Monday, March 28, 2016

Relieve for histamines mediated symptoms - Cold, dermatitis, hives

From time to time, most of the people I know suffer from cold, cough and flu. Most of these symptoms are histamines mediated via mast cells being unstabilized or reaction to some sort of triggers, usually from reactive foods or environmental stressors. Generally, people tend to consult a doctor whenever he or she is feeling unwell or having a simple cough or running nose. Typically, anti-histamine medications being prescribed to patients from all over the globe for symptom relieve. 

Are you one of the majority who often dependant on pharmaceutical drugs to relieve health symptoms? Or do you prefer to allow the body to heal by itself and provide nutritional support and sufficient rest and hydration? Present day, we have more people who are dependant on pharmaceutical drugs then back in the early days of our grandparents or even great grandparents. Why is that so? Have we all been hardwired so deeply that we have forgotten how we evolve and the ability of the body to heal by itself?

When I browse through my refrigerator and kitchen wardrobe, I noticed a list of herbs and whole foods which are medicinal and beneficial to the body when comes to supporting the body of healing and inhibiting histamine release. I asked myself "Why on earth people are not using these herbs and foods to aid the symptom and help the body health faster?" With Mr.Google is just a click away for further research, and some of us still lucky enough to consult our older grandparent for herbal advise, I think we all should practice the ancestral approach as a first line of symptom relieve and treatment, and only apply pharmaceutical prescription as a last resort, if all else failed. 

As someone who practice holistic health, I highly recommend you to try some of the potent anti-histamine herbs below to determine which one suit you best. Try it when you experience these symptoms, listen to your own body response to each herb applied. For some, it may be very effective in a short period of time, for others, it may take longer then expected. The end goal here is to be drug-free and practice nature-based protocol for healing and supporting the body to combat illnesses.



Lotus Root

This whole food contain immune-modulating effect with mast cell stabilising properties and a study found they inhibit the release of histamines by up to 70%. It also rich in Vitamin C.

Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology - Volume 32, Issue 3, 2010
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/08923970903514830





Turmeric 

Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. A study found that it inhibited mast cell activation to reduce histamines release. You can cook soup, curry dish or most of the meals with this herb, or take it as supplement (extract). The curcumin contained within tumeric is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are very important for your overall health, vitality & well-being. 


Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology  -  Volume 121, Issue 5, May 2008, Pages 1225–1231
http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(07)03608-1/abstract







Ginger

Ginger is a rhizome that inhibits allergic reactions. It has traditionally been used as an H2 inhibitor but a study shows that it also acts as a mast cell stabiliser. You can boil ginger soup, or cook with your meals, or even make ginger tea when you have cold or cough. It is also antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-inflammation, and anti-tumor effects.


http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/np800555y 







Chamomile

A study has shown that chamomile acted in a dose-dependent manner to inhibit histamine release from mast cells. It is also beneficial to calm down the nervous system and enable one to sleep better. Most people tend to consume chamomile in the form of tea. 

Journal of Ethnopharmacology  -  Volume 137, Issue 1, 1 September 2011, Pages 336–340
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874111003941






Thyme

Thyme is very rich in Vitamin C and has anti-histamine properties. It also has anti microbial benefits and can stabilize mast cells. It can be eaten raw or cooked with meals or take it as supplement.

Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry  -  Volume 69, Issue 1, 2005
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1271/bbb.69.1







Holy basil (Tulsi)

Regarded as queen of herb, it has many herbal and medicinal properties to the human body. Arguably ranked as the best herb to regulate immune system and stress pathway, this plant also is very effective to reduce histamine production in mast cells.

The Internet Journal of Pharmacology  - Volume 7 Number 1
http://ispub.com/IJPHARM/7/1/6038








Monday, January 25, 2016

Caffeine - Are you an addict? (Part 2)

As I have just covered the details of world's most popular and widely consumed beverage, let's now move to another addictive drink, sodas or also known as soft drinks. How much difference between both beverages in terms of caffeine dose or chemicals content? Let's deep dive a little bit on this popular beverage.

Remember when you go to the toilet often in the day but you didn't even drink much of water? Your skin started to feel dry and at times, you may feel headache too. From where we left off in previous post on coffee, the same can have adverse effect on the body with soft drinks or other similar 'energy drinks' too. As more then 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, many of us are depending on painkillers or pain drugs (migraine and headache) on regular basis. Remember the vital nutrients and minerals lost from the caffeine of coffee what what I explained in previous post? The same can occur in these soft drinks too. 

To continue what what we left previously, caffeine in coffee and also soft drinks can act as diuretic and pulls water from the colon. Thus, the spasm can emulate diarheaa episodes in certain people. Caffeine also causes major vasoconstriction in blood vessels and also around fascia muscles areas. Most people thought that drinking more water to hydrate the muscles and fascia (from the dehydration of coffee and caffeinated beverages) can fix the problem. Bear in mind that muscles are the lowest in totem pole and act as slaves to the body. Vital organs and the gut will absorb the vital water first hand, before reserving it for the muscles. For for those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, caffeine is a big problem for them. Caffeine can constrict that tunnel and causes pain. 

In today's world, neck pain and headaches are as common as lower back pain. When one consume foods or drinks which has caffeine, sugar and also gluten, it is a perfect recipe of headaches, migraines and even joints pain. At any point of time when you combined caffeine with sugar, your adrenals are shot and thrashed! One good example is any ice blended coffee products of Starbucks or similar commercial coffee drinks. It doesn't matter which brands of coffee shops as long as it contain both caffeine and sugars. 

Now, soft drinks or sodas. Do you know how much of caffeine is in a can of a commonly consumed soda? It's about 35-38mg in one can. As many people not only consume coffee, soft drinks is another addition to a caffeinated daily ritual. Most people don't realize that sugars (9-11 tablespoons) are added into these soft drinks to cover the bitter taste of caffeine. Remember the coca-cola million dollar secret recipe? Although the sales of coca-cola and pepsi is slightly lower then years ago, they are still the powerhouse of commercial soft drinks globally. 

Before you pick up that can of coke or soft drink, I want you to realize what I'm about to share with you in the following. Awareness is a pre-requisite to change. I want you to know what is happening inside your body when you consume that can of soda, it will likely to blow your mind if you find out. Let's get started. First 10 minutes upon consumption, 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. You don't vomit immediately because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down. Approximately 20 mins after drinking that soda, blood sugar spike, and insulin release is triggered, your are in hyperglycemic state, your liver response by turning fructose into body fat. What happen next? 40 minutes in, caffeine absoption is almost completed, your blood pressure increase, your liver reponse again by dumping more sugar into your bloodstream. Your brain starts to produce dopamine and stimulate brain pleasure system, and that makes you feel good. Within an hour mark, the phosphoric acid binds to vital nutrients such as calcium, zinc and magnesium in your lower intestines and these minerals are depleted through urination. Your body is losing vital minerals and water. And finally, when your body is trying to pulls down insulin level, it now experience hypoglycemic, which is low blood sugar. In other words, your body suffer from sugar crash, and become sluggish. Your body will then tend to look for another quick hit of energy and the roller coaster ride has begun.

For some of you who just read the mental elaboration of the soft drink affect, two things will most likely takes place. One person may now be aware of the devastating affect in this beverage, and resolute to reducing or eliminating this drink from his or her diet. The other person may be thinking " I don't give a damn" and continue his or her usual poor toxic diet. I also would want to rewind back a little bit about coffee, as some of you might decide to consume decaffeinated coffee product, and thinking that it somehow healthier. Well, yes there are pros and cons to decaffeinated coffee. But the primary reason most people consume coffee is to get that energy hit and caffeine. Meanwhile, decaff coffee beans are usually higher in mold and mycotoxins due to removal of caffeine. Caffeine is a protective mechanism used by the plant itself to bend off invaders including mold and fungus. The decaff coffee industry then contribute and 'sell' off its caffeine to the soft drinks industry as a way to make more money. 

I remember way back during my time about close to 25-30 years ago, there are lower rates of obesity and diabetic patients. We have blamed saturated fats and cholesterol for far too long (60 odd years?), we have screwed up big time for this massive dietary mistake, and more people are now dependant on sodas and coffee to keep their energy levels up in he day on regular basis. This has become a daily ritual and most people adrenals can no longer function normally without these stimulants. 

When anyone asked me about the 'perfect storm' for any meals or foods adverse affect, my answer to them is "Sugar, caffeine and wheat". These 3 substances of mixed cocktail is a perfect combination to wreck havoc in the body and causes massive reaction and inflammation. I call it The Perfect Storm, or also known as The Cytokine Storm by many health professionals. And what would those combination of foods be? A classic example is a typical fast food meal, or bakery food with coffee, which is a typical breakfast in western countries. 

How about alcohol or perhaps even wine? I have many people who debate that wine consumption has its own health benefits and how true is that? Well, I do agree in certain aspect about the benefits of wine but the cons outweigh the pros if you review it comprehensively. Alcohol drinks or even wine, have the same metabolic affect as soft drinks, minus the buzz. Some of the alcoholic beverages especially wine can increase Ig-E antibodies which will likely to result in allergic reaction for certain individuals. And of course, alcohol is neurotoxic to the brain and causes injury to the liver and gut too.  It's a poison to the brain, period. It's also another form of stimulant, similar to soft drinks and coffee, but may response a little different in terms of delivering false energy to an individual. 

Anyone experiencing digestive problems or suspected of leaky gut or even celiac disease, staying away from alcohol is highly recommended. Especially alcoholic beverages made and fermented with wheat, rye and barley, it's destructive to the gut damaging the musocal lining of your intestines. Some may wonder what if I consume alcohol once in a while, would that be alright? Well, if its occasional one glass in months, and if you don't suffer from adverse symptoms from wine or alcoholic consumption, I assume it should not be as bad, but listening to your body is crucial. 

Also, please bear in mind that regular alcohol consumption can lead to esophageal and phyloric valves and sphincters dysfunctions. Many people are suffering from GI disorders, conditions such as GERD, acid reflux, gastritis, heartburn, severe bloating and flatulence, etc. When musocal barrier is breaking down, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) will stay open, and substances such as foods and stomach will reflux upwards. Please take taking anti-acid medications will not solve anything and in fact it will make it worst long term.

Finally, what should you do if you are addicted to stimulants such as caffeine and sugars? Fix your overall diet first, and NOT exercise more! If you seriously need to consume coffee, ensure it is organic and add some healthy fats (coconut oil, ghee or grass fed butter) in each serving. Go to bed early to avoid energy and blood sugar dsyregulation. Drink more quality clean water throughout the day, and slowly reduce the consumption of caffeinated beverages from week 1, 2, 3 and so on. Invest in a good quality water filter at home. Add a pinch of quality unprocessed sea salt into every 1 litre of water. It will replenish the lost minerals from the caffeine and sugars flushed out from the body. Last but not least, you can refer to the urine color chart below to check if your are drinking enough water for your own bodyweight. 



Am I drinking enough water?


From the above chart, you want to be drinking enough water to match the color of your urine to no.1 and no.2. If your urine color is no.3, you are dehydrated. You may suffer from muscles cramps if the color darkens to no.4. If it matches the color further down the chart from 5 to 8, you are at health risks! Most people are severely dehydrated of quality water and the body is made of 70% water. 













Sunday, January 17, 2016

Caffeine - Are you an addict? (Part 1)

As new year has begun, many people have set their goals and new year's resolution for 2016. Some might set sights on weight loss, for others, could be changing unhealthy habits and lifestyle. As most people are more interested in goals which are physically visible, how many pay attention to smaller lifestyle details which may impact their transformation and health or even fitness goals? Things such as regular or daily stimulants which are robbing your vitality, energy, nutrient reserves and even suppressing the immune system. 

Today, we will discuss about common stimulants which are very popular amongst most people at present day. The ones in particular are coffee, soft drinks (sugars) and even alcohol. Let's just take United States for example, Americans consume an average of 3.5 cups of coffee per day, and close to 300 cans of soft drinks per year. Coffee, is the most popular beverage in the world, and soft drinks come very close second. Reason? These 2 substances are one of the most potent stimulants and contain very addictive properties which trigger dopamine in the brain and tricked the body into producing 'fake' energy boost. 

As 80% of Americans drink about 3-5 cups of coffee daily, most people are not aware of what's going on inside the body. As I've blogged about coffee before, it is important to realize that this popular beans are heavily contaminated with pesticides and chemicals during farming and harvesting. It is in fact one of the most pesticides laden crops/substances in the world, apart from another stimulant cigarette. Depending on the quality of the beans, commercial coffee beans are high in mold, which contain mycotoxins. Mycotoxins have been shown in studies to cause cancer and the ability to inhibit peristalsis in the GI tract is devastating to overall digestive and immune health. 

Let's take an average individual who 'loves' coffee. When I asked most people, they admitted that they love and enjoy coffee, but they do not know why they are so dependent on this beverage on daily basis. "Are you addicted to coffee?" Almost all of them replied 'NO". In this post, we will determine if you are an addict to these substances. In certain cases, some people may be addicted and dependent on more then one stimulant on daily basis. If you want to find out how well your body can function without any stimulatory substances, keep reading and you will find out in the end of this post. 

Let's focus on coffee for now. As most people do not know why drinking coffee is mandatory in the morning and throughout the day, some may argue that this coffee beans have its health benefits such as antioxidants, but for majority drinkers, all they know is they need it to get them up and running in the morning, and provide energy during the day while at work.The same apply with consuming breads, where most people just don't know why they can't stop eating wheat based foods. 

For some people, coffee might seemed to be their energy provider, but most people don't realize that it DO NOT provide raw energy in the body. In fact, it borrowed energy and stress hormones which are produced from the adrenal glands.An average cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine. Caffeine does not produce or give energy to the body, but it steal and produce 'fake' energy which mimic as tension which one feel in the body.  For some people, they feel the tension in the muscles after consumption of coffee and others may feel other side effects such as palpitation and breathing difficulties. Caffeine makes the body move when it doesn't want to. 

Coffee, contain more then 700 substances and chemicals in the beans itself. As the most heavily sprayed crop in the world, coffee has a half life affect to the body. Most coffee drinkers are fast in absorption, but slow in detoxing the caffeine and other substances in the beverage itself. Assuming you consume coffee at 9am in the morning, it will require approximately 6-8 hours to lower the cortisol stress level down to 50% as the body trying to detox the caffeine out from the system. Meaning, by 3-5pm, the first cup of coffee still has the effect of production of cortisol stress hormone at half potency by that time. Imagine if you hit another cup after lunch from your favorite coffee shop. How would your adrenals handle it if this continue chronically on regular basis for months or even years? How would the quality of sleep be for that night? Most people are wired and tired, and unable to enjoy deep REM sleep most nights. But again, depending on different individuals, some may handle and metabolize caffeine better then the other. Any dose of more then 100mg of caffeine per consumption per day will likely to trigger sleep problems at night.

Please take note that pharmaceutical drugs such as birth control pills and other common medications interfere with the ability and efficiency of detoxing caffeine from the body. It is also important to know that caffeine and toxins passed through the placenta and breast milk. For pregnant women or breast feeding mothers, this would be an important piece of information as fetus has no ability to detox caffeine and toxins. Also, caffeine half life and production of cortisol in a fetus or baby is longer then adults. 



Caffeine Consumption/Dependant Scale: Coffee, Soft drinks or any caffeinated drinks

100-300mg - Danger zone, sleep issues ( not necessary insomnia )
400-600mg - Addiction, likely hood of reoccurance ulcers, fibrocystic breasts
700- 900mg - Addiction, energy issues



If any of you falls between 400mg or more on daily basis, you are likely an addict to coffee and dependant on caffeine to get your day going. I know some people might say "I just have a cup of coffee a day". That may be alright for most people, but when you look at the cup size and strength level of the coffee, the caffeine dose may well be over 400-500 mg in that one serving. There are people would love coffee due to the flavor and smell. That may be fine if there are no withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops drinking coffee for couple of days. 

I have clients who mentioned that sleeping hours are almost the same as couple years back before the 'addiction' kicks in. But, most of them noticed the quality of sleep and immunity decline overtime. The quality of mood also diminishes as consumption of coffee prolonged, although coffee may triggers dopamine production upon ingestion, but if this is ongoing chronically for long term, your body will be depleted of this hormone. If one is depleted of dopamine, he or she will lose the quality of mood and feeling happy. It is as powerful, if not more potent then serotonin when comes to mood and being happy. 

For most people, they claimed that they feel fine and great when they have their caffeine fix on daily basis. But when you take away coffee or even soft drinks, they feel lousy and unable to function mentally and physically. No more blood sugar triggers, no dopamine production. As we live in the digital social world, majority of us are nightcrawlers. Almost everyone now sleep after 12 midnight. If you add poor sleep cycle with cups of coffee during the day, you will be experiencing brain fog and poor energy fluctuations throughput the day. No deep sleep, you will feel unrested and tired the next morning, doesn't matter how many hours you slept. When one is sleep deprived or not getting regular deep quality sleep, the body loses the capacity to heal itself. 

Another thing which happen in the body is depletion of vital minerals in the body. You will lose minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, B-Vitamins, calcium, sodium, zinc, etc. Coffee and caffeine create this sensation of providing false energy in the body, but it rob the host of nutrients which needed for actual energy production. One of primary reason for anemic patients are problems with low level of iron in the body, and regular coffee consumption will make it worst or could be the main contributor to that disease. Melatonin, which is a repair hormone only increases when one sleep especially during proper circadian cycle. It is also a potent antioxidant which repair and restore the body for healing purpose. It is also important to realize that there is approximately 60% reduced blood flood to the neck and head musculature from the effect of caffeine. It also increase blood pressure in the brain as well. 

For someone who is concern about posture, regular consumption of caffeinated drinks can aggravate the poorly aligned posture due to reduced blood flow and tension build in the muscles area. You may perform a test of standing against the wall. If your tailbone, scapulars and head are not able to touch the wall without trying to force the posture, its a basic assessment for postural alignment.

Meanwhile, let's have a quick look at the caffeine content table for some of the most popular drinks which create false energy in the body. As you can see, it only require one Starbucks Brewed Coffee (Venti) to hit the 400mg dose of caffeine. So much for just one cup of coffee? Stay tuned for next post which I will focus on other caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks.




Content table derived from healthyprotocols.com


Sunday, December 27, 2015

How to create peace points?

As all of us are living in a hectic fast-paced lifestyle, most of us have forgotten to find time for ourselves, especially having an intimate with our own body, mind and soul. With that, I don't mean going shopping alone buying clothes and handbags or the things we want in shopping mall. Nor playing online games with your desktop, or watching long hours of TV on the couch eating junk food. 

First of all, what is peace points? Most of you readers might be wondering what on earth that is? As I just completed blogging about 'Workout' activities as something YANG and catabolic type of physiological stimulation, today's discussion is about the opposite of hectic, chaos, racing mind, sympathetic, etc. It is ways to find to find your soul and get to know yourself each time when you needed it most. It's the small little thing which we can do for ourselves, each time when we connect with our inner soul, on daily basis. In other words, it's a form of healing when one is out of sorts or disconnected from nature and the body. 

To maintain a sense of self and equal equilibrium and have capacity to engage things in life. From cell phones to TV to internet to social networking, our lives are bombarded with distractions and sometimes we need to give permission to ourselves to get away from the buzz and all the hectic stuff around us. We are so busy and so crowded through medias and electronics and we know what phones and handbags our neighbors are using, or celebrities private lives and even your colleague's bad day in toilet. Most of us spent more time knowing others' problems and happenings, then reserving quality time with their own lives and loved ones. It's cruel irony and sad reality. 

We really owed it to ourselves to shut off these gadgets and give a period of time to go off the grid and disconnect. Else, we will end up like most of the celebrities and rich people where many of them spend lots of money on so called medical and health care, psychiatrist, doctors, drugs, psychologist, etc. Getting out in nature and taking care of your body, which is ultimately yours by calming and stretching the body and create more space in the body. Especially living in a hectic stressed out world at present time, creating peace point can provide us with some sense of inner peace.

Most people I know don't even have time to eat as they have such a busy schedule. It's a self destructive habit to constantly surround yourself with people particularly when you eat. When you watch people eat and talk, they barely even chew their foods and swallow down chunks of it. The next thing you know, they have parasite infections, digestive problems, elimination problems, skin problems, attitude problems, headaches, etc. Eating is a sacred event and one should have a relationship with food. 

Spend time exercising alone. Spend time doing things you love alone, such as doing art or singing. As some people prefer going to the gym with a training buddy, there is nothing wrong with it. But, training alone with maximum focus on your entire session without distraction is a win. If you walk into commercial gyms, you will be blasted with loud music and TV programs and people talking all over the place. Not to mention group classes which at times could be deafening and giving you headache more then benefit the body.

One of the peace points techniques is called the single pointed focus. Imagine you give 100% focus in that very moment, be it holding a static crow stance for 2 mins, or bottoms up heavy kettlebell static press up, or pressing with every muscle in the body with maximum contraction, against the wall. Bear in mind, doing a chest press or bodycombat class is not a single pointed focus. The goal is an alone time, quiet time, fully present in that moment and totally focus. In that moment, the rest of the world seize to exist. A peace point, as you choose to exercise and take care of yourself.

Ask yourself, do you really need loud music or a group of friends to exercise? If you really listen to your body and choose to do it for yourself, you DO NOT need all these factors to accompany you to perform this activity. Try enjoy the irrational, from making art to music and singing or anything driven by your soul. Nothing to measure, nobody to compare or compete, just having good old irrational fun. Most people just afraid to perform or even attempt anything in their lives, because they are afraid others judge them and say things which make them feel bad. Remember, this is your life, and you can't always control what people say about you. Don't let it affect what you love to do the most, your passion and what your soul tells you to do.

Meanwhile, below are some of the tips to create peace points:


- Build them into your schedule, don't buy excuses
- Eat alone, have relationship with the food, develop spiritual experience during the meal
- Take breaks at work and allow yourself to think nothing!
- Have sense of humor, allow yourself to jokes with others
- Enjoy nature whenever possible, especially barefoot
- Shut off your cell phone or leave it behind during your peace points moment
- Use travel time to enjoy yourself rather then busy working or constant worrying
- Play and have alone fun



Bottom line is, whatever you do, keep it irrational, not measurable. Playfulness is the measure of intelligence. Stop worrying about what your colleagues or friends say about what you are going to do. Be it something which might sound silly or your good friend tells you that it's a bad idea. Let your soul guide you, spending more alone time in quiet environment is far more beautiful then you can ever imagine. Picture yourself exploring a serene rainforest surrounded by nature, the silence and peace of mind in that moment will make you realize how much you have been disconnected from nature and your own body and soul. Before I sign off, I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Workout - No Pain, No Gain ( The ugly truth ) - Part 2

As year 2015 coming to an end, many of us start to set new resolutions for next year. Some are a bit more realistic, for some, it's a disconnection between the mind and heart. I've got clients and friends who want to make more money from the job they hate, even though their heart tell them NO. And we then have people want to lose a far-fetched 20kg for that 6 months period but poor mindset will always setup for failure and further demotivation. As for most typical Malaysians, they want a quick fix for almost everything in their lives, including health, weight loss and getting into shape. Is it long term sustainable? Definitely NO.

In today 2nd part, we will focus and discuss more about working-out. A popular topic and exercise routine which everyone is raving about where ever you go. For instance, you ever hardly see anyone doing a para-sympathetic stimulated exercise in commercial gyms. Or what I would call it as work-in exercise. Going all out performing workout or catabolic type of exercises is a recipe for self-destruction. We no longer live in a slow paced low stress life which our ancestors lived hundreds or thousands years ago. Our ancestors don't have to worry about bills to pay, our if your neighbors or friends have fancier cars or handbags, or a complicated relationship which is affected by current social networking environment. One thing for sure, most of us have to bear with the jobs we hate and enslaving our souls and body to corporate companies or bosses we dislike. All these mental and emotional stress, add to other layers of stressors we have in our lives, including nutritional, thermal, biochemical, spiritual and physical (which I will discuss shortly.)

Now, imagine you decide to start exercising or 'workout'. What do you decide and do? Join gym membership? Join the crossfit community? YouTube home workout? Or just typical jogging or biking? Let's look deeper into what these common types of workout or exercise routines will impact your body as a whole. To stimulate real life scenario, let's take an individual who is working a 9-6pm typical office job with medium to high level of stress at work. 


Scenario A - Female adult 35 years old, overweight

Office worker who sits regularly daily for prolonged period of time, a typical lordosis posture combined with kyphosis and weak glutes and tight hamstrings. With regular complains of lower back tightness and pain, this female also has job stress and inability to sleep properly at night. Diet is out of control, primarily eat outside foods most of the time and cravings for sugars and wheat have becoming an addiction. She is also a heavy mobile phone user and expose to constant man-made EMF devices such as wireless routers, TV and laptop. In addition, she hates her job and having relationship problem with her spouse. Now, let's evaluate the total stress output for this individual, prior to adding 'workout' routine later on.

Diet - Poor (processed and non-organic, toxic and inflammatory) - HIGH cortisol level
Sleep cycle - Poor sleep quality, deprived - medium to HIGH cortisol level
Thermal stressor - High exposure to EMF radiation - HIGH cortisol level
Mental and Emotional stressor - Job and Relationship - HIGH cortisol level
Physical stressor - ??? Unknown yet


What would a typical 35 years old overweight female choose in the most typical fashion for an exercise program? Regular jogging routine? Or maybe join a gym membership and participate in the bodycombat or RPM night classes? Or perhaps maybe subscribe to a personal training one on one session? The question is, what do all these exercise routines have in common? Yes, workout, expanding energy which involve in catabolic activity. It doesn't matter if you jog for 60-90 mins nightly, or intense bodycombat or RPM classes in the gym after office hours in the evening, or complete a full hour of weight training when darkness increases. Working out, triggers stress hormones, stressing out the adrenal glands and stimulate sympathetic nervous system. Although some may say that it has benefits of improving mood, burn fat and improve sleep quality, etc. That's true, if the workout movement and program is executed and prescribed correctly to that particular INDIVIDUAL. Not to everyone else. Think of a house on fire and you pour more Molotov cocktail and gasoline into it. Does that make any sense?

As what Paul Chek classified as 'The Virgin Reps'. A new exercise takes about 350 properly executed reps to integrate the movement pattern with the nervous system. A poorly executed repetitions for that new exercise will require up to 10 times the amount of reps performed, to rehabilitated with corrective exercises, due to faulty patterns recruitment. meaning, much more reps of corrective exercise to reprogram back the nervous system as to also reverse the faulty pattern which was integrated previously. This is something the conventional fitness industry is not taught, and many personal trainers and coaches failed to identify that the nervous system is directly in-sync with the muscular system. 

Having goals to lose weight and looks better physically may be a typical outward perception. Most people too obsessed about how they look from the outside, but what happen to how they feel and health status? In the year of 1900, the statistics for cancer is 1 in every 30 people. In year of 1980, it's 1 in every 5 people. By the  year of 2000, it's 1 in every 3 ppl. The latest statistics showed that it's 1 in every 2 people will develop cancer and die of this man-made lifestyle based disease! And guess what, another 10 years from now, almost everyone will get cancer and most likely die of this condition.

Bear in mind, toxicity and stress are two major contributor to most of the chronic diseases. Both of these factors lead to inflammation and eventually added into layers of total stressors. As muscular systems is the always the slave to the vital organs and glands, over training or prolonged workout type of exercises will only stressed out the adrenals and immune system even further. Not to mention dysfunctions in vital organs will impact the functions of the muscles performance and recovery. Example, inflammation of the gut from poor diet (wheat, sugars, processed foods) can deactivate the intrinsic abdominal core muscles, leading to a spiral downward of postural alignment to the feet. This can happen vice versa, as dsyfunctions of certain muscle areas can steal the nutrients, oxygen and bloodflow of attached vital organs or even spine, both sharing same neurological pathways.


Some of you readers might be wondering, this sounds like me. Age 30's, overweight, fatigue, often bloated, cravings for sugars and wheat, and stressed out. When each time you look in the mirror, you are often not satisfied or happy with how you look physically, and also emotionally and spiritually, you are unhappy and unfulfilled deep inside of your soul. Most people perceive themselves as OUTWARD (physical body --> skin --> bones --> organs --> ligaments --> tissues --> cells --> atom) expression. And very few people look at themselves as INWARD (atom --> cells --> tisues --> ligaments --> organs --> bones --> skin --> physical body) expression. The question is, which one is you? Ask yourself honestly.

The lesson from this scenario is to really listen to the body, identify the layers of stressors of this female individual. The total output of stress accumulated will determine if she needs more stress on the adrenals and physiology. Or perhaps perform movement or activity which balance out the autonomic nervous system and chakras? Burning fat would be the last thing the body does, if the there is on going crisis such as chronic inflammation level, toxicity and underlying infections. Many middle age women end up gaining more weight long term while doing prolonged cardiovascular/endurance type of exercise or end up losing tons of muscle mass which is so vital for metabolism as age is catching up.



Scenario B - Male adult  30 years old, obese

Me on behalf of male adults, I will tell a common scenarios of such individuals who wants to lose weight or get into shape. Common goals include losing 20kg in 6 months period, or get into a 'normal' male figure as his main objective. Doesn't matter what it takes or what he will do, all that matters is achieve this goal. If this sounds familar, keep reading.

From real life experiences of overloading myself with toxic commercial protein powders and supplements, to eating tons of grains and refined carbs, and hours and hours of physical intense training weekly. That was ME many years back! Confession of a so called fitness enthusiast or body-building wannabe. Fit, toxic and sick. Ok, confession over. Let's get back to this obese male adult who wants to have the body of his dream.

Now, let me add more details of the previous and current history of this male adult in terms of medical, health, physical and exercise. Let's take a look below.


Profile:
Has been inactive physically, did not exercise in years, very deconditioned and suffering from chronic lower back pain. Ocassional knee pain combined with stiff neck.
Diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, regular migraines and sleep problems, insomnia. Poor bowel movement, regular constipation and bloating. Easily feels exhausted and severe cravings for sugars. Diet consists of high carbs based and processed foods.
Spent most time sitting at desk during work and at home, very limited exposure to sun and outdoor.



Does this profile sounds familar to many overweight male adults at present time? I think so. Why did I say so? Majority of my male clients have the same exact profile, literally. Poor posture, noticeable muscular imbalances, low energy levels, intense sugar cravings, poor inflammatory diet, and long list of symptoms and medical conditions, and primarily leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Let me ask you (guys) bluntly about what would your typical next action plan is? Joining gym membership? Crossfit? Marathon? Three most commonly participated training of as recent time, especially crossfit and marathon community is growing like never before. For someone who is more ambitious, the more glamorous hardcore crossfit training might suit him or her, or setting certain fitness goals such as completing marathon might favor one's liking. The funny thing is, most of the ones who participated in marathon training think that it is a healthy lifestyle. I'm not fully supportive of prolonged endurance type of training especially then ones who are having multiple stressors in their lives. It will only make things worst in terms of health and wellness.

Why marathon participation is increasingly popular? Firstly, it's lost cost investment. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you do not need any gym membership or having to pay for training facilities ( in most cases ). But for crossfit training regime, of course you need to pay for a membership for crossfit facility, and hopefully you have a highly skilled experienced coach to really train and look after you. All of training programs or regimes, crossfit is ranked 2nd highest in terms of injuries, latest reports from IHRSA confirmed.

What would happen to your fat loss or body transformation goals if you get injured? If it's serious, those goals will be halted and down the drain. If its minor but coupled with chronic joint pain, the quality of life and wellness could most likely be impaired, as it could disrupt your sleep quality, how you feel (mood), and even performance in daily functions and exercise or even playing your favorite sport.

Most people especially guys beat themselves up in the gym trying to achieve the body similar to male models in fitness magazines. Majority of them ended up stressing the adrenals even more, and having a compromised suppressed immunity is a bad idea, exposing oneself to infections and higher level of inflammation. You might build a nicer body showing off to your Facebook pals but developing adrenal fatigue or other chronic diseases years down the road would be disaster. Same concept with building a house with weak foundation but expensive furniture and appliances, in the end, an inevitable catastrophe.


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As a holistic health coach and personal trainer, I always explain the importance of building health ahead of fitness. The 5 elements of life and pathway to health is crucial in anyway how one look at it. Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Movement. All these elements work synergistically to integrate a holistic body, mind and soul to an individual. How the mind feels, it will impact the body and soul, and vice versa.

Remember, if you lead a 'sympathetic-dominance' lifestyle, be it chronic prolonged workout routines, or even mental and emotional stress, you will throw your own biochemistry off balance, and your risk of developing DIS-EASE will be higher, once homeostasis is no longer in place. Before I sign off, below are the indicators when you should or should not perform workout exercise.


When should I WORK-OUT?

- Listen to your body at all times is the key. If you are exhausted or low energy level by the end of the office work day, the last thing you want is further stressing out your adrenals and producing more cortisol. Instead, you should get more rest/sleep and goin to bed by 10pm is vital for repair and restoration. 

- If you experienced DOMS (Delay onset muscle soreness), it is a sign your body is still recovering from previous exercise session. Come back again for more resistance workout once you feed your body with high quality nutrition and sufficient sleep, with less onset soreness. Ideally, you can perform myofascial release for faster recovery.

- If your workout or performance in the gym or during current training session is poor or sluggish, your body is NOT ready and still recovering.

- When your menstrual is cycling, those period should be your rest days. Reproductive and ovulation do not mixed with physical stressor, which translate to survival. 

- No workout or sympathetic type of physical activities after 7pm. You should be winding down and getting ready to relax and sleep. Melatonin sleep hormone should be highest during sundown or bedtime, elevating your cortisol stress hormone hours before sleep would disrupt your repair cycle. Remember, your muscles growth and anabolic activities are at its peak during circadian rhythm. 

- Best time to perform any sympathetic stimulated activity is during daytime, preferably in the morning. Go all out with intense or weight bearing exercise if you feel energetic (not after a coffee or energy drink dose) and rested enough from the day before. Avoid long hours of workout session, and you should stop once you feel as if you are struggling or depleted.

- If you are suffering from chronic pain (lower back or joints pain), the last thing you want is participating in an intense workout session, especially heavy lifting. Fix the biomechanics dsyfunctions and muscular imbalances with corrective exercises and proper rehabilitation. You might want to look at your diet as most people are eating highly inflammatory foods which deactivated the intrinsic deep core muscles due to inflammation of the gut. 








Sunday, December 6, 2015

Workout - No Pain, No Gain ( The ugly truth )

We have all heard it all over the place. Gyms, work place, friends, jogging buddies, fitness groups, bootcamps, online training programs, crossfit communities, etc. No pain no gain! How much truth would most people know about this approach? It's a hype around conventional fitness world, but yet few know what is really happening with the body physiologically and psychologically, if this approach is followed for a prolonged period of time. 

As the concept of 'burning calories' floods almost the entire population especially the weight loss paradigm and its followers, we have been led to believe that the only way to lose weight and be healthier is to exercise (workout) more, and eat less (caloric restriction).  We have been hardwired to think that working out in the gym is the way to go, but guess what? We have more gyms and fitness studios ever existed in the history of mankind, yet we have the sickest and more overweight people on the planet earth then ever before. In terms of common sense, one will realize that we don't need an IQ of 160 (equivalent to Einstein) to figure out this statistic. It doesn't make any sense at all. 

Going back to the future a few generations ago, our great grand parents and ancestors do not even know what calories is, nor is there any gym available. But guess what, our ancestors are so much stronger, functional, healthier and better shape then most of us. How can that be even possible? They don't 'workout' in the gym, they don't count calories every single meal, nor do they even have any dietary experts and personal trainers. That's the million dollar question most people DON'T even ask themselves. No one even bother asking common sense related questions, and we all kept following so called diet, fitness and health advises/programs available out there. 

First thing first. What makes sense? What works for sure every single time? Have we all lost track of how we should live our lives or integrating primal patterns? Back to basics, how humans evolved for millenia, what made humans @ caveman, able to reproduce and stay functional and healthy for thousands if not millions of years. Do we ever train and move on fix machines, cardio centric treadmills or even stationary bicycles? How many of us know how humans suppose to move functionally?  Apart from countless generations of moving contra-laterally and bi-pedal, our primal ancestors (including us) were meant to do activities such as hanging our shoulders on bars like apes, walk, run, sprint, crawl and even animal-based movements. A better question, how often do we even practive such primal movements? Daily? Six days a week? Almost 2 hours per session in the gym?

When we talk about workout or exercise, we first need to understand what workout actually means. Most people thought of workout as an activity to burn calories, burn body fat, build muscles or even improve fitness and health. But what 'workout' actually means? 


Work -  Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something
Out -  Away from a usual or original place


Think for a moment of credit card usage. I'm sure most people who own credit card realize the consequences if he or she is unable to fully pay back the total amount for each billing month. Imagine you spent USD300 for that particular month, but if you don't have the sufficient resources (money) to pay back in full, what's going to happen? Yes, you will be in debt or resources/money owed and penalty will incurred. It's the same with what happened when we 'workout'  and do not realize we could be expanding way too much resources then we could actually restored back. 

If one kept focusing on working-out., the prolonged regular sessions of expanding resources (nutrition, vitality and energy) will cause physiological deficit, impacting the health and reserves of vital organs and glands in the body. Building brick house with woods is another silly analogy which is similar to this scenario. The popular hype of 'no pain no gain' workout paradigm, is a cliche which derived from military training which is based on survival protocols, a very sympathetic dominant mental and physically drained environment. 

Since fitness magazines,TV shows and youtube channels have all commercialized and publicly hardwired the images of six pack abs and ripped physical bodies, this obsession has become global priority, for some, it's an addiction. Ever since the publicity and popularity of bodybuilding in the days of Arnold Schwarzenegger, it has over spilled to the fitness industry. Ridiculous amount of money has snowballed ever since decades ago, with bodybuilding supplements has become a powerhouse in sports and fitness world. 

We have lost the primal instincts of how humans suppose to move and live, not to mention the health of muscoloskeletal systems and biomechanics. We have more incidents of lower back and joints problems then ever in the history of mankind, yet there are more physical therapists and orthopeadic surgeons born every year. How can that be? Research has shown that up to 80% of all orthopeadic injuries are chronic, meaning, non-acute and no physical contacts with another person which resulted in the injured individual. And the cruel irony is, the experts in the field don't even know what causes the injuries in the first place, not to mention how to rehabilitate safely and effectively. Thus, reoccuring injuries, and it has become more common in the field of sports, fitness and even general population. 

As most people tend to forget that the muscular systems act as 'slaves' to the vital organs and glands in the body. When I mention the word 'slave', what I meant was the muscles will always provide the resources and reserves to the organs and glands which share the same neurological pathways. Always remember, vital organs and glands always have first priority when it comes to resources and reserves in the body. Reason?  It's the body survival mechanism to keep the host alive at any given situation.

When we talk about building and maintaining good health, it is plain common sense to realize that priority is set towards the immune system, vital organs and glands and gut health. Depending on which studies, the immune system consist of 70-80% of gut flora. Gut health is one of the most important pillars of health, and almost all diseases start in the gut. Now, from my years of personal training and coaching clients, i have yet to find an individual (Malaysians) who really develop relationship with his or her body. Most of them don't even know how to listen to their body signals when it is in crisis or state of stress. But guess what, tons of people too obsessed with what's in front of the mirror, building a six pack abs or losing pounds of fat in time for the wedding event in few months period. 

Before we deep dive into 'workout', let's discuss the fundamentals of how our immune system and hormonal system work, from the perspective of energetic and autonomic stand point. We have the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous system. YIN and YANG, or the anabolic and catabolic activities. A question everyone should be asking themselves, "Which is more important, health or fitness?". Or another question one should be asking, "Does feeling energetic, happy and pain free matter more then looking good on the physical side?"

To be bluntly honest, almost all of us will only do something about our health if there is a life threatening situation impending or your doctor mentioned " Your health screening result is alarming, you better do something about it immediately". To make changes in our life, it takes commitment and some level of self-discipline. Most people do not want to make lifestyle changes or any change at all, because they are in comfort zone, even though they know it will kill them. Smoking and alcohol consumption are two good examples of mentioned scenario. Firstly, awareness is the pre-requisite to change. Next, mindset is what determine what an individual decide and take action. Doesn't matter if it's planning and preparing your own healthy meals, or spending time with your kids more then on social networking and friends. A healthy mind reflect a healthy body.


To be continued...stay tuned..



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sleep Deprivation : Am I getting quality sleep?

Another health talk event took place recently at my work place and another 'specialist' doctor from a private hospital came by to give her presentation. This time, the health talk focus on 'Stress Management'. It was one of the most shocking health talks I have ever attended, and worst still, it was conducted by a medical professional.

What was presented during the health talk? The following, is the advise by that medical doctor...

"You can eat whatever you want to stay healthy. You can drink whiskey daily, and life is not worth it without coffee. It is not worth it to prepare and bring your own healthy home cook meals to office at work. You should stay awake late at night do the things you want such as watching your favorite TV show and going to bed on time is not important. We only need 6 hours a day of sleep and that is sufficient."


I felt as if she is giving advise to the audience based on her own lifestyle and liking. Maybe the doctor has her own opinions and how she lives her life, but giving such misinformed and poor health advise will only misguide the already unhealthy group of people in this country. The first advise itself is a death sentence for everyone, to eat anything you want to stay healthy? Most people don't realized that most conventional medical doctors have less then a handful hours of lectures in diet and nutrition in their 5-6 years of medical degree. 

By eating whatever you want during the day or at night, it will most likely impair your sleep quality due to blood sugar dsyregulation and impacting your adrenals at the same time. Wonder why you are awake by 2-3 am in some nights? And by consuming regular coffee daily, the caffeine will trigger stress hormones and the effect of half-life (6 hours) will only decrease depending on the last consumed timing. If you hit that cup of joe by 2pm, your adrenals will release cortisol and epinephrine, but cortisol will remain circulating in the blood for up to 6 hours, meaning by 8pm, the half-life potency will only decrease to 50%. This will surely making exhausted by the end of the day, feeling wired but tired and being able to sleep naturally by 10pm is almost impossible. Besides, most consumed coffee products are processed and non-organic, high in pesticides, mold and mycotoxins. 

If you have read my previous posts about sleep, I have explained in details how sleep deprivation can cause long list of physiological and psychological problems. Not to mention weight gain, diabetic and out of sync circadian rhythm. A more serious complications, increased risk of heart disease, cancer, intestinal permeability, autoimmune disease, and of course, reduced healing capacity. 

As most people either don't know what to do about it, for some, the need for sleeping pills or eating a high sugar/carbs meal before bed. As I have blogged about some of the ways to have better sleep, below are some of the 'revised and tuned' versions of getting deep restorative sleep. The number one remedy for anti-aging, healing and feeling focus and happy. 




Ways to sleep better: 

1) Oxytocin- release activity (sleep naked with your partner, enable more hugs, great sex)
A 2009 study published by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, had the following say about oxytocin.

"Oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. it increase pain thresholds, and stimulates various types of positive social interactions. In addition, it promote growth and healing."

The release of this hormone not only beneficial to your relationship, but also to your health. It is also known as the love hormone. One of the ways to trigger the release of such hormone is getting regular sleep with your partner in NAKED form. The bonding skin to skin with someone you love during sleep will trigger oxytocin. Another way is to give someone as many hugs as  you could on daily basis. Finally, favorite topic of all, SEX. Not only mind-blowing, toes-curling orgasmic sex will triggers huge amount of oxytocin and endorphins, it is a potent sleep booster! It numb your senses and decrease pain, making your eyes so heavy, falling asleep in no time, hitting that deep REM sleep. Oxytocin release up to 5 times more then normal level during this copulating process. 


2) Sleep with the moon, wake up with the sun (circadian rhythm)
A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology showed that getting regular less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to an increased risk of both heart disease and type 2 Diabetes. The researchers analyzed six years worth of data from just under 1500 participants, all between the ages of 35 and 79. On their results, the study authors wrote,

"Short sleep duration was associated with an elevated risk of IFG (incident-impaired fasting glucose). Not only can this elevated blood sugar lead to heart disease and diabetes, it can also lead to gain weight, which comes with its own risk of debilitating health issues, as well."

Now, most people don't realize that we have all been sleeping according to circadian rhythm since humans evolved thousands if not millions of years ago. Before artificial lights were invented, all of us have had quality sleep cycle. I remember my parents said that my great grandmother go to bed as early as before 9pm, and wakes up by 6am. Those years before TV, computers and internet were commercialized, our old folks were living a healthy life, and insomnia was almost never heard of. People don't even know about sleeping pills nor any sleep supplements. We have an epidemic of sleep disorders and insomnia is one of the common symptom. Is insomnia a deficiency of sleeping pill? Definitely not. 



3) Shorter, quality, functional exercise (HIIT, weight training)
HIIT has been shown in studies to provide multiple benefits to the body, which  includes lower stress level, better sleep at night and more effective in burning body fat. It is a smarter way of training and less damaging to the body hormonally and physically. It has been shown to burn body fat up to 10 times more effective then steady state cardio. Bear in mind, prolonged cardio or endurance exercise has been shown to increased risk of heart disease. There are many studies which explain why and how elevated cortisol hormone cause damage to the heart muscles during these types of physical exercises. The goal of exercise, is to control the over stimulation of cortisol stress hormone during the session. Avoid performing strenuous exercise at night, and at least 3 hours before your bedtime (10pm). Cortisol suppress your sleep hormone melatonin, preventing you from quality restorative sleep.  


4) Disconnect!
Switch off all electronic devices including TV, radio, wireless router, mobile phone (airplane mode), artificial lights at home and inside the bedroom by latest 10pm. Unless you have something to attend, make it a routine to hit the bed by 10pm. All these man-made EMF and interference will disrupt your sleeping hormones receptors causing poor sleep quality.

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Journals/References:

http://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/28/10135.short
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075236
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22621349
http://www.journalsleep.org/viewabstract.aspx?pid=27617
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2902103/
http://www.annalsofepidemiology.org/article/s1047-2797(10)00113-4/abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15834840
http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/12/05/eurheartj.ehr397.abstract