fascia contraction, need release.

Ultimately, this affects range of movement and causes soreness.

Foam rolling (called myofascial release) can help release those muscular trigger points, and as one study found, can lead to overall improvement in athletic performance.33 The result is decreased muscle and joint pain, and increased mobility.

Selecting a foam roller depends on your needs; a larger roller can allow you fuller sessions (meaning, if it’s large enough, you can lie on the foam roller and do some great shoulder / upper back workouts). A denser roller will also mean a more intense massage.

Target these often overused areas: glutes, iliotibial band (IT band), lower back, shoulders and sides.

Technology: All the Data You Need

While technology and wearables can’t directly help with recovery, they’re able to gather important data that may inform recovery techniques. Being able to track aspects of training, sleep, heart rate and hydration can provide insight into how the best tackle specificities of recovery.

 

  • Hydration: Wearables like Nobo B60 and Hydra Alert help monitor hydration through different means, but mostly through sensors. Nobo is like a watch, mounted to the wrist or calf, while the Hydra Alert is placed in a urinal or toilet to monitor hydration through urine. However, many of these types of devices haven’t been independently validated for accuracy.
  • Training: It seems there are countless devices to measure training. The IMeasureU is versatile, using motion data to track training. Similar to hydration wearables though, there isn’t clinical validation for this technology.
  • Heart Rate and Breathing: The Hexoskin is like a smart t-shirt with electrocardiogram (ECG) and breathing sensors, along with an accelerometer. This measures heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing rate, steps, etc.
  • Sleep: Many training devices also can monitor sleep. These devices can illuminate what we don’t know happens during our sleep, and can also showcase our sleeping patterns to help us understand why we may be waking up so tired. The Fitbit Charge 2 is especially responsive to monitoring sleep, and has been validated through a third-party study.34

Understanding our inputs with data provides us with a way to maximize our outputs and reach peak performance–even in recovery.

Recovery is the First Step to Better Training

 

Recovery takes time and dedication; it often gets overlooked in workout schedules because it isn’t accounted for.

Active recovery, sleep, diet, and supplements like HVMN Ketone can be used to kickstart the recovery process and make training more effective.

The best training starts with mindful recovery to help muscles rebuild for the next training session. This, ultimately, can improve training by putting your body in the best position to perform. The process of muscle breakdown happens during exercise; immediately after, the process of muscle restoration and strengthening begins–you could be compromising gainful training by skipping these all-important techniques to help the body rebuild.

 

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28. Rimmer E, Sleivert G. Effects of a Plyometrics Intervention Program on Sprint Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2000, 14(3), 295–301 q 2000.
29. Broatch JR, Petersen A, Bishop DJ. Postexercise cold water immersion benefits are not greater than the placebo effect. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Nov;46(11):2139-47.
30. Page P. Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Feb; 7(1): 109–119.
31. Worrell T W, Smith T L, Winegardner J. Effect of Hamstring Stretching on Hamstring Muscle Performance. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 1994 Volume:20 Issue:3 Pages:154–159.
32. Pearcey G E P, Bradbury-Squires D J, Kawamoto J E, Drinkwater E J, Behm D G, Button D C. Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Journal of Athletic Training: January 2015, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 5-13.
33. Peacock CA, Krein D D, Silva T A, Sander G J, Von Carlowitz K A. An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release in the Form of Foam Rolling Improves Performance Testing. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014; 7(3): 202–211. Published online 2014 Jul 1.
34. de Zambotti M, Goldstone A, Claudatos S, Colrain IM, Baker FC. A validation study of Fitbit Charge 2™ compared with polysomnography in adults.

 

Sundried

A few months ago I started an ambassador program with SUNDRIED, an ethical activewear company. They have a very good ethos what is worth to support and also amazing products. I really love the clothes I have bought from them since I started.


When you buy online use code RICHARD and get 50% discount

Shop NOW


Sundried-Richard-Csosza (1)

Why is SUNDRIED ethical?

Because….. “We deeply care about the environment and we don’t just want to maintain the status quo, we want to go a step further and make things better than when we found them. We are deeply passionate about charity work and work closely with several charities such as Surfers Against Sewage, Havens Hospices, and Water For Kids. We believe that giving back is important and we are proud of the work we do.” More about their ethical ethos.

Their technology

“We stay up to date with the latest developments in technology to ensure the products we bring to you perform at their best. We are constantly researching and exploring new innovations in the market to evolve with the industry.

All of our fabrics are developed with performance focused technology to include the following features:

Sweat-wicking

Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling us down during a tough workout, but excess sweat can lead to chafing and discomfort. This is why at Sundried we use the latest in sweat-wicking technology in all of our products. You may have already heard about fabrics which ‘wick away sweat’ but you may not know what it actually means. Special wicking fabric literally pulls moisture from the body to the outside of the clothing so that it can evaporate away, leaving you feeling drier than you would in a fabric without this technology.

Multi-way Stretch

Stretch fabrics come in two types, 2-way or 4-way stretch. 2-way stretch fabrics stretch in one direction, usually from one end of the garment to the other. 4-way stretch fabrics stretch in both directions, crosswise and lengthwise.

At Sundried, we use 4-way stretch fabrics to create the ultimate in comfortable, breathable, and moveable clothing. When you’re training you want your apparel to move with you so that it doesn’t chafe or ride. Our materials stay put and follow the contours of your body to not only make the clothes more comfortable but to create flattering outlines too.

Temperature Control

When you’re training, you want to stay cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Our temperature control technology does just that. Special fabrics and fibres are used to channel warmth so that you can be comfortable no matter what the weather.

Recycled Fabrics

Sundried are proud to support ethical, sustainable activewear production with our range of apparel made from coffee. You’ve probably heard of fabric being made from recycled water bottles, but coffee is the latest development in responsible sourcing. First developed by a Taiwanese company in 2008, the use of coffee grounds to make clothes has been on the rise ever since. The fabric produced has a number of benefits, especially for activewear and gym clothing. It is fast-drying, sweat-wicking, and de-odorising, all benefits which are hugely important for performance clothing. Not only that, it does not require the high-temperature treatment that other materials require which reduces CO2 emissions leading to a greener planet.”

About the quality and recycled fabrics
Quality
Check out the online shop and don’t forget the 50% discount.
Use code: RICHARD

“Tough workouts require tougher activewear. Sundried’s fabric choices are designed to last, trialled and tested by leading triathletes to ensure our athletes are supported. Sundried use premium materials with the finest quality fibres to ensure the products we bring to you are of the highest standard.”

I can say this is true. The quality and the fabric is very tough and very light, last but not least very comfortable to wear.

Recycling

“Ethical clothing is sweeping the nation, and there is an ever-growing demand for more sustainable ways to produce fabric. With a rise in ‘fast fashion’ over the last few years, the mounting production of cheap clothes has meant that important values have been lost and not only does the environment suffer, but so too do the workers.”

“Sundried are proud to support ethical, sustainable activewear production with our range of apparel made from coffee. You’ve probably heard of fabric being made from recycled water bottles, but coffee is the latest development in responsible sourcing. First developed by a Taiwanese company in 2008, the use of coffee grounds to make clothes has been on the rise ever since. The fabric produced has a number of benefits, especially for activewear and gym clothing. It is fast-drying, sweat-wicking, and de-odorising, all benefits which are hugely important for performance clothing. Not only that, it does not require the high-temperature treatment that other materials require which reduces CO2 emissions leading to a greener planet.”

So how on earth does it work?

“The fabric is made from the waste product that is created when making coffee. The used coffee grounds usually just end up in a landfill, so this recycling process is truly ethical and responsible. The coffee grounds are processed in a low-temperature, high-pressured environment to make them into yarn which is then woven into naturally high-tech fabric.

The clothing that is produced from used coffee grounds has fantastic benefits, including odour control, sweat-wicking, and it dries over 200 times faster than cotton. It is also naturally anti-bacterial.

Responsibly-sourced materials are the future and ethical brands like Sundried are leading the way to a brighter time ahead for our planet.”

Check out the online shop and don’t forget the 50% discount.
Use code: RICHARD
The most important thing is their charity work

“Sundried want to share our success. Sundried-Richard-Csosza (1)Your purchase through Sundried will make a difference to a child’s life, helping to provide them with something we take for granted, water.


Use code RICHARD and get 50% discount.


When we call ourselves responsible we don’t just say it. While we develop our apparel we want our positive message, respect for the environment and healthy lifestyle to rub off on our consumers and the people that we know. To do this we make a pledge to charity with every Sundried purchase.

Each item in our collection is uniquely coded with a pledge to charity Water for Kids. By visiting our donate site and entering your code, you will be able to follow the journey of your donation. We encourage you to share this donation across social media in order to inspire others to do the same.

Water for Kids protect the good health of children and communities in the developing world by assisting in the provision of safe drinking water.

Your Sundried purchase could help a child get safe drinking water for the first time.

Water for Kids currently have projects mainly in rural disadvantaged communities of Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. The projects begin sourcing safe drinking water; either by protecting a polluted village water source, rain water harvesting or building a new borehole for a larger community.

Sundried promote respect for our environment and our people and we’re proud of our ethos.

Sundried will prove to the industry and consumers that desirable sportswear can be ethical.”

A strongly agree with SUNDRIED. This company has an ethos what everybody should follow and promote. People need help all around the world and every penny counts. To keep the environment safe and also to preserve what we have on Earth is also crucial for future generations. People always forget about that our generation maybe the last who can see polar bears, gorillas, elephants but I want my daughter to see them too and not only in pictures.

by Mike Reinold (web)

Self myofascial release tools, such as foam rollers, trigger point balls, and massage sticks, have become some of the most popular tools used for corrective exercises, fitness, and sports performance.  In fact, performing self myofascial release has become almost a uniform component in the majority of fitness and sports performance programs.

You can certainly argue the exact physiological benefit of performing self myofascial release.  Ironically we are likely not really “releasing” fascia.

However, it’s hard to argue the benefits of self myofascial release.

Two recent studies in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy have been published that analyzed the current state of research and conclude that self myofascial release:

  • Increases mobility and joint range of motion
  • Reduces post-workout soreness and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Allows for greater workout performance in future workouts
  • May lead to improved vascular function and parasympathetic nervous system function

“Simply put, self myofascial release has been proven to help you feel and move better.”

In order to get started, I wanted to share my years of experience with self myofascial release tools.  There are so many foam rollers, trigger point tools, and massage sticks out there these days.
I’ve tried nearly all of them and these are what I consider the best self myofascial release tools.

Best Self Myofascial Release Tools

Over the years I have tried a ridiculous amount of different self myofascial release tools, some great, some awful, and some just a rip off.  Luckily, new products emerge all the time and continue to improve.

I’ve learned a couple of things that are important:

  • There are different types of self myofascial release tools for different needs, body parts, and intensities.  Building your own “kit” is probably going to be the most effective.  Trying to use just a foam roller on everything is going to not work well.
  • You tend to build up a tolerance to self myofascial release and want to upgrade to more advanced foam rollers, trigger point balls, and massage sticks.  Start with the basics and advance overtime.

Best Foam Rollers

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller

The first place to is a basic high density foam roller.  This could be the cheapest and most versatile tool you get.  Amazon has started to make their own version, which is a great price.  You’ll find various sizes.  I’ve never personally gotten much use of the large 36-inch versions and tend to favor the 18-inch version.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Rollerself myofascial release - grid foam roller

The basic high density foam roller is a great place to start to get used to foam rolling, but quickly gets pretty easy.  You’ll want to upgrade to a more firm foam roller in increase the intensity.  My preferred choice is the GRID foam roller from TriggerPoint.  I’ve been using this foam roller for years with continued success.  It has a rigid hollow core that increases the intensity very well.  This is worth the extra investment as it will likely be your main foam roller for some time.

(If you want to go for a cheaper version that can give you the same result check these GRID foam rollers out:
My personal favourite is THIS one. It is a very tough foam roller and gives you a very nice massage. )

 

Mobilitas Mobility Sphere
self myofascial release - mobility sphere foam roller

Somewhere between a foam roller and a trigger point ball, I actually really like using 5” mobility balls.  Because of the round shape, the contact area is smaller so the amount of force to the area is larger.  Plus, you can use into in multiple planes of motion because it is a ball instead of a roller.  This is something I personally use.  You can get into smaller areas, like your chest, but I use this just as much as a standard foam roller.  There are a few but the one I (Mike Reinold) use and recommend is the Mobilitas Mobility Sphere.

(For another very good mobility ball just CLICK HERE)

Acumobility Eclipse Foam Rollerself myofascial release - acumobility foam roller

I was recently turned onto the Eclipse Foam Roller from Acumobility and have been impressed.  I was intrigued by the design and wanted to try it myself.  I’m not a big fan of foam rollers with ridges, as I just feel they don’t do much and concept is more of a marketing gimmick.  But Acumobility has a made a great advanced foam roller that includes a firm middle section that can encompass a body part really well.  It’s a really unique design and a great tool for advanced foam rolling.

Best Massage Roller Stick

While foam rollers are the primary self myofascial release tool for most needs, there are body parts that simply don’t do as well and need a massage stick tool.  The next tool you should add to your self myofascial release tool kit is a massager stick roller.  There are a few popular massage sticks on the market, and as it is with most things, I actually don’t prefer the two most popular massage sticks.

TheraBand Roller Massager+self myofascial release - theraband massage stick roller

The original massage stick began with plastic pieces and did a fairly well job, but newer tools have used a more grippy surface that I feel is far more effective. A plastic roller is just placing pressure downward on the tissue, where the grip on the TheraBand Roller Massager+ seems to also create a tissue traction with the friction produced.  This is a great product for areas like the forearms and feet, but also areas where you want to apply more pressure than what you can with just body weight, like the quads, hamstrings, and calves.  Plus, this has been the massage roller featured in many of the research reports.

(I can recommend another three massage sticks to choose from.)

Best Trigger Point Release Tools

In addition to foam rollers and massage sticks.  Trigger point release tools are another must have addition to your self myofascial release tool kit.  Essentially, these just tend to be smaller self myofascial release tools that can get into tighter areas.

Lacrosse Ballself myofascial release - lacrosse ball trigger point tool

Yup, that’s it, just a lacrosse ball.  People have tried to make better versions of trigger point balls, but nothing beats the affordable lacrosse ball.  Great material, density, and durability.  This is a great place to start.  Get a couple so you can use two at once one places like your spine.

Acumobility Mobility Ballself myofascial release - acumobility ball trigger point tool

Acumobility, the maker of the Eclipse Roller above, has another great tool, their Mobility Ball.  This is made from a great dense material, but has a flat bottom that allows you to keep this in one spot on the floor or even against the wall.  This really helps to provide firm pressure while performing movements of the muscle group.  This is a great upgrade from the lacrosse ball.

Trigger Point Wandself myofascial release - trigger point wand

Sometimes an area is hard to reach, such as your neck or back.  That’s where sometimes a trigger point wand comes in handy.  I would definitely consider this a speciality tool, however a very popular choice.

Foot Rubz Massage Ballself myofascial release - foot rubz massage ball

Another speciality tool, but something that I wanted to include as I really love, is the hand and foot massage ball from Foot Rubz.  This is a smaller trigger point ball perfect for the hands and feet.  You can use a lacrosse ball or even the TheraBand Massage Roller above for these areas, but I feel this is slightly better and worth it for many.  (I’m literally using one as I type this haha…)

After a very long silent period I am posting again. 🙂

Let’s talk about trigger points and muscle knots. A client of mine asked me about the difference. The simple difference is that a trigger point is a painful muscle knot. Knots are at least partially responsible for as much as 75% of muscle pain.

Symptoms can range from intolerable pain caused by “active” trigger points, to painless restriction of movement and distortion of posture from “latent” trigger points.

Trigger points are areas (from a pinhead size to perhaps the size of your thumb) of painfully contracted muscle tissue.  The big problem starts when this knot tightens then it creates a small muscle spasm that causes pain. This pain causes you to tighten up to protect the painful area. The result can be a new knot and more pain.

Trigger points can be the result of injury, overworking a muscle or postural stress and strain like sitting in a less than ideal position for long periods.  Anxiety, emotional stress, inflammation, environmental toxins, and allergies may also play a part.

Muscle Knots and Referred Pain

Knots often cause referred pain so they are tricky to pinpoint. Referred pain means the pain is felt not at the point of the knot, but elsewhere in the body. E.g. if you find a knot in your upper trapezius and put pressure on it you may feel pain in your head. Or pain in your leg could be the result of a trigger point in the lower back.

This tendency to cause referred pain is one of the things that make trigger points so maddening.

Massage therapists and physical therapists know the most effective way to release the contraction of a trigger point is deep, continuous pressure. But if you’re bothered with frequent shoulder pain, for example, that you suspect may be caused by a painful knot, repeated visits to a therapist are not always practical.

Self treatment

In my point of view and personal experience self treatment is always a temporary solution of prevention. If you train with weights you have bigger chance to develop knots and trigger points despite lots of SMR (self myofascial release) so you need to see a professional therapist e.g sport massage therapist maybe once in a month. Of course, it depends on your condition.

The next post will be about the SMR tools.

by Marilyn Rogers

Grounding, also referred to as earthing, means having direct contact with the earth — such as walking barefoot. Researchers have found numerous benefits when we do grounding, such as reducing pain and inflammation, and even improving sleep.

It might be too unbelievable that walking barefoot could actually improve our health. But there’re scientific reasons behind… As the earth emits negative electrons, they penetrate our bodies when we walk barefoot. These electrons have remarkable benefits that many of us have never imagined.

It will reduce free radicals and inflammation in your body

Free radicals are produced from our electronic devices, the sun’s rays, x-rays, cigarettes, and various chemicals. We’re always in a battle with free radicals and it’s impossible to avoid them. Free radicals are necessary for metabolic processes, but too many free radicals can hurt our bodies and cause chronic diseases.

Research indicates that antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that contribute to our body’s inflammatory responses. Because grounding has antioxidant effects, it can disarm these free radicals, thus reducing inflammation.

It will improve your mood

Does a day spent walking barefoot at the beach or in your backyard improve your mood? You’re not alone. According to a study by Gaétan Chevalier, participants who were grounded for one hour reported improvements in their moods, as opposed to those who were not grounded. The study concludes that additional studies are warranted. However, if the positive effects are confirmed, grounding could be an easy way to decrease depression, anxiety, and stress.

It will improve your sleep

If you’re one of the many who suffer from chronic sleep issues or occasional insomnia, grounding might help you get the sleep you need by reducing cortisol levels. In a study published by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, subjects that grounded during sleep by using a conductive mattress pad had reduced nighttime levels of cortisol and their 24-hour circadian cortisol profiles became closer to normal. Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone” that can lower our quality of sleep.

It will accelerate tissue repair and wound healing

It has been reported that Tour De France racers have successfully used Earthing Recovery Bags for tissue repair and recovery with amazing results. The Earthing Recovery Bag, which resembles a sleeping bag, cocoons the athletes in energy to provide healing properties. With this being said, if you want to speed up tissue repair, try exercising, meditating, or practicing yoga outdoors while barefoot. It’s an inexpensive way to incorporate grounding into your daily life and reap the benefits that these elite athletes have experienced.

It will boost your heart health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States — it results in about 610,000 deaths each year. According to a grounding study, earthing or grounding can boost heart health by reducing blood viscosity and clumping. Essentially, grounding increases the Zeta Potential on red blood cells. Red blood cells have a negative electrical charge. When the negative charge is greater, the cells repel one another, which improves blood flow. It should be noted that those who take blood thinners should consult with their physicians before adding grounding to their daily routines.

It will reduce the symptoms of PMS

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as bloating, irritability, fatigue, headache, and depression can be uncomfortable and bothersome. Traditional ways of relieving PMS, such as medications and lifestyle changes, are not always effective. Grounding can help relief PMS symptoms for some women by reducing cortisol. Stress, which leads to high cortisol levels, can make PMS worse. This is why many women report improvements in PMS when practicing grounding. As an added benefit, grounding can reduce pain and inflammation, which are common PMS symptoms.

It will help you recover from your workouts

Muscle soreness after workouts, generally referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), is a common side effect of strenuous or new exercise. There are several ways to relieve it, such as supplements, ice, massage, and foam rolling. Moreover, a pilot study from The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that grounding has the potential to reduce the recovery time from DOMS and improve muscle function.

It will help you lose weight

When our energy is out of balance, we tend to make bad food choices by consuming things that are not good for us. Also, when we’re under stress, cortisol is released which signals our brains to seek out comfort foods and drinks, such as sugary sweets and alcoholic drinks. On the other hand, when we’re getting adequate sleep, not having pain, and feeling less stress, it’s easier to make healthy choices. As a result, all of these benefits of grounding work together to assist in weight loss.

How to get grounded

Every day find some time to take off your shoes as most of them are insulators which stop electrons from the earth penetrating into our bodies. Surfaces that allow grounding:

  • sand
  • grass
  • bare soil
  • unpainted/unsealed concrete and brick

Surfaces that can’t get us grounded:

  • wood
  • vinyl
  • carpet
  • sealed tiles

by KALEE BROWN

We have published many articles on the concept that we, as human beings, house a soul in our physical bodies and that our eyes are the gateway to this essence. We’ve talked a lot about the relationship between the mind, body, and soul and the importance of keeping it balanced and in harmony. However, have you ever contemplated what the physical muscle of the soul could be? Well, therapist and filmmaker Danielle Prohom Olson has; in fact, she claims that by relaxing  your psoas, or what she terms “the muscle of the soul,” you can reconnect with the powerful energy of the Earth.

What Is Your Psoas?

The correct pronunciation of the psoas is “so-az.” The psoas is literally the deepest muscle of the human body. You have one on each side of the spine, attached to your sides and spanning laterally from the 12th thoracic vertebra to each of the lumbar vertebra. It then moves through the abdominal core and the pelvis without attaching to the bone, and then connects to the iliacus muscle in a common tendon at the top of the femur (thigh) bone.

The diagram below shows the location of the psoas in the human body:

psoasdiagram

The psoas is crucial for proper body movement, as it affects our structural balance, muscular integrity, flexibility, strength, range of motion, joint mobility, and organ functioning. Without your psoas, you wouldn’t be able to maintain proper posture or move your legs to walk. While you’re walking, a healthy psoas moves with ease, continuously massaging the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels, and nerves of the trunk. This process promotes the flow of fluids throughout the body and creates the feeling of being grounded and centered.

The psoas is the only muscle to connect the spine to the legs. The psoas is also linked to the diaphragm through fascia (connective tissue), impacting our fear reflex and breathing. This is due to the connection between the psoas and the reptilian brain, the most ancient inner part of the brain stem and spinal cord.

Liz Koch, author of The Psaos Book and founder of Core Awareness, explains, “Long before the spoken word or the organizing capacity of the cortex developed, the reptilian brain, known for its survival instincts, maintained our essential core functioning.”

Why The Psoas Is Considered the Muscle of the Soul

Prior to learning about the connection the psoas has to energy, Olson started implementing more hip opening poses at the beginning and end of her yoga practice. Although her intention was simply to relax her psoas, in doing so, she experienced a significant decrease in tension and a newfound strength. Once she was exposed to Koch’s research and Taoism, she connected the dots between the psoas, stress, and spirituality and started referring to the psoas as “the muscle of the soul.”

Taoism is a philosophy, often referred to as a religion, that attempts to explain our relationship to nature and the universe. Practicing Taoists heavily focus on genuineness, health, immortality, detachment, spontaneity, transformation, and spirituality. Within the Taoist tradition, the psoas is considered the seat or the muscle of the soul and resides in the lower “Dan tien,” one of the human body’s most prominent energy centres. It is said that a flexible and strong psoas helps ground us and circulate energy throughout the body.

The Relationship Between Stress and the Psoas and How to Release It

Stress, anxiety, and fear are typically perceived as mental health issues, thus doctors often prescribe medication that target the mind. Although this approach has helped many people, we should be looking at stress through a broader lense and striving to understand what causes these emotional imbalances in the first place, including the relationship stress has to the psoas. Through their research, Koch and Olson have both discovered that by opening the psoas, one can release stress and tension through it.

Many people chase after the fast-paced, high-stress lifestyle that is the “American Dream,” characterized by spending most days at a “desk job” and most nights partying until the sun rises, then repeating the process. Koch believes that chronic triggers and tightening of the psoas are products of this unhealthy lifestyle as well as other common elements of modern day life, such as the chairs we sit in and the constrictive pants and shoes we wear. If we continuously contract the psoas as a result of increased stress or tension, the muscle becomes shorter, causing negative side effects such as lower back pain, sciatica, disc problems, scoliosis, hip degeneration, menstruation pain, infertility, and digestive issues.

If you suffer from any of these health issues or are looking to decrease or prevent stress, try the following yoga poses that help open the psoas:

By Chris Kesser (web)

Bone broth and your health

At this point, I hope you have a solid understanding of the components of bone broth. Now let’s get on to the health benefits!

Skin health
Skin is composed of two layers, the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis, or upper layer, is composed of keratinocytes and is largely responsible for skin barrier function. Underneath is the dermis, a dense matrix of collagen, along with some GAGs, that provides structural and nutritive support (22). Keratin, collagen, and GAGs are abundant in bone broth, particularly if the skin from the animal is included in the cooking process.

In a 2014 randomized and controlled trial, collagen consumption significantly improved skin elasticity and tended to improve skin moisture content (23). Collagen scaffolds are widely used in medical applications to promote tissue regeneration and heal wounds (24). One study in mice found that supplementing the diet with gelatin was able to protect against UV-induced skin damage (25). GAGs offer additional skin benefits. The GAG hyaluronic acid has been shown to promote skin cell proliferation and increase the presence of retinoic acid, which improves the skin’s hydration (26), and dermatan sulfate has been shown to aid in cell turnover and wound repair (27).

Metabolic and cardiovascular health
Remember glycine, an amino acid that is particularly abundant in bone broth? Glycine plays a role in blood sugar regulation by controlling gluconeogenesis, the production of glucose in the liver (28), and has even been suggested to counteract some of the negative effects of dietary fructose consumption (29). Glycine has also been shown to reduce the size of heart attacks (30).

Furthermore, glycine balances out methionine intake. Muscle meats and eggs are high in methionine, an amino acid that raises homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine is a significant risk factor for serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures and increases our need for homocysteine-neutralizing nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline (31). Those eating lots of animal protein need adequate glycine to balance out the methionine from meat, and you’ll get that from bone broth. For more information, check out Denise Minger’s awesome presentation in which she discusses this very issue.

Muscle and performance
Glycine is also important for the synthesis of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which transport oxygen throughout the blood and muscle tissue, respectively (32). Glycine also increases creatine levels, which leads to an increase in anaerobic (high-intensity) exercise capacity, and stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), which may enhance muscle repair (33, 34, 35). Recent evidence suggests that proline may play a role in regulating the mTOR cellular signaling pathway, which integrates signals from nutrients, growth factors, stress factors, and cellular energy status to affect cell function and growth. Proline, together with other amino acids, activates mTOR, resulting in enhanced muscle protein synthesis (36).

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the chemical form of energy in the body that can be used to perform work. Phosphorus is required for the formation of this compound, and ATP cannot be biologically active unless bound to a magnesium ion. Phosphorus deficiency has been shown to reduce muscle performance (37, 38). Both phosphorus and magnesium are present in bone broth in modest amounts.

Bones and joints
It should be pretty obvious that the best way to get the nutrients necessary to build bone is from bone itself! Drinking bone broth provides all of the raw material for building healthy bones: calcium, phosphorus, amino acids, and more. A deficiency of the raw materials for building bone can result in a number of different conditions. For example, osteoporosis is associated with reduced levels of collagen and calcium in the bones (39, 40). Of course, you’ll also need the nutrients required to support the building process, like vitamins D, K2, and C. (To learn more about building healthy bones and where to get these nutrients on a Paleo diet, check out this article.)

As for joint health, lubrication by GAGs is the key to a full range of motion, whereby part of one bone can slide smoothly and painlessly over part of another. Sure, you could buy expensive supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to keep your joints healthy, but why, when these and a host of other beneficial nutrients can easily be obtained from bone broth? After all, GAGs are not the only component of broth that improves joint health. Collagen supplementation has been shown to reduce joint pain in athletes (41).

Gut health
A healthy colon contains a single tight layer of epithelial cells, a thick mucus layer, and a diverse collection of microbes. Microbial dysbiosis and a thinning of this mucus layer can quickly compromise the integrity of the epithelial barrier. Microbes and dietary proteins can then “leak” into the bloodstream and invoke an inflammatory response by the immune system. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of bacterial cell walls, stimulates a particularly robust immune response (42).

Bone broth is a staple of gut-healing diets, and rightfully so! Gelatin absorbs water and helps maintain the layer of mucus that keeps gut microbes away from the intestinal barrier. In a mouse model, gelatin supplementation reduced the severity of colitis by strengthening the mucus layer and altering gut microbiota composition (43). Gelatin and glycine have also been shown to reduce the inflammation caused by LPS (44, 45). Glycine has been shown to protect against gastric ulcers as well (46). Glutamine also helps maintain the integrity of the gut mucosa and intestinal barrier (47).

Digestion
Bone broth has so many benefits to gut health that I had to make digestion its own section! Drinking broth with meals is an excellent way to aid digestion. Glycine stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is essential for the proper digestion of food (48). Low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) is surprisingly common in developed countries and can lead to a number of health issues.

Glycine is also an important component of bile acid, which is released to aid in the digestion of fats in the small intestine (49). Bile acid is important for maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels. The presence of gelatin in the gut also draws fluid into the intestine, improving gut motility and supporting healthy bowel movements. Low blood levels of collagen have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease (50).

Detoxification, liver, and kidney health
Recently, there has been some concern regarding the lead toxicity of bone broth. However, the vitamins and minerals that are abundant in bone broth, and in Paleo diets in general, can protect against the harmful effects of toxins like lead. Glycine also stimulates production of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant (51). In animal models, glycine has been shown to speed recovery from alcohol-induced fatty liver disease (52), protect liver cells against hypoxia (53), and improve survival after liver transplantation (54). In humans, glycine reduces oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome (55).

Proline plays a role in apoptosis, the process by which the body breaks down old cells, clears up waste products, and recycles raw materials for use in healthy cells (56). Proline can scavenge free radicals, effectively acting as an antioxidant (57). Glutamine, on the other hand, acts as a nontoxic nitrogen transporter, carrying amine groups safely through the bloodstream to the kidney. In the kidney, the conversion of glutamine to glutamate regulates acid–base balance by producing ammonium (58).

Eye health
Yes, bone broth may improve eye health. The cornea consists of three primary layers: an outer epithelial layer, a middle layer, and an inner endothelial layer. Hyaluronic acid stimulates proliferation of the epithelial cells that line the cornea (59) and is commonly used during eye surgery to help replace lost fluids (60). The middle, or stromal, layer is largely made of collagen, keratan sulfates, and chondroitin sulfates. Keratan sulfates have been shown to be essential to the transparency of the cornea (61), while chondroitin sulfate has been shown to influence the development of neural pathways in the retina (62). The amino acid glycine has also been shown to delay the progression of cataracts in a rat model of diabetes (63).

Brain health
Numerous components of bone broth influence the nervous system. The healthy fats in bone broth, particularly if made with marrow bones, provide a source of fuel and raw material for the brain. After all, more than 60 percent of the human brain is composed of fat (64). Glycine has been shown to protect against neuronal death after ischemic stroke (65) and likely plays a pertinent role in the development of the brain in the womb and during the first few months after birth (66). Calcium is essential for nerve conduction. When a nerve cell is stimulated, the influx of calcium triggers neurotransmitter release, allowing the signal to be passed on to the next nerve cell. Calcium deficiency affects this transmission and can result in symptoms of depression, insomnia, and hyperactivity. Lastly, chondroitin sulfate plays an important role in regeneration and plasticity in the central nervous system (67), meaning it is essential for learning and memory.

Mood and sleep
Bone broth can also improve both mood and sleep. Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it can decrease anxiety, promote mental calmness, and help with sleep (68). One study found that three grams of glycine given to subjects before bedtime produced measurable improvements in sleep quality (69).

Unlike methionine, glycine does not compete with tryptophan for transport across the blood–brain barrier (70). Tryptophan is the precursor (raw material) for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being. Serotonin, in turn, is a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep–wake cycles. This is why a diet that includes bone broth and fattier cuts of meat can help prevent the depression and insomnia that some people may experience when eating a diet high in methionine-rich lean meat and eggs.

Immune function
While ancient folk wisdom suggests that bone broth can cure the common cold, modern science has confirmed that the components of bone broth do indeed influence the immune system. For example, glycine receptors have been identified on the outer surface of several different types of immune cells (71, 72). The effect is a dampening of the immune response, resulting in reduced inflammatory signaling molecules and oxidative stress that may reduce damage to lungs and other tissues (73). The GAG heparin sulfate has been shown to influence B cell function, T cell function, and macrophage activity (74).

Where to source bone broth

To summarize, bone broth has an incredible number of potential health benefits and is rooted in a long history of human use. It makes an excellent addition to any diet and can be used in a multitude of dishes. Bone broth can be made at home or it can be bought pre-made.

Homemade bone broth is simple to make. Ask your local farmers if they have soup bones, or roast a whole pastured chicken and save the bones for making broth. Chicken feet, chicken necks, calves’ feet, and marrow bones are particularly valuable additions to broth. You can find a good basic recipe over at the Weston A. Price Foundation website.

Pre-made bone broth is also a good option. Be sure to:

  • Buy broth that is organic and made from pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish (this minimizes the toxins and maximizes the nutrients you get from the bone broth).
  • Avoid cans and other containers that contain bisphenol A (BPA), a potent endocrine disruptor, or other BPA substitutes.
  • Check out my favorite brand of broth: Kettle and Fire uses bones of organic, pasture-raised animals along with organic vegetables, sea salt, and herbs, all slow-simmered for 24 hours.

However you choose to get your hands on this liquid gold, be sure to make bone broth a staple in your diet!

 

By Chris Kesser (web)

Bone broth: a nutrient gold mine

Bones contain an abundance of minerals as well as 17 different amino acids, many of which are found in broth as proteThe Bountiful Benefits of Bone Broth: a Comprehensive Guide Vol.1ins like collagen and gelatin. Though the exact nutritional content varies based on the bones used, cooking time, and cooking method, the following nutrients are consistently found in most bone broths.

Collagen
With 28 different types, collagen makes up about 30 percent of the protein in your body (4) and is the main component of connective tissues like cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin. It is also present in the blood vessels, cornea, and lens of the eye. The name collagen comes from the Greek “kólla,” meaning “glue, and the suffix “-gen,” which means “producing.” In fact, early glue was made from collagen more than 8,000 years ago, likely by boiling the skin and sinews of animals (5). In addition to providing structure, collagen also plays an important role in tissue development and regulation (6, 7).

Gelatin
When collagen is simmered, it forms gelatin. This hydrolysis of collagen is irreversible and results in the breakdown of long collagen protein fibrils into smaller protein peptides. However, its chemical composition is very similar to its parent molecule, collagen (8). Gelatin is what gives bone broth or stock its Jell-O-like consistency once it has cooled.

Glycosaminoglycans
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex carbohydrates that participate in many biological processes. They can attach to proteins in order to form proteoglycans, which are integral parts of connective tissue and synovial fluid, the lubricant that surrounds the joint (9). If the connective tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, is still attached, the bones in broth will provide our bodies with the whole spectrum of GAGs, including keratan sulfates, dermatan sulfates, chondroitin sulfates, and hyaluronic acid, which are the raw materials for skin, bone, and cartilage formation.

Glycine
Glycine is an amino acid that makes up more than a third of collagen. It also acts as a neurotransmitter, binding to glycine receptors present throughout the nervous system and peripheral tissues. Signaling through this receptor is particularly important in mediating inhibitory neurotransmission in the brainstem and spinal cord (10, 11).

Proline
Proline is an amino acid that makes up about 17 percent of collagen. The addition of hydroxyl groups to proline significantly increases the stability of collagen and is essential to its structure. Though small amounts of proline can be manufactured in the body, evidence shows that adequate dietary proline is necessary to maintain an optimal level of proline in the body (12, 13). Proline is not typically thought of as a neurotransmitter, but it is able to weakly bind to glutamate receptors and glycine receptors (14).

Glutamine
Glutamine is yet another important amino acid found in bone broth and is the most abundant amino acid in the blood (15). It is one of the few amino acids that can directly cross the blood–brain barrier (16). Intestinal epithelial cells and activated immune cells eagerly consume glutamine for cellular energy (17, 18).

Bone marrow
Inside the center cavity of the bone is the bone marrow, consisting of two types, red and yellow. Both types contain collagen. Red bone marrow is the site of manufacturing for new immune cells and red blood cells, while yellow marrow consists of healthy fats (19, 20). It is thought that important nutritional and immune support factors might be extracted from marrow during cooking, but the bioavailability of these factors has not been studied.

Minerals
Bone is also full of minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc (21). An acidic medium is necessary to extract these minerals from food. When making broth, always add a splash of vinegar or other acid in order to extract the most minerals from the bone.

Vol.3 coming soon