005: HRV & Stress Tolerance with Dr. Jay T. Wiles

 

Joining Andres on the podcast today is Dr. Jay T. Wiles, a Clinical Health Psychologist who is Board Certified in both HRV Biofeedback, and Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. His passion for helping others reach their full potential from an integrative and holistic perspective has led him to work with elite athletes as well as executives from the business world. Dr. Wiles hosts his own podcast, ‘Mindhacker’s Radio’, offers one-on-one coaching through his integrative and holistic wellness center, ‘Thrive Wellness and Performance’, and is overall one of the happiest guys you’re ever going to meet.

 

In this episode, Dr. Wiles begins by describing his own health and life journey, and then engages in a discourse regarding all things related to Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Along the way, he touches upon what it can tell us, how to assess it, devices that he recommends, and the most common habits and techniques that he prescribes. He also shares some valuable resources for listeners to explore, runs through a breathwork demonstration, and explains grounding and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and their effects. Throughout the conversation, Andres shares his own varied experiences with the concepts and products Dr. Wiles presents, and together they share their recommendations for all of us to implement. As you will discover, Dr. Wiles’ remarkable passion and enthusiasm for these topics is matched by Andres’ as they examine these fundamental biometrics and the benefits that their application can bring to all listeners. As Andres notes, he learned so much from this expert, and it’s a guarantee that you will as well.

 

Episode Highlights:

 

  •   Dr. Wiles’ ‘why’ and what motivates him
  •   His life journey
  •   Dr. Wiles’ certifications and the evolution of biofeedback
  •   Heart rate variability (HRV) and what it can tell us
  •   The different ways to assess HRV
  •   2 devices that Dr. Wiles recommends
  •   The most common habits/techniques he prescribes
  •   The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown, and Breath by James Nestor
  •   Vagal tone
  •   The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis)
  •   Meditation
  •   A breathwork exercise demonstration
  •   Self-awareness and self-regulation
  •   Dr. Wiles’ recommendations for freedivers as well as the average person
  •   Buteyko and Wim Hof breathing
  •   His daily routine and the non-negotiables within it
  •   His perspective on Biohacking
  •   Grounding and its benefits
  •   Electromagnetic Fields (EMF), how they can affect HRV, and how to mitigate them
  •   The Body Electric by Robert Becker

 

Show Links:

 

Andres Preschel Instagram

 

Mindhacker’s Radio Podcast

 

Dr. Wiles Instagram

 

Thrive Wellness and Performance

 

Oxygen Advantage

 

Breath

 

HRV Training Article

 

The Body Electric

 

EMF Research

004: Intuition, Self-Awareness, and Pursuing Your Passion with Idan Ravin

Today’s very special guest, Idan Ravin, is an individual who is proof positive of just what is possible when you have the right degree of self-awareness and intuition, and can be absolutely honest with yourself about what you love and who you are. Finding himself unhappy and unfulfilled in his original career as a lawyer, Idan has since transitioned himself to training some of the best basketball players in the world along with actors and musicians. Known as ‘The Hoops Whisperer’, he has also become an author, an active investor, keynote speaker, entrepreneur and spokesperson for global brands. The story of his professional transformation is one that has been the subject of many lengthy features on a variety of platforms, and it is guaranteed to amaze and inspire you as you listen in here today.

 

The episode revolves around the story of Idan’s transition into training elite athletes, his unconventional methods, and the many factors that go into his success, particularly self-awareness and intuition. Along the way he shares some of the education in which he has engaged, how he ensures his recommendations are right for each individual athlete, the steps that others can take to follow in his footsteps, and some of his favorite resources. Throughout the conversation, Idan maintains that, despite his remarkable success, he is no more special than anyone else, that we all have the skills within us to share with others, and that he is forever grateful for finding the path his life was meant to take. Humble, articulate, and supremely passionate, there is no wonder that Idan has achieved the level of success he has, and even less wonder that he and Andres have bonded as both friends and business partners.

 

Episode Highlights:

 

  •   Why Idan does what he does
  •   His transformation to coaching
  •   Idan’s combination of intuition, trust, faith, and experience
  •   His perspective on what it takes to optimize your wellbeing and the presentation of material
  •   Pursuing his Master’s and dealing with critics
  •   Idan’s methodology and applying it in other areas
  •   Speaking in your client’s ‘language’
  •   The steps to follow to accomplish what Idan has
  •   The gift of self-awareness
  •   Idan’s meditation journey
  •   His experience as an author
  •   Developing intuition
  •   Connecting with individuals
  •   The learning that Idan engages in and some of his favorite books
  •   Idan’s other passions
  •   His experience with gratitude
  •   The impact of the pandemic on his training
  •   Pursuing your passion and the nature of entrepreneurship

 

 

 Show Links:

Andres’ homepage

Andres’ Instagram 

Idan’s homepage

Books by Dr. Joe Dispineza

The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Sapiens

Books By Daniel Kahneman

 

003: All About HRV with Kevin Longoria

Kevin Longoria, Chief Science Officer at Biostrap, is today’s special guest on the podcast. Kevin’s passion for research and education combined with his expertise in the field of health and performance restoration and optimization has led him to work with populations ranging from clients with severely compromised health to elite athletes. His is an integrative approach that emphasizes the importance of the mind and gut in conjunction with the physical body and he shares it with a vast audience in his role as an international public educator for health and fitness professionals.

 

Kevin starts off today by sharing his passion for what he does, and then defining Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and how the Biostrap and the Biostrap Academy can change your life by tracking this crucial biometric. He also shares his vision for the future of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), proactive healthcare, and the world of medicine. A variety of important biometrics is explored as are Kevin’s own lifestyle routines and his recommendations for others. He concludes by offering just a glimpse of his product plans for the future. As you listen in, you will quickly learn precisely why it is such an honor to have Kevin on the podcast, as he shares his limitless knowledge and wisdom in the area of human physiology and the giant steps he and his company are taking in helping everyone understand and make quality decisions regarding this essential aspect of their health.

 

Episode Highlights:

 

  •   What drives Kevin to do what he does
  •   The definitions of fitness and ‘Heart Rate Variability’ (HRV)
  •   The best way to track your HRV
  •   The Biostrap and how it works
  •   The value of knowing your HRV daily
  •   Kevin’s perspective on the future and possibilities of Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
  •   Biostrap Academy
  •   Kevin’s COVID related research
  •   Individualized and general recommendations based upon biometric information
  •   The ‘low hanging fruit’ that can improve your health
  •   Breathing and VO2 Max
  •   Using RPM to perfect your physiology
  •   Kevin’s daily routine for improving his biometrics
  •   His velocity training equipment
  •   Developing goals and systems for people
  •   Kevin’s medical education
  •   The power of lifestyle interventions
  •   Kevin’s desire to help others from a young age
  •   His family life
  •   Nutrition recommendations for optimizing HRV
  •   Fasting protocols
  •   Kevin’s ‘bio hacks’ (and why he doesn’t like that term)
  •   Nitric oxide
  •   Some future Biostrap products

 

Show Links:

 

Biostrap

002: Salt and Longevity with Dr. James DiNicolantonio


Today’s very special guest is Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and author of The Salt Fix, among other books. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition, Dr. James has contributed extensively to health policy and has even testified in front of the Canadian Senate regarding the harms of added sugars. He is a prolific author who serves as the Associate Editor of Nutrition and British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, and sits on the editorial advisory boards of several medical journals.

 

Dr. James begins the conversation by sharing what motivates and drives him to do what he does so passionately and proceeds to conduct a masterclass on the subject of salt, its impact on our health, and how best to integrate it into our lives. He then discusses the impact that lifestyle habits and diet choices have on our health, highlighted by examples from his own life. Dr. James also offers his perspective on nutritional topics such as tough-to-get vitamins and minerals – particularly magnesium, managing stress and time, ancestral ways of life in the modern world, meat and plant-based diets,  fluoride, and much more. 

You will learn early on in this episode that I thoroughly enjoy Dr. James’ work and the passion he brings to it, and I am fully convinced that you will feel the same as you listen in to this informative and inspiring conversation today.

 

Episode Highlights:

 

·    What motivates and drives Dr. James

·    Understanding salt intake

·    The salt and sugar relationship

·    The aversion threshold

·    A good morning routine

·    The best source of salt

·    What the average doctor should know about lifestyle and its influence

·    Dr. James’ day-to-day information sharing

·    His lifestyle habits that are consistent with evolution, his current diet, and sleep routines

·    Magnesium and the other vitamins and supplements he takes

·    How he manages his time and stress

·    Dr. James’ nutrition recommendations for his children and his thoughts on kids’ menus

·    His thoughts on meat, eating animals, plant based diets, organ meats, ancestral supplements, and flouride

·    His recommendations for vegans and pescatarians

·    Some closing advice for listeners

Show Links:

 

Magtein

 

Dr. James’ Homepage

 

The Salt Fix

 

Dr. James’ Instagram

The Cognitive Effects of Fasting

Intermittent fasting is certainly one of the “trendier” approaches that health-conscious people are taking in hopes of improving their overall health and fitness. What even some of the most well-informed fitness enthusiasts don’t realize is that fasting can actually have several cognitive benefits as well as improve your physical fitness.

Interestingly enough, periods of fasting sufficient to cause depletion of liver glycogen stores (14-16 hours) trigger a metabolic switch towards use of fatty acids and ketones. Your brain actually uses these as a secondary fuel source. Periodic flipping of the metabolic switch not only provides the ketones that are necessary to fuel cells during the fasting period but also elicits highly orchestrated systemic and cellular responses that carry over into the fed state to bolster mental performance.  

These responses trigger noteworthy increases in Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and cAMP Response Element-Binding Protein (CREB), which improve working memory, long-term memory, and protect against neurodegenerative disease. BDNF is pivotal in synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis, and neuronal stress resistance. CREB, on the other hand, is linked to preservation of long-term memory. 

That’s not all. Research by Lee and Kim (2010) support that increased BDNF can positively influence mood and depression. The specific diseases that BDNF and CREB can help protect you from include Alzheimer’s according to Halagappa et al., 2007, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s according to Duan and Mattson (2009), and even strokes according to Arumugam et al., 2010. If you’re starting to see a lot of appeal in this, I can assure you that you’re not alone. 

It might seem impossible that fasting could improve brain function and help avoid terribly unfortunate diseases. After all, we are constantly told our whole lives that eating food is key to reaching optimal performance. This isn’t incorrect, either. But balancing the right diet with the right type of fasting is actually the formula to reach peak condition. 

Looking at this from a historical perspective further bolsters the case I’m making. Humans have evolved through countless adaptations that are neglected in today’s modern, technologically advanced world, and emulating our ancestors (who fasted daily for millions of years) allows us to hone in on biological advantages that propelled their genetic material forward. From a genetic and evolutionary standpoint, intermittent fasting makes more sense than any other approach to eating.

It’s important not to judge health tips based on what is easy and what is not. Don’t be a product of comfort and convenience. Start fasting daily and discover that your peak intelligence is even higher than you think!

And if you have any questions about intermittent fasting or how to apply these findings to your life, feel free to ask below. 

 

References:

Arumugam, T. V., Phillips, T. M., Cheng, A., Morrell, C. H., Mattson, M. P., & Wan, R. (2010). Age and energy intake interact to modify cell stress pathways and stroke outcome. Annals of Neurology, 67(1), 41–52. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.21798

Duan, W., & Mattson, M. P. (1999). Dietary restriction and 2-deoxyglucose administration improve behavioral outcome and reduce degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in models of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 57(2), 195–206. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-4547(19990715)57:2

Halagappa, V. K. M., Guo, Z., Pearson, M., Matsuoka, Y., Cutler, R. G., LaFerla, F. M., & Mattson, M. P. (2007). Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Disease, 26(1), 212–220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2006.12.019

Lee, B.-H., & Kim, Y.-K. (2010). The Roles of BDNF in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and in Antidepressant Treatment. Psychiatry Investigation, 7(4), 231. https://doi.org/10.4306/pi.2010.7.4.231

Why I Eat Venomous Lionfish

Usually, when people decide to make fish for dinner, they might make salmon, tuna or swordfish perhaps. If you were to survey a hundred people’s favorite fish, I would be surprised if even one of them named lionfish as their favorite. Most people know them only as a dangerous, venomous fish that should be avoided at all costs. However, nothing satisfies my palate like this venomous invasive species. 

Lionfish were unfortunately introduced to marine ecosystems by aquarium hobbyists who didn’t want to keep their fish any longer. This quickly became a MAJOR problem considering that lionfish are the perfect invasive species. For instance: they reproduce very quickly, they have no natural predators in the Atlantic ocean, they deploy venom through their spines to keep other fish away, eat small reef fish, meaning all trophic levels of the food web are negatively affected by their presence, and if that’s not all, they are pretty hardy fish that can thrive in a wide range of depths, pH, and temperatures (according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.) These fish alone are contributing to a massive reduction in the overall biomass of reefs in Florida and the Caribbean.

What is the solution to this problem? Eat them. Eat them all. The meat isn’t venomous and can be eaten without a problem. It’s the spines that are dangerous and can easily be removed before eating. Lionfish are small fish and low in the trophic levels, meaning they have low concentrations of heavy metals like mercury, and likely a high selenium therapeutic index, which detoxifies heavy metals. They also taste great and are rich in protein and omega-3. 

I asked my friend Kabir Parker, a marine biologist and sustainability activist about the practice of spearfishing lionfish. On this matter he said, “Spearfishing even one lionfish may not seem like much, but you’ll have saved tens of thousands of coral reef fish by doing so. Within weeks a single lionfish can reduce fish populations on a reef by over 80%. Every lionfish speared is countless native fish saved. See one? Shoot one. Save the reef.” It’s worth checking out his Instagram page, @kabzfreediver, and his Youtube channel, youtube.com/c/kabirparker.

I wanted to write this article to bring awareness to this invasive species, not to mention the practice of spearfishing as the single most selective and sustainable fish-harvesting method in the world. It’s also rare that you get an opportunity to enjoy doing something that’s also so helpful to the environment.

For those who want to eat fish, while supporting sustainable fishing practices, something that I advise you keep in mind is the MSC label on products. The Marine Stewardship Council applies a blue fish label to wild fish and seafood from fisheries that have been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, a fact-based set of requirements for sustainable fishing. They utilize DNA testing on a regular basis, to ensure trustworthy labelling.

I personally love eating lionfish as sashimi. I also like pan frying them and serving with vegetables. There’s a lot of different ways that you can prepare them, but the common denominators are the great taste and the positive ecological effect. You don’t have to be a freediving spearfisherman to live more sustainably or to “do your part.” All of us can make room for habits that are symbiotic with the environment in which we live. Keep an eye out for Lionfish in local markets, especially if you live in Florida!

If you have any further questions regarding lionfish recipes, how you can live more sustainably, or anything else, please leave a comment below. This is one of my favorite subjects and I’m happy to help. 

 

 

 

 

References:

Why are lionfish a threat to Atlantic Ocean fish? (n.d.). National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/lionfish.html

K. Parker, personal communication, July 17, 2020

 

 

What Are Supersets and How Can They Take My Workout to The Next Level?

A superset is two separate sets of exercises done one after the other. When done properly, you would use opposing muscle groups and give yourself enough time to rest each of them. Examples of opposing muscle groups would be chest and back, triceps and biceps, quads and hamstrings, abs, and lower back.

Everyone struggles with fitting a workout into their busy schedules making supersets a great way to get a lot done in a short period of time. Although supersets are commonly used, drop sets and rest-pause training can also roughly cut training time in half compared to traditional training, while still maintaining training volume (Iverson et al., 2021).⁣ Incorporating supersets allows me to work out just 3 days a week, 25-40 minutes at a time, while still making gains.

For maximum efficiency, a few criteria must be upheld. Starting with the warm-up, be sure that your movements are specific to muscle groups you plan on actively stimulating (Ribeiro et al., 2014; Haff et al., 2015; Abad et al., 2011). The main exercises must prioritize bilateral, multi-joint movements through a full range of motion. The exercises should also include ≥ 4 weekly sets per muscle group using a 6–15 RM loading range (Iverson et al., 2021). ⁣

In regard to stretching, use stretching if the goal of training is to increase flexibility. Since stretching leads to activation of Golgi Tendon Organs (GTOs) that INTERRUPT contractions, the stretching can induce greater relaxation of the muscles instead of contraction

A couple of months ago, I posted on Instagram a video of me explaining the benefits of supersets as well as demonstrating an example with proper form. If you’d like to check it out, here it is.

The example I demonstrate in the video is a combination of weighted dips and weighted pull-ups. The dips utilize chest and triceps, whereas the pull-ups utilize back and biceps, a perfect example of opposing muscle groups.

Since muscles work together by opposing each other during multi-joint movements, reciprocal inhibition is at play. While performing a pushup my lats and biceps are inhibited (forced to stretch and relax) while contracting my chest and biceps, and vice versa. This stretch and flex combo is great for combating postural issues and muscular imbalances.

Multi-joint movements should be your priority, as they are more demanding on your body, promote a greater anabolic response to training, and reflect more common movement patterns (a push-up makes more sense from a natural, physiological perspective than tricep kickbacks, for example) (Paoli et al., 2017). Promoting these mechanically optimal movement patterns will help you maintain strength and muscle mass as you age, further supporting longevity while also preventing disease.

Another underlying benefit of supersets is the hypoxic effects that this kind of training has which stimulates growth hormone and testosterone release, not to mention angiogenesis (sprouting of new blood vessels)⁣.

A bad example of a superset would be pull-ups to rows, bench press to shoulder press, or deadlifts to squats. It’s better if you give yourself ample time to rest between those and perform them separately.

Some people like to work out their abs in between sets. This can work, but it may limit creatine phosphate repletion and limit strength on the next compound movement. I do add abs in between sets sometimes but tend to leave them for the end OR dedicate a day to core since I’m already maintaining such a huge emphasis on core activation with other movements.

A commonly asked question about supersets is how much time to rest in between sets. I typically do them at 90% intensity, which is to say 1 or 2 reps less than my max, and then rest in between 2 and 3 minutes. It’s very important to get a proper amount of rest in between supersets and they shouldn’t be rushed.

If you have any questions about supersets or how to incorporate them into your routine, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

The more you #KnowYourPhysio…

AP⁣

 

References:

Abad, C. C., Prado, M. L., Ugrinow itsch, C., Tricoli, V., & Barroso, R. (2011). Combination of General and Specific Warm-Ups Improves Leg-Press One Repetition Maximum Compared With Specific Warm-Up in Trained Individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e8611b

Haff, G. G., & Triplett, N. T. (Eds.). (2015). Essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition. Human kinetics.

Iversen, V. M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Fimland, M. S. (2021). No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 51(10), 2079–2095. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01490-1

Paoli A., Gentil P., Moro T., Marcolin G. & Bianco A. (2017). Resistance Training with Single vs. Multi-joint Exercises at Equal Total Load Volume: Effects on Body Composition, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Muscle Strength. Front. Physiol. 8:1105. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105

Ribeiro, A. S., Romanzini, M., Schoenfeld, B. J., Souza, M. F., Avelar, A., & Cyrino, E. S. (2014). Effect of Different Warm-up Procedures on the Performance of Resistance Training Exercises. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 119(1), 133–145. https://doi.org/10.2466/25.29.PMS.119c17z7

The Truth About Creatine

I doubt that this is the first time you’ve heard the word “creatine.” Creatine, specifically, creatine monohydrate, is a common and very effective supplement used by people who are conscious about fitness. Some people believe that creatine is a controversial substance, although the reality is that it has been researched intensely, deemed extremely safe, and is considered one of the most beneficial sports supplements available by renowned and respected scientific organizations across the globe. In my opinion, it’s the number-one supplement for improving performance at the gym.

There is an endogenous (by the body) production of creatine of about 2 grams per day and we tend to get another 2-3 grams daily through our diet by consuming red meat, chicken and fish since animals produce creatine on their own too. Creatine phosphate (CP) is the form of creatine found in our muscles, which we use as a source of energy for high-intensity bouts lasting less than 10 seconds. Your body’s creatine stores are affected by the amount of meat that you consume, the frequency in which you exercise and your levels of hormones such as testosterone and IGF-1. 

By supplementing creatine, you can genuinely increase your performance in a few ways. You’re essentially speeding up the re-synthesis of CP in muscle and therefore improving recovery time between exercise bouts or sets and also increasing water retention in muscle fibers. This cellular swelling (water retention) leads to increased damage of muscle fibers which results in higher rates of protein synthesis following exercise, assuming you’re also eating enough protein. In other words, creatine supplementation provides an indirect approach to building muscle. 

Creatine also enables more total work or volume in a single training session, according to Becque et al., 2000, which is a key factor in long-term muscle growth. Deldicque et al., 2005 concluded that it also raises anabolic hormones, such as IGF-1, which fuel muscle growth, while lowering myostatin levels (Saremi et al., 2010), which would otherwise slow down or totally inhibit new muscle growth. Another really great benefit of creatine is that it increases phosphocreatine stores in your brain, which may improve brain health and prevent neurological disease (Matthews et al., 2010.) Convinced yet?  

It should be noted that the body temporarily decreases its own production during supplementation. This is why people experience a “deflated” appearance when they stop supplementing all of a sudden- their body has decreased production and now there is very little creatine in the body in general, meaning the muscles have very low water retention and will appear smaller (muscles are about 60-70% water.) It takes about a month to get endogenous production back to normal, but it will normalize. 

In order to further advocate for its safety, I would like to point to studies lasting up to four years (Schilling et al., 2001 and Kreider et al., 2003) that reveal no negative effects whatsoever. The second of those two studies measured 52 blood markers and observed no adverse effects following 21 months of supplementing. There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take normal doses. That said, those with preexisting liver or kidney problems should consult with a doctor before supplementing. 

Some misinformed people associate creatine with dehydration and cramps, but research does not support this link. In fact, Greenwood et al., 2003 suggest that it can reduce cramps and dehydration during endurance exercise in high heat. I apologize if this is coming across as redundant, but the safety of things you put in your body is of great importance to me, and I wanted to show the ample evidence that there is nothing to worry about in this case.

The recommended dose is 2-5 grams daily, and evidence shows little to no benefit when supplementing beyond this measure. I personally choose to go with 2 grams a day for myself to keep my endogenous production from stooping too low in case I decide to stop for some reason. 

The last (but not least) thing you should know about taking creatine is that it should be taken with some sort of carbs to increase absorption in the gut, and proper hydration during supplementation is extremely important. 

In conclusion, creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective and safest supplements you can take. It can help you achieve your fitness goals and increase your health and overall quality of life in many different ways. If you have any questions about creatine, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer! 

 

References:

Becque, M. D. (2000). Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10731009/

Deldicque, L. (2005). Increased IGF mRNA in human skeletal muscle after creatine supplementation. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15870625/

Greenwood, M. (2003). Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701814/

Kreider, R. B. (2003). Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701816/

Matthews, R. T. (1999). Creatine and cyclocreatine attenuate MPTP neurotoxicity. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10222117/

Saremi, A. (2010, April 12). Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20026378/

Schilling, B. K. (2001). Creatine supplementation and health variables: a retrospective study. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11224803/

 

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Body

Look, I’m not your fifth grade D.A.R.E. instructor. I’m not here to make you put on a pair of drunk vision goggles and lecture you on how if you take one sip of alcohol, you’ll get sick and die. But this is a fitness blog and alcohol is widely enough consumed that it’s worth making a post about how it can affect your fitness. I am a big fan of red wine and an advocate of how it can be helpful to achieving your fitness goals. But there are also many negative effects to drinking and it is important to be aware of them. 

The first thing to think about is absorption. The levels of enzymes responsible for breaking down and metabolizing alcohol will vary from person to person, and will influence level of intoxication, illness after drinking and even likelihood of alcohol dependence. Many things affect alcohol’s absorption in the bloodstream. Distilled liquor gets absorbed fastest, followed by sparkling wine, then regular wine, then beer. 

With no food in the stomach, alcohol passes directly into your small intestine for rapid absorption into the bloodstream. The type of food in the stomach, stress, anxiety, fear and hydration can all affect the absorption rate. Alcohol also absorbs better in muscle than fat, so less remains in the bloodstream. When comparing two people of equal weight and alcohol consumption, the one with the higher body fat percentage will have a higher BAC (blood alcohol content.)

Next, one must look at the mechanism of action. Ethanol increases GABA’s inhibitory actions and release. With acute use, this can lead to sedation, reduced anxiety, and incoordination. Chronic use can lead to development of tolerance. In a region of the midbrain, ethanol increases dopamine release and enhances the rewarding effects of alcohol.

Alcohol decreases glutamate’s excitatory actions and reduces its release. Glutamate is involved with learning and memory, so ethanol’s antagonism may be responsible for memory loss. With long term use, the number of glutamate receptors increases and there is a rebound in glutamate release. Upon withdrawal, this could lead to harsh effects such as seizures and brain damage. Withdrawal from alcohol can reduce dopamine concentration, which may result in depression. 

People with a genetic predisposition for alcohol dependence have low baseline levels for endorphins, and release significantly more when given alcohol compared to people with no genetic predisposition. Chronic administration of alcohol may increase endorphin levels, leading to the dysphoria seen during withdrawal. Serotonin may also play a role in alcohol’s reinforcing effects. Those with low Serotonin are likely to drink more alcohol. 

Now here’s something you definitely didn’t hear in a D.A.R.E. seminar: the therapeutic uses of alcohol. Alcohol has a very low therapeutic index (quantitative measurement of the relative safety of a drug), yet more than 100 studies have shown that moderate drinkers live longer on average than non-drinkers. Moderate alcohol consumption is correlated with a reduced risk of death by cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. 

Alcohol reduces the blood’s clotting tendency, raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), and improves insulin sensitivity, lowering risk of cardiovascular disease (Brien et al., 2011.) Benefits may be related to the stress reduction or vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure) caused by alcohol.

It’s important not to overgeneralize the cardioprotective effects of alcohol. They depend on one’s sex, race, age and the amount consumed. The benefits of alcohol seem to exist in a very narrow window. Drinking between .5 and 1.5 drinks per day may reduce one’s risk of coronary heart disease but drinking two or more may increase the risk. Additionally, it’s possible that moderation in drinking could reflect healthy moderation in other aspects of life. 

Like it or not, alcohol is a part of modern society and is prevalent in many cultures. Though it is not something that is healthy to frequently consume, we must be mindful of it and try to maximize its health benefits, while minimizing the negative effects it can cause. There is still quite a bit more left to cover on this topic, so buckle in. 

The physiological effects of alcohol are quite apparent. Low or moderate consumption of ethanol is probably not harmful and may even have some minor beneficial effects. However, heavy drinking can be very dangerous and even lethal. Those who drink more than 14 drinks per week lose approximately 1.6% of brain size, compared to non-drinkers (Paul et al., 2007) It doesn’t take a physiologist to know that heavy drinking can be quite dangerous. But what many people don’t realize is that even moderate consumption can shrink the brain and cause cognitive decline.

Alcohol impairs decisions, judgements, and memory and also affects areas involved in motivation, reward, dependence, anxiety, and anger. Additionally, it reduces blood clotting and raises HDL levels, which is the good cholesterol that removes bad cholesterol for arterial walls. In non-diabetics, moderate consumption improves insulin sensitivity. Ethanol stimulates the gastric secretion of HCL and pepsin, substances that are necessary for digestion. However, at high doses, it can actually erode the stomach instead. 

And here’s another physiological effect that you may be all too familiar with, even if you’re not familiar with the science behind it. Alcohol inhibits the secretion of vasopressin (an important hormone), thus increasing urination.  Drinking about 250ml of an alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel 800 to 1000ml of water. That’s four times as much liquid lost, than gained. This leads to dehydration (no surprise there), one of the major causes of hangovers. 

And that’s not even getting started on the behavioral effects of drinking alcohol. In the words of author Erica Jong, the superego is soluble in alcohol. Self-perception and judgments are impaired by ethanol. It leads to suppression of the part of the cortex responsible for social and behavioral restraints. This means that people do things they normally wouldn’t such as having unsafe sex.

It gets worse from there. About one third of traffic crash fatalities are linked to alcohol use, and the risk of a fatal crash is dose-related. When people commit violent crimes (not necessarily DUIs), they are most often under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is scientifically proven to increase the occurrence of aggression. People often turn to alcohol to mask emotional problems, but this has also been medically proven to be ineffective. Rather than solve the problems that lead to drinking, often times a dependence to alcohol is created, thus increasing the amount of problems. It’s a very unhealthy cycle. 

This leads me to the chronic effects of alcohol consumption. Long term heavy drinking is devastating to almost every organ, but there is no consistent definition of what “heavy drinking” entails, since everyone’s body is different. Over time, high doses of alcohol cause neurological damage and reduced brain weight. Heavy drinkers perform poorly on tests of abstract thinking, problem-solving, memory, attention, concentration, learning, perception of emotions, and perceptual motor speed. 

Again, it gets a lot worse. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of many, many, cancers. The metabolism of ethanol promotes tumor growth. When alcohol and tobacco are used together, this increases one’s risk of oral cancer 15 times above the rest for people who do not smoke or drink. 

It gets particularly bad for your liver. The liver normally metabolizes fatty acids, but if alcohol is present, the liver metabolizes it first, causing fat to accumulate. This can rupture and kill liver cells. Eventually, heavy drinkers will develop hepatitis, which is characterized by the inflammation and death of liver cells. Alcoholic cirrhosis develops gradually. Inflammation leads to irreversible scar tissue, replaces healthy liver cells, and blocks blood vessels that supply the liver with oxygen, leading to further cell death. 

There are also the reproductive effects. Alcohol use enhances interest in sex but impairs physiological arousal. Cruel, huh? In men, usage is associated with reduced testosterone, less sperm and semen production, testicular atrophy, diminished erections, ejaculatory incompetence/impotence, and loss of sexual desire. Gynecomastia, the abnormal enlargement of a man’s breasts, occurs because liver damage causes estrogen to be reabsorbed into blood. 

Men are not the only sex to suffer from reproductive effects of alcohol use. Female heavy drinkers are likely to experience painful intercourse and vaginal dysfunction, menstrual disorders, early onset of menopause, reduced libido, and infertility (Jenczura et al., 2018.) Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. 

It’s also worth mentioning the dangers of mixing alcohol with caffeine. Many people believe that caffeine obers you up. This is medically false. Although caffeine may speed up reaction time, it doesn’t reduce impairment. Compared to students who consume alcohol without caffeine, those who do report more alcohol-related risk behaviors including drunk driving, riding with intoxicated drivers, being involved in alcohol-related vehicle crash, and committing sexual assault. 

I’ve talked about some of the fatal risks of consuming too much alcohol. They are certainly worth mentioning, but there are also smaller, but quite significant ways in which it can prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. You’ve probably heard of the term “empty calories.” That’s exactly what alcohol is, to a t. Alcohol is a calorie dense (7 calories per gram), non-essential nutrient in liquid form, which means it can easily lead to excess weight gain, especially in the midsection. Mixed drinks also tend to contain high amounts of processed sugar, which can worsen hangovers and have more serious effects on health. 

I hope I was able to inform readers about the various risks of alcohol. Again, I didn’t write this to instill fear in anyone or to criticize people who choose to drink. I simply believe that people should be aware of what they put into their body and have as much information as possible when making choices about what to consume. And remember, moderation is key. If you have any more questions about alcohol, please leave a comment and I will be happy to address them. 

 

References:

Brien, S. E. (2011, February 22). Effect of alcohol consumption on biological markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21343206/

Dangers of mixing alcohol with caffeine and energy drinks | CDC. (2020). Cdc.Gov. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/caffeine-and-alcohol.htm

Drinking Heavy Amounts Of Alcohol Shrinks Your Brain. (2007). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070502172317.htm

Juergens, J., & Parisi, T. (2020, November 30). Alcohol-Related Crime. Addiction Center. https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/alcohol-related-crime/

Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart? (2019, October 22). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281#:%7E:text=Various%20studies%20have%20shown%20that,the%20formation%20of%20blood%20clots

Sexual Function of Postmenopausal Women Addicted to Alcohol. (2018, August 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121656/

Five Ways to Burn More Calories

Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and a great way to burn calories. This blog post is going to cover some ways in addition to exercise that you can burn calories and develop a leaner figure. 

Number One: Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a great tool for fat loss because by shortening your feeding window, you are less likely to overeat, meaning you can more easily establish consistent caloric deficit. This period of negative energy balance, combined with the switch in metabolism from glucose to ketones, promotes the mobilization of fat through fatty acid oxidation and ketones, which serve to preserve muscle mass and function (Anton et al., 2018.) A different study (Moro et al., 2016) also concluded that a fasting program in which all the calories are consumed in an 8 hour window each day, combined with resistance training, can improve some health biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance- trained males. 

Number Two: Caffeine

The CYP450 enzyme system of the liver metabolizes caffeine to paraxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine, which increase the breakdown of fat. Caffeine will increase the mobilization of fat and boost ketone production. Ketones are a secondary fuel source your body uses while fasting. When paired with fasting, caffeine will boost ketosis, fat oxidation, and energy expenditure. You do not need to add MCT oil to your coffee to see these benefits.

*MCT oil = Medium Chain Triglycerides which are readily converted to ketones by the liver to be used as a secondary fuel source. They can help “kick-start” ketosis (state of elevated ketone production) though it won’t aid in endogenous (by the body) ketone production. Put simply, they can help put you in ketosis but it’s sort of an artificial way to do it, different from the natural way your body would do it. Ghee and Coconut Oil can also be used as they are rich in MCTs.

Number Three: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Following an exercise session, oxygen consumption (and thus caloric expenditure) remains elevated as the working muscle cells restore physiological and metabolic factors in the cell to pre-existing levels (Zuhl and Kravitz, 2012.) Exercise intensity studies indicate higher excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) values with HIIT training as compared to continuous aerobic training. Furthermore, an increase in the size and number of mitochondria (the “energy factory” of a cell) is becoming a hallmark adaptation with HIIT.

Number Four: Cold Exposure

Cold exposure increases the number of mitochondria in fat, which renders it brown and increases your resting energy expenditure. Brown fat generates heat, and cold exposure activates it. According to a study, increasing the brown adipose tissue (BAT) amount and/or increasing BAT activity can lead to increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure which will be favorable in preventing and managing obesity. Human BAT could be recruited even in individuals who had lost BAT, thereby contributing to body fat reduction (Yoneshiro, et al., 2013.)

Number Five: Low Carb High Fat Diet (LCHF)

A low carb, high fat diet is not the same as a keto diet. Low carb can be defined as under 45% calories from carbs while keto would be under 10% carbs and under 20% protein. According to a notable medical study (Ebbeling et. al, 2018) a low glycemic load, high fat diet might facilitate weight loss maintenance beyond the conventional focus on restricting energy intake and encouraging physical activity. Additionally, triglyceride-derived fatty acid oxidation (very low density lipoproteins or intramuscular triglycerides) plays a role in the increase in fat oxidation on a high-fat diet, but plasma-derived fatty acids remain the major source for fat oxidation (Schrauwen et al., 2000.)

Tying it Together

I recommend combining intermittent fasting with caffeine in the mornings (black coffee, green tea or matcha) after hydrating with water. Adjust macronutrient ratios to higher fat and lower carbs. Expose yourself to mild cold (cold shower, ice bath, cold plunge, etc.) before exercise, since post-exercise cold exposure can reduce the drive for muscular adaptation (hypertrophy). Include HIIT in your workout, and exercise after your first meal. This will support performance and limit the potential loss of muscle mass.

 

References:
Brown Fat and Browning for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. (2016, February 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4768046/

Ebbeling, C. B. (2018, November 14). Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. The BMJ. https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583

Flipping the Metabolic Switch: Understanding and Applying Health Benefits of Fasting. (2018, February 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5783752/

HIIT vs. Continuous Cardiovascular Exercise. (2012). Https://Www.Unm.Edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/HIITvsCardio.Html.
https://www.unm.edu/%7Elkravitz/Article%20folder/HIITvsCardio.html

McAllister, M. (2019, March 23). Put Collagen Powder in Your Coffee! Melissa McAllister. https://melissamadeonline.com/2019/03/21/put-collagen-powder-in-your-coffee

Molecular responses to high-intensity interval exercise. (2009). Https://Cdnsciencepub.Com/Doi/10.1139/H09-046. https://cdnsciencepub.com/action/cookieAbsent

Moro, T., Tinsley, G., Bianco, A., Marcolin, G., Pacelli, Q. F., Battaglia, G., Palma, A., Gentil, P., Neri, M., & Paoli, A. (2016, October 13). Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males. Journal of Translational Medicine. https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0

Schrauwen, P. (2000). Increase in fat oxidation on a high-fat diet is accompanied by an increase in triglyceride-derived fatty acid oxidation. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10871203/#:%7E:text=Twenty%2Dfour%2Dhour%20fat%20oxidation,rest%20(P%20%3C%200.07).

Six Ways to Improve Your Sleep Routine

Every health nut and successful CEO loves to brag about their morning routine. Truth is, your morning routine may be a pivotal foundation for a productive day, but even the best morning routine will never outdo a good night’s sleep. Here are six things you can do that will help you wake up feeling relaxed and ready to have a successful day.

Number 1: Decrease Your Core Body Temperature

As Harding, et al. note in their 2019 Frontiers in Neuroscience review “The Temperature Dependance of Sleep,” we are most likely to choose sleep when our core and brain temperatures are in rapid decline, and if we dissociate from this cycle of body cooling we experience insomnia. 

You can achieve this by combining several different things. First, is setting your room temperature to between 66 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (19-21 celsius) and making sure you have a good blanket to create a warmer “microclimate” around your body. 

“In optimal room temperatures, approximately 19–21°C, we attempt to establish skin microclimates between 31 and 35°C and deviation from this range has a negative influence on sleep.” (see figure)

 

 

Next, you should wear socks to keep your feet warm and shift cool blood away from your legs and towards your core. Warmer temperatures in the hands and feet will induce vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure) and will facilitate in the temperature decline associated with sleep initiation. 

Another way to “hack” this rapid decline in core body temperature for sleep is to take a warm bath or to warm your body for up to 4 hours 1 to 8 hours before bed. This was coined the “Warm Bath Effect” by researchers, who discovered that immersion in hot water prior, but not immediately before, the sleep period decreases sleep latency and increases sleep depth.

Number 2: Block Blue Light to Increase Melatonin Production

This one might be hard for some, but I promise you it’s worth it. Put all screens and LED lights on “off” setting at least an hour before bed or set them to a low blue light mode and wear your Blue-Light Blockers at the very least. I use Night Shift mode on my iPhone and the Flux App I know how tempting it is to use your phone before bed. The light from your phone, other devices, and LED lights around your home is not conducive to a good night’s sleep because it suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness that helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep.

According to “Effects of smartphone use with and without blue light at night in healthy adults: A randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled comparison” a by Heo, et al. in 2016:

“Smartphones are often equipped with a light-emitting diodes (LED) display, which delivers bright light to the human eye. Smartphone LED light is an important source of artificial light at night (ALAN). ALAN influences the circadian regulation of the sleep-wake cycle (Gonzalez and Aston-Jones, 2006), suppresses melatonin secretion (Czeisler et al., 1995, Lewy et al., 1980), alters mood and cognitive functions (LeGates et al., 2012), and contributes to fatigue (Meesters and Lambers, 1990).”

Remember the sleep-initiating changes in body temperature we discussed earlier? Check this out and leave a comment below with your best interpretation: 

 

 

Randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled studies are considered the “Gold Standard” in intervention based studies. 

Here’s what the researchers concluded:

“In conclusion, this study suggests that nighttime exposure to the blue light LED display of smartphones may negatively affect sleep and commission errors. This was reflected by the suppression of melatonin production, as indicated by the prolonged time to melatonin onset, and the increase in body temperature, although these changes were not great enough to be statistically significant. These findings indicate that sleep and cognitive functions may be more sensitive markers of exposure of blue light from smartphone LED displays than the physiological changes of melatonin, cortisol, and body temperature.”

Blackout curtains are a good idea if you live near a street, in an inner city, or any other area where light pollution is a problem. I prefer a sleep mask, since it’s more cost-effective and travels with me everywhere. Remember that less light means deeper and more restorative sleep, which means you can seriously upgrade your quality of life with less than $20. 

Additionally, you can wear a good pair of blue light blocking glasses a couple of hours before bed to stimulate natural production of melatonin after sunset. I choose Ra Optics because I’m a perfectionist and always want the best, plus they are a must-have for the serious biohacker who wants to make a statement on social media. Make sure you pick the night lenses. You can get 10% off your order of Ra Optics Blue-Light Blocking glasses when you use my code “ANDRES10” 

Pro tip for iPhone users: go to Settings —> Display & Brightness —> Night Shift and set from Sunset (currently around 530pm) to a couple of hours after you wake up so you can ease into the morning blue light. 

Number 3: Lower Your Heart Rate

Drive down cortisol and adrenaline by breathing diaphragmatically through your nose and perform box breathing (4 seconds inhale, hold your breath for 4 more, exhale for 4, hold for 4, repeat.) This stimulates your vagus nerve, putting you in a more parasympathetic state. 4-7-8 is another breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil, celebrity doctor and the founder and director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, that goes like this: empty the lungs of air, breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds, exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds, repeat the cycle up to 4 times. 

To learn more about breathwork for meditation, focus, and stress reduction, see my article “Managing Stress on the Spot.”

You should also avoid eating or exercising less than 3 hours before bed. Instead, you should meditate, practice gratitude journaling, or consider me and Tim Ferris’ personal favorite: read FICTION. 

Additionally, you can use a quiet air purifier in your bedroom to help your body relax and recover with clean air. I made the investment because dust and pet dander were giving me slight allergy symptoms and disturbing my sleep, but the benefits of an air purifier have far exceeded my expectations. Make sure you get one with a HEPA filter and that it’s relatively quiet. 

Number 4: Wake up During the Light Stage of Your Sleep Cycle

Sleep a total amount that is a multiple of 90 minutes in order to wake up more refreshed (for example, 6, 7.5 or 9 hours.) If you use an alarm, this means you’ll wake up in the lighter stages of sleep (REM) instead of deep sleep (so you’ll be less groggy.) 

Here’s how I do it: I predict the time it will take me to fall asleep (5 minutes if I’m super tired, 30 minutes if I’m not) and then I’ll  add a multiple of 90 minutes to calculate the ideal time to wake up. For example, if my bedtime is 10:15 and my tiredness is “average” I would predict 15 minutes to fall asleep and set my alarm to 6:00am for 5 full REM cycles. You can also work backwards… If you have to be up by 7:30AM and predict it will take you 30 minutes to fall asleep, you should be in bed by 11:30PM. 

It works like a charm, and yes I absolutely prefer 6 hours of sleep over 7, and 7.5 over 8 because being forced to wake up during the deeper stages will put you in a state of panic no matter how many hours deep you are. Not a good way to start the day.

Here’s a graph from Sleep Cycle (GREAT app that helps you wake up at the perfect time) with an example of REGULAR sleep. Notice that the peaks are about 90 minutes apart. Waking up in multiples of 90 minutes closely mimics what this app would do, assuming you are getting regular sleep. 

 

 

Over the years, I’ve shifted from smart alarms to wearable devices to hack my sleep. This is because the wearable devices and their platforms offer a far more in-depth analysis that helps me take a more intuitive approach to better sleep. Rather than just waking up in a lighter phase, I can measure the impact of daily habits and nightly routines for real self-experimentation and biohacking. Of course, there’s the added benefit of measuring my HRV, SPO2, and resting HR to determine readiness and recovery scores. More on this later. 

Below is a graph of my sleep, captured by BioStrap. My sleep score was a 98/100 that night with 9 hours of sleep and 6 REM cycles (if you counted  5 it’s because there should technically be one more around 4 am). 

 

 

Number 5: Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices

The science here unfortunately is not fully understood yet. However, it is hypothesized that EMF may affect your physiology. My scientific mentor always says to me “a lack of evidence doesn’t mean that evidence is lacking.” Therefore, this is a preventative measure. Better safe than sorry, as is commonly said. An added benefit is you’ll save energy and spend a little less on your monthly electric bill. 

I keep my Wi-Fi router near my bed so I can shut it off before I sleep every night and my phone goes on Airplane mode until I wake up the next morning. I do this religiously with NO exceptions. I keep my phone charging as far away from my bed as possible so that I physically have to get up and out of bed to shut off the alarm, which helps keep me from mindlessly scrolling in bed early in the morning (a recipe for disaster). 

Number 6: The Next Morning

Now despite my earlier comment about CEOs placing too much emphasis on this, it does have importance. My first recommendation is to get some sunlight. We previously discussed how blue light at night is bad because it disrupts your circadian rhythm and suppresses melatonin production, but this is a good thing in the morning because it tells your body that it’s time to get the day started (melatonin naturally dips in the AM as cortisol, the stress hormone, rises). This is of course consistent with evolution, because the sun is the most potent source of blue light and its diurnal motion about the Earth is essentially how the circadian rhythm was born. 

I know that for most people, their morning routine is extremely hurried and adding even an extra five minutes seems impossible. But your morning sets the tone for your whole day. That’s why going to bed a little bit earlier and giving yourself time for self-care is so important.

Additionally, I like to write down in a journal, things that I’m grateful for every morning. I call it my “gratitude journal” and I’ve found it to be an incredible tool that improves my overall mental health. I try to avoid using my phone right after I wake up (using your phone less is almost always a good idea) 

Lastly, I highly recommend drinking clean water before any caffeinated drinks. The reason for this is that you lose a lot of water while you sleep as a result of breathing and sweating. Sometimes you can lose a few pounds of water, so it’s definitely important to hydrate first thing in the morning. Caffeine is a potent diuretic, and drinking it first would dehydrate you further. Adding some electrolytes or high quality salt to your water will aid in hydration.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback on sleep or anything else I discussed? Leave your comments below and I will reply! – AP

 

References:

Aberrant light directly impairs mood and learning through melanopsin-expressing neurons. (2012).  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3549331/

Czeisler, C. A. (1995, January 5). Suppression of melatonin secretion in some blind patients by exposure to bright light. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7990870/

Effects of smartphone use with and without blue light at night in healthy adults: A randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled comparison. (2017, April 1). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022395616307786?casa_token=MEwyL-mLwxoAAAAA:h25S4nB06owSMBpWg4F8qGv7ytM0YqCuQQ0k3bJg3VGVNzxB0A5VXsWE4i5NcZn6GGdDvkb8IpJM#bib14

González, M. M. C. (2006). Circadian regulation of arousal: role of the noradrenergic locus coeruleus system and light exposure. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17068987/

Lewy, A. J. (1980, December 12). Light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7434030/

Light therapy in patient with seasonal fatigue. (1990, September 22). ScienceDirect. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/0140673690922349

The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. (2019). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6491889/#__ffn_sectite

001: Fix Your Glucose, Fix Your Life with Jessie Inchauspe, the Glucose Goddess

 

 

The ‘Glucose Goddess’ herself, Jessie Inchauspe, is the very special guest on today’s episode. Also known as ‘Sugarmama’, Jessie is on a very personal mission to teach everyone all about sugar. She is armed with: a Master’s in biochemistry from Georgetown University, her own glucose monitor, and a passion to help others. As she does on her Instagram page, Jessie shares her own health journey with listeners here today, rendering the science behind it all accessible, entertaining, and inspiring.

 

Jessie begins by describing what she means by citizen scientists, and then proceeds to help us all become them by explaining all things glucose, including glucose curves and monitors, healthy eating and lifestyle choices, understanding your body, as well as offering recommendations for maintaining stable blood glucose levels. She also explores carb intake/activity level matching, Type 2 Diabetes, the dangers of rapid weight loss, and her infamous graphs. Jessie concludes by detailing her goals for her work, the power of finding and doing what you love, and sharing some final pieces of advice. The remarkable level of passion, commitment, and wisdom shared in this fascinating conversation will entertain, educate, and most importantly, inspire you to undertake your own mission toward healthy living and doing ‘what makes your soul light up.’

 

Episode Highlights:

 

  •   Citizen scientists
  •   Making science accessible
  •   Why Jessie does what she does
  •   Glucose curves
  •   Glucose monitors
  •   The barriers to healthy eating
  •   HealthSnap
  •   The importance of understanding your blood glucose and what’s going on inside your body
  •   Some fundamentals to healthy diets
  •   Recommendations for maintaining a stable blood glucose level
  •   Healthy lifestyle choices
  •   A carb intake/activity level matching and Type 2 Diabetes analogy
  •   The dangers of rapid weight loss
  •   Jessie’s graphs
  •   Her goals for her work
  •   Finding and doing ‘what makes your soul light up’
  •   Jessie’s final thoughts

 

Quotes:

 

“We speak for the science.”

 

“What’s science without the application?”

 

“I feel like I’m in the service of people who need me to do this…it’s almost like a mission.”

 

“Ideas choose humans.”

 

“The flatter our glucose curves are, the healthier we’re going to be.”

 

“We’ve lost touch so much with what our body needs.”

 

“Healthy eating in the US is a privilege.”

 

“When people can see this data, they feel so much more in charge.”

 

“Nutrition can create such divide. People get into camps.”

 

“I think every person who eats and has a body should know how their glucose works.”

 

“The worst thing you can do is start your day with naked carbs.”

 

“With stable blood sugar levels, my energy quality is much better.”

 

“It’s spreading joy and it’s spreading health.”

 

“Your page has exploded!”

 

“People need to know about this!”

 

“It gives back tenfold.”

 

“It’s wonderful that you have such a deep ‘why’, and you can see it in your smile…that alone inspires more people than you can imagine.”

 

“Our bodies are talking to us all the time. We just have to learn how to listen.”

 

Show Links:

 

Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity

 

The Golden Circle TED Talk

 

Glucose Goddess

 

Sugarmama