Is Lithium Orotate about to become the hot supplement for 2016? Research says…maybe.

In a recent study, conducted on female and male Drosophila – aka fruit flies, researchers found that supplementing with lithium resulted in:

  • Increased life span
  • Improved health over the course of that increased life span
  • A reduction in triglycerides
  • An increase in resistance to stress

According to the researchers, lithium does this by inhibiting glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) and activating the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (NRF-2).

The researchers concluded that “the discovery of GSK-3 as a therapeutic target for aging will likely lead to more effective treatments that can modulate mammalian aging and further improve health in later life”.

 

Castillo-Quan et al. Graphical abstract-2

This research builds upon a previous study that:

  1. Tested lithium supplements directly on C. elegans worms, and
  2. Observed how natural lithium consumption (water supply) affected the life span of HUMANS.

In this study, the researchers found “an inverse correlation between drinking water lithium concentrations and all cause mortality in 18 neighboring Japanese municipalities with a total of 1,206,174 individuals. They also found that exposure to a comparably low concentration of lithium chloride extends life span of C. elegans.

They concluded that when taken together, these findings indicate that long-term low-dose exposure to lithium may exert antiaging capabilities and unambiguously decreases mortality in evolutionary distinct species (aka C.elegans worms).

What does this mean to you?

Right now…not a whole lot. For two big reasons:

Reason #1

The most up to date research has been done on worms & fruit flies, and it will be a while before proper human studies have been completed…and even longer before your family doctor starts handing out scrips for lithium orotate.

Reason #2

All of the lithium / longevity research seems to use lithium chloride as it’s source of lithium. Which could be a problem when we come to doing human research.

And as with most drugs, dosage frequently means the difference between a “good” drug and a “bad” drug.

In regard to lithium, dosage for bipolar patients is a true balancing act, between managing the symptoms of mania and it’s negative effects on the central nervous & renal systems. At high enough doses, lithium can be lethal.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

There is one version of lithium that has become popular in the “alternative medicine” world – lithium orotate.

While the research is limited, a 1979 study in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found that lower doses of lithium orotate as compared to lithium carbonate may achieve therapeutic brain lithium concentrations and relatively stable serum concentrations.

That would mean that we might be able to get all the positives (life extension, better health, etc) of lithium supplementation without the negatives that increased dosages incur.

Of course….the science looking at the safety and efficacy of lithium orotate is very, very, very limited.

Hopefully, as more researchers (and drug companies) get excited about the potential use of lithium as a minor fountain of youth, the quantity and quality of lithium orotate research will increase.

Stay tuned.

 

Reference

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Caffeine for Weight Loss

 

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar giant with hundreds of companies telling thousands of half-truths to separate you and your money.

Which supplements should you buy?

In an attempt to look past some of the supplement companies B.S., I employed the power of big data (via Google Trends) to identify the top 10 weight loss supplements….as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S.
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

Supplement #10

caffeine banner.jpg

 

Caffeine is the 10th most popular weight loss supplement around the world. But weight loss is not all that caffeine is good for. In addition to being an essential part of my morning coffee ritual, caffeine is a chemical found in tea, cola, guarana, mate, etc…

How does caffeine work?

Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, muscles, and the centers that control blood pressure. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, but might not have this effect in people who use it all the time.

Caffeine can also act like a “water pill” that increases urine flow. But again, it may not have this effect in people who use caffeine regularly. Note – drinking caffeine during moderate exercise is not likely to cause dehydration

In addition to weight loss, caffeine has many other health-promoting uses, including:

  • mental alertness
  • pain reliever
  • asthma treatment
  • gallbladder disease treatment
  • ADHD treatment
  • low blood pressure treatment
  • as a cream to reduce skin redness & itching
  • athletic performance enhancer

How does Caffeine promote weight loss?

Caffeine promotes weight loss via two separate pathways:

  1. Appetite suppression. Research shows that caffeine reduces your desire to eat for a moderate period of time.
  2. Calorie burning. Studies have shown that caffeine stimulates thermogenesis — forcing your your body to generate heat and energy from digesting food.

In short, caffeine supplements promise to make you crave less food and burn more calories regardless of exercise.

 Caffeine Research

 Where can I buy Caffeine supplements?

In addition to your local health food or drugstore, I have listed some of the best online sources for Caffeine.

Note: If you make a purchase from one of these online retailers, I receive a 6-10% “finders fee” …almost enough to pay for this site. Thanks in advance 🙂

Like this article?

The info in this article came from my Special Report – The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016.  

The full report is available to @HealthHabits subscribers, so if you want to see numbers 9 – 1, subscribe now by clicking on the button below.

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A Better Whey to Boost Your Health

Every year, bazillions of dollars are spent on drugs that promise to lower our cholesterol & triglycerides levels.

Some work, some don’t.

In a recent study, researchers discovered an inexpensive and yummy way to lower LDL cholesterol & triglycerides.

That’s right…I said yummy.

Here’s the plan/recipe

  • 45 grams of whey protein
  • 150 mg of supplemental calcium
  • 0.75 μg of vitamin D3
  • 2.5 g of prebiotic dietary fiber
  • 500 ml of water

Toss all these “healthy” ingredients into a blender with some frozen fruit and some cinnamon (for taste & GI control) and you’ve got a health booster that has been shown to have a significant effect on…

  1. Reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
  2. Reducing triglyceride levels

…in just 21 days.

And it tastes great too.

Reference

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The Top Weight Loss Supplements for 2016

Unlike a lot of personal trainers, I am not a big fan of weight loss supplements.

In the 20+ years I have been transforming bodies, my clients have sculpted new bodies thanks to:

  1. A total commitment to eating healthy, and
  2. Exercising smarter.

However, there have always been a minority of clients that have needed some help in the form of supplements or pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, in the past 5 – 10 years, that small percentage has been growing and growing.

I don’t know if it’s…

  • genetically modified foods,
  • the chemicals found in processed food,
  • a lifetime of poor food choices manifesting as broken metabolisms

Whatever it is, more and more of my clients NEED weight loss supplements to help boost the effectiveness of their new diet and fitness routines.

Because of this, I have put together a report of the top weight loss supplements for 2016.

Starting with a list of 30 popular weight loss compounds, I used the big data of Google Trends to identify the most popular weight loss supplements as decided by the millions of people who use Google to research weight loss supplements.

  • No marketing B.S. 
  • No fraudulent claims from supplement companies
  • No advertorials masquerading as honest information

Just pure data collected by the giant brains at Google.

With all that data, I was able to identify:

  1. The top weight loss supplements for 2015, and more importantly 
  2. The projected top weight loss supplements for 2016.

SO….HOW DO YOU GET THE REPORT?

  • If you are an email subscriber to @healthhabits, you don’t have to do anything. A copy of the report should be sitting in your inbox right now. If not, shoot me an email, and I will get one to you asap.
  • If you don’t already subscribe to @healthhabits email updates, hit the button below, follow the sign-up procedure and a report  will be flying to your inbox in mere seconds.

The Best Vitamin C Foods

Back in the 1970’s, Dr.Linus Pauling popularized a theory that high doses of Vitamin C would significantly decrease the incidence of the common cold.

This theory spurred a widespread belief that consuming more vitamin C will reduce the risk of catching a cold and reduce its severity. While that theory has taken a beating in the past few years, no one can deny that Vitamin C is a nutritional superstar.

  • Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen – an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
  • Vitamin C also plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter – norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are critical to brain function and are known to affect mood.
  • In addition, vitamin C is required for the synthesis of carnitine, a small molecule that is essential for the transport of fat into cellular organelles called mitochondria, where the fat is converted to energy.
  •  Research also suggests that vitamin C is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol to bile acids, which may have implications for blood cholesterol levels and the incidence of gallstones.
  • Vitamin C is also a highly effective antioxidant. Even in small amounts vitamin C can protect indispensable molecules in the body, such as proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates, and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species that can be generated during normal metabolism as well as through exposure to toxins and pollutants (e.g., cigarette smoke).
  • Vitamin C may also be able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E. One recent study of cigarette smokers found that vitamin C regenerated vitamin E from its oxidized form.

So…which are the best Vitamin C foods?

Most of us get our Vitamin C from a glass of OJ with our breakfast.

And while that glass of liquid sunshine is a great way to get the “C” into your body, it’s also a great way to get a whole bunch of sugar without all the fiber, vitamins & minerals that goes along with most solid-food sources of Vitamin C.

And for that reason, I am giving you 2 different lists of Best Vitamin C foods sources

The JUICE list….

  • 1 cup of Orange juice – has 124 mg Vitamin C…over twice the daily recommended amount
  • 1 cup of Pineapple and grapefruit juice drink has 115 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Cranberry juice cocktail  has 107 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grapefruit juice  has 94 mg vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Grape drink has  79 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Vegetable juice cocktail has 67 mg Vitamin C
  • 1 cup of Pineapple juice – 1 cup has  25 mg Vitamin C

And the FOOD list…

 

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Celsius: The First Healthy Energy Drink?

What comes to mind when I say: ENERGY DRINK?

Personally…. I think of the idiot frat boys who live two blocks down the street from me who like to pound Red Bulls & vodka on a Wednesday afternoon and do stupid stuff on their skateboards

I also think of this article – Do Energy Drinks Improve Athletic Performance and Promote Weight Loss?

So….when the folks at Celsius contacted me about trying out some samples of their product, my initial & immediate response was to say “no thanks” and get back to work.

However….in their email, they mentioned that their product was “natural”. And when I think of “energy drinks”, I don’t think natural. I think chemicals and artificial sweeteners and the aforementioned idiot frat boys and gym rats and people who don’t give a crap about their health.

Which probably makes a ton of sense from a business perspective.

But what about us health & fitness geeks?

There are some afternoons when my energy is drained from long hours of work and my brain is having a tough time writing blog posts that don’t suck swamp water.

On days like that… I can really use a dose of liquid energy. But I want that energy drink to be healthy & chemical free.

So I checked out the Celsius ingredients:

As you can see, Celsius contains the 3 big “energy drink” ingredients – Caffeine, Taurine and Glucuronolactone.

However, unlike their competitors, Celsius also contains:

  • Ginger extract,
  • Green Tea leaf extract,
  • Your daily dose of Vit C and,
  • A whole whack of B Vitamins

Equally important to me were the ingredients that weren’t included:

Instead of that crap, Celsius sweetens it’s drinks with sucralose and/or stevia.

Based on all that, I decided to give up my afternoon espresso for a week to beta-test some Celsius samples.

And after seven days of taste testing…. and it turns out that I like this stuff.

  • It definitely gave me a mid-afternoon boost,
  • Without any jitteriness
  • It tasted pretty good – some flavors better than others
  • No afternoon coffee breath

Conclusion

Celsius markets to people who:

  1. Want the buzz of an energy drink,
  2. Is “proven” to reduce body-fat, and
  3. Is HEALTHY.

And while I’m not too blown away by the -100 calorie claim, I can honestly say that Celsius provides:

  1. A very un-jittery boost in energy,
  2. Tastes pretty darn good,
  3. Has a bunch of useful micronutrients
  4. Isn’t full of harmful chemicals

And because I love you guys so much, I talked the Celsius rep into doing a giveaway of a bunch of Celsius product. Stay tuned for the details.

5 Ways to Get Fit Faster

The Top 10 Vitamin K Foods

The Standard American Diet results in:

  • Inflammation,
  • Obesity,
  • Insulin resistance,
  • and Diabetes

Luckily for you, Vitamin K reduces

  • Inflammation,
  • Insulin resistance and…
  • the likelihood that people who a Western diet will become fat and diabetic.

And how do we find this elusive Vitamin K?

Glad you asked….

  1. Kale – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 1062 mcg / µg
  2. Spinach – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 1027 mcg / µg
  3. Turnip Greens – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 851 mcg / µg
  4. Collards – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 836 mcg / µg  ***
  5. Brussels sprouts – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 300 mcg / µg
  6. Broccoli – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 220 mcg / µg
  7. Cabbage – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 163 mcg / µg
  8. Asparagus – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 144 mcg / µg
  9. Lettuce, iceberg – 1 head – 130 mcg / µg
  10. Peas, green – 1 cup,  canned & drained – 63 mcg / µg
Notes
  • I don’t know why the USDA thinks everyone is eating frozen greens instead of fresh, but they do. We’re going to assume that fresh Brussels sprouts have just as much Vitamin K as frozen… if not more
  • *** Beet greens, Dandelion greens and Mustard greens could / should have been included in this list – they would have placed between #4 Collards and # 5 Brussels sprouts.  I omitted them due to availability. If you have them in your area, go ahead and eat ’em up. They are Vit. K superstars.

Reference

The Top 10 Vitamin D Foods

I love Vitamin D.

  • It keeps me happy during cold, dark Canadian winters
  • It keeps my bones & teeth strong
  • It keeps my immune system in tip top shape
  • And it’s helping me live longer

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also being studied for it’s positive effects on Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, MS, etc….

It’s a super-vitamin.

And if you’re the kind of person who refuses to get their daily dose of Vitamin D (600-800 IU) from a bottle of pills or by tanning without sunblock,  it’s also conveniently available in the following super-yummy food sources.

The Top 10 Vitamin D Foods

  1. Trout, cooked  – (85 grams) – 645 IU Vitamin D
  2. Swordfish, cooked  – 1 piece (106 grams) – 706 IU Vitamin D
  3. Salmon, pink, canned, 1 can – (85 grams) – 465 IU Vitamin D
  4. Salmon, cooked – 1/2 fillet (155 grams) – 815 IU Vitamin D
  5. Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids – (85 grams) – 229 IU Vitamin D
  6. Halibut, cooked – (85 grams) – 196 IU Vitamin D
  7. Herring, pickled – (85 grams) – 96 IU Vitamin D
  8. Pork, spareribs, cooked, lean and fat – (85 grams) – 88 IU Vitamin D
  9. Egg, whole, raw, fresh, 1 extra large –  (58 grams) – 48 IU Vitamin D
  10. Clam Chowder, canned, made with 2% milk – 1 cup (248 grams) – 62 IU Vitamin D

Vitamin D Supplements

For those of you who prefer pills over eating stinky old fish, there are ways to supplement your diet with Vitamin D

  • Milk products with added Vitamin D
  • Breakfast Cereals with added Vitamin D
  • Fish Oil supplements – cod liver, halibut, blends
  • Liquid (drops) or capsule Vitamin D supplements

Note – Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. That means that if you mega-dose (50,000 IU per day for several months) on Vitamin D, the excess will be stored in your body-fat, and can lead to Vitamin D toxicity.

That is why the recommended upper level for adult Vitamin D consumption is 10,000 IU per day.

If you’re concerned you may be getting too much supplemental Vitamin D, please consult your doctor.

Reference

Vitamin C Puts Out the Fire of Inflammation

A new study researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, shows that vitamin C can lower your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).

C-reactive protein is a central biomarker of inflammation that has been shown to be a powerful predictor of heart disease and diabetes. This TIME magazine article provides a good overview.

The U of C-B study, which will be published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine,  shows that for healthy, non-smoking adults with an elevated level of CRP, a daily dose of vitamin C lowered levels of the inflammation biomarker after two months compared with those who took a placebo.

The researchers said that for people with elevated CRP levels, the amount of CRP reduction achieved by taking vitamin C supplements in this study is comparable to that in many other studies of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.

They noted that several larger statin trials lowered CRP levels by about 0.2 milligrams per liter; in this latest study, vitamin C lowered CRP by 0.25 milligrams per liter.

“This finding of an effect of vitamin C is important because it shows in a carefully conducted randomized, controlled trial that for people with moderately elevated levels of inflammation, vitamin C may be able to reduce CRP as much as statins have done in other studies.”

Vitamin C / CRP / Inflammation & Obesity

This study also found a strong link between obesity and elevated levels of CRP.

The researchers found that elevated levels of CRP were found in:

  • 25% of the normal-weight people test subjects
  • 50% of the overweight subjects, and
  • A whopping 75% of the obese test subjects participants.

“The low-grade inflammation that characterizes obesity is believed to contribute to a number of disorders, including atherosclerosis and insulin resistance,” said Nina Holland, co-investigator on the study.

And it’s not just the scientists expressing concern over CRP.

The American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that clinicians measure CRP levels in patients who have a moderately elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, as determined by other established risk factors such as high cholesterol levels and smoking.

“Major studies have found that the level of CRP in the body predicts future risk of cardiovascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral artery disease, as well as diabetes. Some believe CRP to be as important a predictor of future heart problems as high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL cholesterol.”

What To Do If You’re Worried

Obviously, talk to your doctor.

But keep in mind that your doctor may not want to test for CRP. Most still just want to look at your levels of cholesterol. But it is possible to have high CRP and normal levels of cholesterol.

I would suggest that you print out this article and bring it along to your appointment, but somehow I don’t see many medical professionals listening to little ole’ me.

Instead, print out this Q & A about CRP that the Cleveland Clinic put together.

Here is a more clinical look at the CRP test itself.

How To Prevent / Reduce CRP & Inflammation

According to the Cleveland Clinic:

Inflammation should be treated by lifestyle change, such as:

  • Antithrombotic medications such as aspirin or clopidogrel may provide protection.
  • Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and ACE inhibitors may also reduce CRP.

Note: Your doctor will prescribe the correct medications and dosage to treat your condition.

And if you don’t want to go the pharma route, you can investigate dietary solutions such as:

For even more info on natural solutions to inflammation / CRP, take a look at some of the work done by Dr. James Duke. His book, “Beyond Aspirin” is a good place to start.

Related Posts

References

obesity-genetics-health-healthhabits

Epigenetics & Obesity

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have made a groundbreaking discovery – Overweight moms give birth to children who become even more overweight and who in turn have children who become even more overweight and so on and so on.

And as we know, you can’t beat bad genetics. Those pudgy little kids are doomed.

Or, maybe not. According to this study, researchers found that by supplementing an obese mother’s diet with folic acid and other methyl supplements, they were able to reverse this form of inherited obesity.”

The Hypothesis

Lead researcher, Dr. Robert Waterland, designed this study to test the hypothesis that maternal obesity before and during pregnancy affects the body weight regulatory mechanisms in her offspring. In layman’s terms, does a fat mom produce fat babies?

In regards to reversing this cycle of inherited obesity, Dr. Waterland believes that “DNA methylation may play an important role in the development of the hypothalamus (the region of the brain that regulates appetite).”

The Method

Waterland et al tested this hypothesis on three generations of genetically identical mice, all with the same genetic tendency to overeat. (agouti viable yellow [Avy] mice)

The mice were divided into two groups:

  1. Standard diet group
  2. Standard diet supplemented with folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline. This special ‘methyl supplemented’ diet enhances DNA methylation.

With this special diet, they were attempting to reduce or silence the effect that the inherited gene had over the development of the baby mice.

Can mice that are genetically predisposed to obesity be spared from a life of stretchy pants and motorized scooters?

The Results

  • The mice on the standard diet piled on the body-fat, as expected, and subsequent generations were progressively more obese.
  • Those on the methyl supplemented diet did not gain weight through successive generations.

So what does this mean to me?

Well, according to Dr. Waterland, “the effect of methyl supplementation on body weight was independent of epigenetic changes at the Avy locus, indicating this model may have direct relevance to human transgenerational obesity”.

In layman’s terms, obese mothers who supplement with folic acid, vitamin B12, betaine and choline before & during their pregnancy might help their kids resist the scourge of childhood obesity.

NOTE:  This is only one study, performed on mice. There is more work to be done and just because this study is positive, moms-to-be should check in with their doctors before they start mega-dosing supplements in order to produce babies with six packs.

pills supplements nutrition fitness health

Canada’s War on Drugs…and Vitamins

On April 8, 2008, Canada’s federal government tabled bill Bill C-51, designed to “modernize the Food and Drugs Act”.

The Bill “proposes to maintain a rigorous assessment of health products prior to making them available. In addition, we’re proposing to gain the ability to continuously monitor the safety of products even after they are approved”.

Sounds good.

We don’t want any tainted vitamins, herbs, etc, getting into the marketplace. And if they do, the government has taken the power and responsibility of recall from the manufacturers and given it to themselves.

So, essentially what the government is doing is asking the natural health product industry to prove that their products will do no harm. Once proven, manufacturers will be able to make claims of efficacy like the pharmaceutical industry.

This may even improve the business model for nutritional supplements in Canada. Vetted health claims might increase the legitimacy of the industry in the public’s eye. And yet, something doesn’t seem right with this piece of legislation.

Here is my problem with Bill C-51 – What are they protecting us from?

  • In 2006, the U.S. reported one death associated with the ingestion of vitamins. Specifically, it was an unknown vitamin & it was reported that while the vitamin played a part, it was unlikely that it was the cause of death. How they would know that if the vitamin was unknown, I will never know.
  • Compare that to the 2006 data for Pharmaceutical deaths. The full report is here.

Here are the Pharmaceutical Categories associated with largest number of fatalities (Top 25)

Deaths – Substance
382- Sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotics
307 – Opioids
252 – Cardiovascular drugs
214 – Acetaminophen in combination
210 – Antidepressants
203 – Stimulants and street drugs
139 – Alcohols
138 – Acetaminophen only
98 – Muscle relaxants
93 – Anticonvulsants
75 – Cyclic antidepressants
69 – Fumes/gases/vapors
66 – Antihistamines
61 – Aspirin alone
55 – Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
49 – Unknown drug
38 – Chemicals
35 – Oral hypoglycemics
27 – Miscellaneous drugs
25 – Diuretics
25 – Automotive/aircraft/boat products
22 – Antihistamine/decongestant, without phenylpropanolamine
20 – Hormones and hormone antagonists
18- Anticoagulants

Vitamins – 1 death  :  Aspirin & Acetaminophen – 199 deaths

As far as I am concerned, that should be the end of the story. The government has no business creating a problem where none exists.

Fin

Reference

  • video of an anti Bill C-51 rally
  • Health Minister, Tony Clement’s press conference to discuss Bill C-51
  • article in the Globe and Mail
  • article in the Vancouver Sun
  • The (CHFA) Canadian Health Food Association’s submission to the House of Commons.
  • article by Andre Picard, Globe and Mail
  • CHFA response to Picard article