Creatine research, insulin-like growth factor-1, IGF-1, vitamin D benefits, Ayurveda, quercetin

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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.

Furci...creatine is perhaps the most researched supplement on the planet? Yet new data on the benefits of supplementing with this incredible substance is still mounting. Canadian researchers compared the changes in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) amounts in two groups of subjects. All the subjects performed at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity three to five times per week for eight weeks. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one supplementing with creatine, the other, an isocaloric placeo. Muscle biopsies were taken before and after the training period and analyzed for IGF-1 content. The creatine group had a 24% higher level of IGF-1. The creatine group also had a 23% higher increase in type II muscle fibers. These findings were independent of dietary guidelines. (Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2008; 18(4))

What does this mean for the average Joe? It means if you supplement with creatine, you’ll not only get the well known “volumizing” effect, but more muscle fibers.

...more good news about the sunshine vitamin is coming out all the time? A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2008;168(15)) indicates that people with low vitamin D levels have a significantly higher risk of death than those with higher levels. The study involved 13,000 people in their 40's whose blood was tested for vitamin D levels and followed for approximately nine years. The subjects were divided into four groups based on their vitamin D levels. Those in the bottom quarter had a 26% greater risk of dying from any cause than those in the top quarter.

...there are 4 things you can do for your health right now to give you the biggest bang for your buck?

You are what you eat. Start eating as many whole, natural, 100% organic foods as possible. Ensure that you cut back on polyunsaturated fats and eliminate trans fats from your diet. Stay away from processed foods. The farther away a food is from its original state, the worse it is for you.

Keep a positive outlook. Stress kills. There are many experts who believe stress is the number one influence on health. I believe without being emotionally healthy one cannot be physically healthy. Learn to relax, and let things go that you cannot control.

Exercise. Do I really need to expand on this?

Stop smoking. The health effects from smoking are the same as adding 10 years to your life. In other words, a 55-year-old man who smoked has the same risks of death from all causes as a 65 year old who never smoked.

...the oldest known form of healthcare in the world is Ayurveda? It is an ancient system of holistic medicine and natural healing. Evidence of Ayurveda has been found in ancient books called Vedas, written more than 6,000 years ago.

Jennifer Lynch

Ayurveda roughly translates into “the science of life”. According to Ayurveda, human life is the combination of mind, body and soul. Ayurveda believes the mind and our senses greatly influence our physiology. Mental health is of utmost importance and Ayurveda offers life-enhancing practices for overall health. At some point, western medicine turned away from the spiritual, and now focuses almost exclusively on the medical.

...quercetin, a supplement you can purchase over the counter, reduced illness and maintained mental performance in physically stressed subjects? Trained cyclists consumed 1,000 mg per day of quercetin (plus niacin and vitamin C) for five weeks. Another group of 20 cyclists were given a placebo. After three weeks, subjects rode a bicycle three hours per day for three days to the point of exhaustion. After the exercise period, approximately 45% of the placebo-consuming cyclists became ill, while only 5% of the quercetin group suffered any illness. Furthermore, when given an alertness test, the quercetin-consuming subjects better maintained their ability to react after exhaustion. (Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008; 295(2))

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