Our Doctor “NO” – yes!

Sometimes it is fun to play with words like “NO.” Yes?

Or allow me to explain…

Doctor NO, in Ian Fleming’s 1958 book, was a scientific madman who wanted to destroy our U.S. space program.  Thank goodness that Sean Connery and Ursula Andress just happened to come along to confront and beat that villain!  Incidentally, that enduring Agent 007 probably benefitted from the chemical compound “N-O” for his impressive actions.

Two of our body’s most prevalent (and essential@) elements are Nitrogen (N) and Oxygen – chemical symbol O (bodily percentages are below)

O – 65%

(C 18.5%)

(H 9.5%)

N – 3.2%

A key bioproduct for MANY organisms – not just homo sapiens, a chemically bonded N=O molecule supports nutrient delivery to cells for metabolism/movement.

Experts have a fancy name for this delivery support; endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF).  EDRF IS a good four-letter word. trust your Koach.

Two mechanisms for gaining in our bodies are:

  1. L-arginine (amino acid conversion to N+O) internally when normal.
  2. Conversion of nitrates [ Not preservative Sodium Nitrates] from green leafy vegetables (Popeye!)

– One credible study suggests we Americans ingest only ½ of the health-forming nitrates we need ☹.

AND a sad bummer – N=O production notably notable drop-offs with age  (if we allow it)

As in an estimated 10-12% loss of yield per decade (aging, oxidative stress, lack of exercise, smoking…

Further, some mouthwashes, antibiotics, NSAIDs, and antacids inhibit our N=O conversion (from both L-arginine and nitrates).  OY! Modern life…

BE in the NO!  Blood tests do not readily help us understand our vasodilation effectiveness.

Journal of Nutrition nbci.nlm.nih.gov

Supplemental Citrulline (which is a non-essential amino acid) is “much” more efficient than oral arginine supplementation for increasing arginine! Arginine is hard to extract…at least for mice studies…  Less gut side effects too…

A Minimum daily requirement – or recommended daily ingestion of Citrulline is ~3-6 grams per day.

Watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins are fine natural sources of Citrulline.  This N=O enabler isn’t used to build proteins by our bodily system, only to help convert arginine.

“May” support GH rise after exercise.

 

There are skeptics, and rightly so.  More research and study is required before we can say with confidence what true benefits are.

“May impact muscle synthesis” in a good way and also decrease a-a breakdown.

L-Citrulline (endurance) and also Citrulline Malate (more common in Strength/bodybuilding supplements) – can possibly boost performance if ingested ~1 hour before lifting.

It is important for KaBoomers to consider that Citrulline “may improve oxygen usage in exercising muscle” after a week or more of ingestion.

How can a KBoomer get his/her N=O naturally?

Natural vegetables – that are high in NITRATES – beetroot, spinach, arugula – leverage our bodily enzyme conversion to N=O to lower BP (by a few ticks…)and bump aerobic performance. Flavonoids in fruits can also support N=O production, to a lesser degree.

Vasodilation, Nitric Oxide’s key role in O2 delivery to our muscles while exerting/performing.

This “intermediary” signaling as (N=O)  is also reported to regulate our brain, kidney, liver, and lungs as metabolically active tissues!  Trivial point – Nitric Oxide (N=O) Molecule of the Year 1992, and focus on Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1998.

 

This “free radical” gas is thankfully different than its near cousins’ nitrous oxide (laughing gas for dentistry) and nitrogen dioxide ( a major air pollutant). What a difference a chemical bond can make for free radicals!

This is an issue for folks with diabetes!

Then there’s a little issue of erectile dysfunction for some guys,

Muscle soreness,

Blood pressure readings

And possibly a favorable shift in insulin sensitivity for better control of one’s blood sugar.

N=O has a credible status as a “generally safe” supplement – from beet juice (red urine or stools a possibility)

  • “High” L arginine dosages (for diabetics?) may lead to stomach discomfort or diarrhea

->  See a Doctor before embarking on a self-regimented supplement program -please!

Bottom line?

N=O relaxes our circulatory pipes to lower blood pressure and decreases demand (for that exertion) for our ventricular pump and skeletal muscles.

Again, one amino acid – L-Citrulline “may be worthwhile,” – placebo or otherwise, for improved athletic and sexual performance with relevance to Doctor N=O. I am doing a 1-person study 😊.

Be an informed and healthy KaBoomer – with more N=Os encouraged.

df

Drawn Tight

One subject which I wish I had in school was Latin.  You might guess that my fave classes in school were lunch, recess, and gym(physical education).  Back to Latin and its word origin of S T R E S S; “drawn tight.”

You, like all of us, have felt like the drawn string of a bow, possibly ready to snap for a bazillion reasons from big hassles, or a$#holes, things you can’t control, or from a buildup of little speedbumps in our lives.

Drawing tight is a very good reaction if you rush to pick up a grandkid from a spill or to avert an accident.  That’s short-term EUSTRESS.  What none of us want to do is to be a chronically “drawn tight” boomer, suffering from long-term, cortisol generating, life-shortening D I S T R E S S.  Which wheel of fortune [below] is working for you, OR against your livelihood and you – EUSTRESS (upper left) or DISTRESS (lower right)?

EUSTRESS and DISTRESS-wheels of fortune_52183262_s_123rf

A simple yet hard to follow mantra is cited in my upcoming book – KaBoomer: Thriving and Striving into your 90s 

“It’s not S T R E S S that kills you, it IS your reaction to it.”  attributed to Hans Selye.

Take a mindful breath, and invest a few minutes to review more insightful quotes about S T R E S S.  I’ll never write like Samuel Clemens, yet his nom de plume is credited with this relevant thought,

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” ― Mark Twain.

Ship actually happens as we used to say in America’s Navy. Yet how you cope, perhaps HOW you embrace the SUCK, may well determine what does or doesn’t kill you.

I’d rather die crossing the finish line of a hard crew race than from chronic, life -sapped    S T R E S S.  That’s me… How about you?

As Bobby McFerrin offered, “Don’t worry . . . be happy.”  Ha Ha Ha and look at me.

Not easy for most, yet DON’T STRESS over small stuff. Most of life is about small stuff.

Be well,

df (your happy Koach)

© Fotility Photography & Videography

 

Germ warfare – win your microbe battle this winter!

Germs

January 2020

Though five classes of micro-organisms, or microbes, surround us in every calendar season, we seem to get severely shackled with microbes’ effects and after-effects in wintry times.

Of those five microbe classes (1. Bacteria, 2. Fungi, 3, Algae, 4. Protozoa and 5. Viruses), perhaps #5 (Viruses, then #1 (Bacteria) are topical and deadly in winters. When these germs or pathogens get established in some part of an invaded body (as new host), then bad things start to happen to many of us, like common colds, influenza, and measles … Or malaria, tuberculosis and chickenpox/shingles.

As this winter of 2019-2020 looms as a nasty influenza season, let’s remind ourselves of best practices to avoid flu bugs, or mitigate the effects of their invasion. To segregate viruses, common colds are classified as “rhino-viruses.  Though these “rhinos” survive longer on common hard surfaces, common colds are not as much of personal health concern as influenza viruses.  Not by long shots. ‘Tis sad yet true that scores of different rhinoviruses exist.  So, a person may get an uncommon common cold again and again, triggered by different rhinoviruses.  Some folks, like pediatricians and preschool staff members, can attest to that!  Then, there are stomach flus, known as Novo-viruses. Yikes!  These microbes can play survivor on hard surfaces for a fortnight! As Cruise Lines about how easy these can proliferate… Back to Influenza viruses.

Just today, TIME Magazine reported that this year’s FLU season “got off to a strange start.”  To this layman, it seems implausible that experts play a “guessing game” in an attempt to match an annual variable vaccine with the viral strain that “might” proliferate and invade many of us.  Yet that is apparently what happened.  Microbes – 1, Experts – 0. Fortuitously, early onset of Influenza B this past fall may be less deadly than its more counterpart, Influenza A (H1N1), which is the same general strain that caused the deadly pandemic a century ago. I suppose this means more flu victims, yet fewer fatalities traced to these virulent microbes. TIME reminded me that Influenza A can also affect animals, which may contribute to virulent spreads.

As a temporal frame of reference, as bad as this winter flu season may be, we thankfully will not approach that trans-continental epidemic of the 1918 Spanish Influenza which clobbered half a billion folks (1/3 of the world population)!  Mortality linked to that H1N1 influenza (flu) viruses sadly equated to 3%-5% of the global population. Yikes! And this “avian” microbe triggered high mortality rates for otherwise healthy adults (aged 20-40), such as U.S. “doughboys.” Our country buried ½ million flu victims in 1918-1919. As our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts share, this sharply lowered the overall US life expectancy by twelve (12!) years. Then, there were no vaccines of any merit, and no antibiotics to address secondary bacterial infections which often occurred in weakened hosts. Isolation, quarantine, and prayer were responses for those infected. Time-machine…

Oh, that KaBoomers and Novo-viruses would never meet today or tomorrow!  Likewise, for young ones, people with immunity gaps or chronic conditions, and old folks [many with chronic conditions] who seem to take these infections the worst of all age groups in our modern times.

 

How persistent are these pesky microbes, and what are the main vector paths for those of us who get invaded? And importantly – can we outwit these oppressive microbes? Health.com’s January-February edition of Men’s Health offers “knowledge as power” to better our out-thinking chances against ‘em.

This source advises that influenza, as an airborne pathogen, survives for an hour before landing on a hard surface.  After landing, the pathogen can survive for another ~ 8 hours. This is one reason for serious handwashing (for as long as it takes you to sing two rounds of Happy Birthday), and to cough into an elbow as a “vampire” cough… Hand towels? Those remain buggy for a couple hours. Oy!

Here are other valid defenses to avoid, or to minimize invasion attempts of influenza. Everyday preventative actions:

  • Physical scrubbing of hands is the best as a first response. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and wipes are a second defensive measure.
  • Location, location, location! Influenza is transmitted via airborne droplets and surface contacts more in your pantry or kitchen than in a bathroom environment! Remember: hand/mouth links are significant, so wash hands well after touching an office’s or home kitchen’s coffee pot handle.
  • Cell phones! These indispensable devices may have order-of-magnitude greater microbe concentrations than “most” toilet seats.  10-fold! Dr. Germ (Charles Gerba) reminds us that you get a double whammy when you use your cell phone in the bathroom!!
    • In the bathroom, one can use clean paper towels when touching common fixtures like faucets or handles.
  • Sharing water bottles.
  • Most definitely use high heat and long drying cycles for dryers to dispense with bugs in washed clothing.
  • Wipe the gym equipment thoroughly.

 

Transmission Paths: I don’t know when or how a bird passed influenza A (H1N1) directly or indirectly to its first human host. These nasty viruses spread from others’ coughs, sneezes, or spoken paths when droplets with viral matter (aka nanoscopic pathogens) make their way into our own mouths and/or noses. Handshakes and other physical contacts (even your knuckle after pressing ATM keys) are invasion routes too. Hand-to-mouth, so NO nail-biting! Our eyes possibly are lesser probability entry points too, as these organs do not have the physical defense semi-barriers that our noses and mouths do.

Incubation Time after infection?  About 24 -48 hours of microbe incubation before someone feels sick.  I generally note dry and watering eyes as my first notification of invasion… Then, 5-7 days of viral discomfort to repulse the invasion (or worse if secondary bacterial infections arise). Note: “Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others” for a week after encountering the virus.

And we face regular, yet guessing game influenza challenges every year…

Can flu (influenza strain) vaccinations help avoid or minimize effects on our lungs, noses, and throats??  My layman vote and voice is a conditional YES.  I selfishly do not want to be one of America’s 15-25 million flu sufferers this year, or any year! Our CDC estimates that annual influenza symptomatic occurrences hit ~ 3-11% of our total U.S.A. population.

 

Influenza.com offers that vaccinations are “associated with a 44% reduction in all-cause mortality” for people aged 65 and older (like me). Why only ~ half of us older folks get vaccinated is beyond my grasp of understanding.  AS quoted from influenza.com, “older adults need better protection.”

 

Chronic causes which exacerbate flu effects, and notably bump hospitalization rates, are diabetes, COPD, pneumonia, strokes, and kidney disease. Having had pneumonia twice, and being of Medicare age, I don’t want to roll the dice in my own guessing game for this year’s “viral variant.” We are blessed that modern medicine offers post-invasion ant-viral prescriptions to situationally minimize the effects of invasion, such as Tamiflu. Yet these after-effect prescriptions can be costly for some folks.

 

Possible mild to severe effects of any influenza variant include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Muscle, joint or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • (Possible) vomiting or diarrhea

Reference:  CDC.gov/flu

 

At least we live in 2020, not 1918!  Then, those were SEVERE effects.

With our relatively good fortunes acknowledged for medical advances and “strange” shifts of viral prevalence, we can and should be smart and sanitary.  These little buggers were around long before we evolved.  As an important sidebar, we know that over-prescription of antibiotics for common colds and secondary infections can possibly lead to “super-bug” Darwinian pathogens. (I hope we can hold super-bugs at arms’ length for a very, very long time with communicable disease control and prudent prescriptions.)

 

Hmmm – why do some folks “always seem to” avoid FLU effects, even if viral microbes enter their bodies?  Good query.  There certainly are subjective aspects, like how often a person is stuck in closed environments (airplanes) or spending time in colder climate air conditioning systems for offices and homes.  Mo Rocca in his MoBituary podcast (Feb. 21, 2019), offered that those of us with higher “Neanderthal” DNA content may just benefit from slightly better immune systems. Honest.

It is a reasonably safe wager to suggest that at least “some” of these never get cold or flu folks are lucky.

In 2011, NBCnews.com reported that “everyone who is exposed to the flu IS affected by it…but their bodies just have a different way of reacting to it.” For people who were given influenza in a study, yet who didn’t symptomatically suffer; researchers found “differences in their biological metabolism and gene expression. These differences had to do with antioxidants.”

Another interesting (albeit small) research study, completed in 2013 as reported by NBCNEWS.com, suggested that at white blood cells’ cellular levels, “shorter” DNA caps, or TELOMERES, don’t work as well as part of our immune system.  These blood-based biomarkers don’t copy like longer, healthier TELOMERES to fend off viral inflammations as best as they might. Wow! “Beginning at age 22 (in the study participants), telomere length started to predict whether they’d develop infections.”

Perhaps Grandma was right?  Mine was 😊

Right!  Do not hang around sick people when you can avoid contact and do strive to keep your general health.  Load up on Vitamin P (fruits and vegetables).  Load up on Vitamin Z (restorative sleep). Don’t over-train in your otherwise important workouts.  Hydrate! Do not create excess inflammation from encountered stress or life’s dealings. Do not get too chilled.

And wash your paws vigorously.

As a KaBoomer Koach, I strive to be sanitary to minimize my own chances of invasion, and to also minimize my chances of unwittingly “helping” other invasions get started. I hope that I’m doing a good job, because I may not know that a flu pathogen is lurking inside…

 

Be very well and win your battles against microbial invasions,

df

 

Be an outlier! Keep healthy habits past National Quitters’ Day

National Quitters Day, January 19th, 2020 concluded yesterday.

STRAVA, a “go to” fitness application, has an inarguably ample Infobase of 48 million folks from which to make its annual marker for this national No Mas day. 

Should you believe that good habits- like wellness and lifestyle habits- take at least 21 days to take hold, this “drop” day in mid-January seems viable for anyone who couldn’t sustain his or her activity since their New Year’s Day resolution.   [Sadly, most New Year’s Day resolutions are early winter casualties 🙁 ]

Disturbing? Possibly.  Just human nature? Possibly.  Should you allow yourself to become a No Mas casualty this year or any year when New Year’s resolutions fail?  Absolutely not.

I disdain resolutions because many folks’ best intentions to resolve something in this New Year are ill-planned, or possibly disingenuous for true commitment. I love habits that are founded on clear planning and conscientious execution.

  • What are your Koach’s suggestions to be an outlier and a non-casualty of Quitter’s Day?

√ Do or do not, there is no try for a Jedi.

√ Find an enforcer to gently needle you to stay the course.

√ Document your plan, and definitely record your achievements to enable habits.

√ Make your planned achievements specific, measurable, realistic and attainable.  Be success-focused!

Whether your habit is focused on clean eating, or miles covered, or poundage lifted, remember Yoda’s challenge.  My Dad was a rather puritanical New Englander. He reminded me that the road to perdition was filled with good intentions.

Avoid that hellish roadway, and shift to good actions.

 

Be well and sustain habits to live longer and better! There is no quit in a KaBoomer.

 

df

 

Quiet Down Liver – you’re fine. Aren’t You?

Like you, I heard and read online Lotsa plugs and promos through our 12 days of Christmas about DE-TOX’ING. Right; those hyped and too-good-to-be-true cleanses … Just drink this and presto chango … My quieted liver and I am healed. Just like that. Or conversely:

“Detox has become a seriously watered-down term because of the many over-hyped products that are peddled in its name–from juice cleanses to infomercial footpads.”

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-sweat/science-backed-detox/

 

A personal observation today from my venture to a discount retail store for a winter hoodie; I saw a packet of miracle tea with its 28-day liver detox regimen. I’m not too confident there was real magic inside. I wasn’t interested in a purchase 😊

I agree with one metric in many of these awesome DETOX claims we often see and hear.

That is, countering environmental damage to our bodies requires our investment of time and change. Countering accumulative damage from 1. proximity to highways, 2, our industrial age processes, 3. dental amalgam fillings, 4.  diets of convenience with relatively poor quality for liver health takes time – as in weeks. Good things like changed habits can make liver life livelier.

T O X I C

Toxic sounds ominous- yes!? Synonyms for Toxic include:

Noxious

Poisonous

Deadly

Pestilential

Damaging

Harmful

Dangerous

Again, for emphases: 3 root causes of what ails us in our modern maturity lives are toxic:

1 Environmental pollutant(s)

2 Dental fillings

3 Plastics.

Long-term effects of these root causes = big burdens placed on our amazing multi-tasked Livers (hence this blog title).

What’s a one-word natural antidote for liver stressors?

Glutathione.

Though not intended to be a Glutathione-centric post, let’s give critical credit where it due:

  • studies indicate that cellular glutathione levels can even predict an individual’s life expectancy.

Shucks! Glutathione levels decrease with age, as our body’s production slows and as liver stressors add up. In fact, various environmental and lifestyle factors can speed up this diminishing process, including toxins, stress, and diet.

Double duh … Due to its varied and key uses in our bodies, none of us should allow our glutathione levels to fall too low. Glutathione deficiency can cause damage possibly leading to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer (6).

Ref: healthtrends article by P.Trezik 10/10/2019

“oxidative stress or toxic load may be more than your body’s current capacity to synthesize sufficient levels of glutathione or other underlying reasons for lower glutathione levels, such as poor nutrition or chronic stress.”

htps://www.deannaminich.com/ways-to-boost-your-glutathione-levels-for-optimal-health/

Here’s a chemical model of this internally-synthesized molecule:

 

Glutathione

Note:

This molecule loves to bond to metals which it contacts – hence the anti-toxin role of glutathione!

Three amino acid components which our bodies synthesize into Glutathione are a. glycine, b. cysteine, and c. glutamic acid.  Adequate levels of all 3 are needed for glutathione production, and all 3 can be made by our bodies (they are not “ESSENTIAL” amino acids, though they are vital!). Darn! Production of non-essential amino acids gets tougher as most of us get older. Yet we can and must eat clean as we get older (not old!).

Ten Natural edibles which serve as liver detox supporters are:

  1. Garlic. “Eating garlic helps activate the liver detox enzymes”
  2. Quality Green Tea
  • Curcumin (the key element in turmeric spice)
  1. Beets
  2. Organic apples
  3. Broccoli sprouts
  • Watermelon
  • Fermented foods
  1. Walnuts
  2. Avocado.

Dr. Glenn Rothfield, MD, also mentions milk thistle and chlorella (algae!) as supplements which can possibly help our livers.

Do I currently take “trusted” third-party tested supplements of chlorella, milk thistle, or glutathione? No I don’t. Might I?  Yes!

Do I try to eat clean with as many of these ten plant-based liver helpers?  You betcha! I view these ten as healthy and affordable antidotes to poisons we face. One minor point – I take green tea pills which I trust inside of drinking it as a personal choice.

AND do I engage in what https://www.wellandgood.com/good-sweat/science-backed-detox/ calls, “THE SCIENCE-BACKED WAY TO DETOX THAT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT.”

That WAY is a word that starts and ends with the letter “E” Exercise – enough to SWEAT.

Or one can bathe in a warm tub or take advantage of a relaxing sauna.  Just watch out for Brutus. Why? Our pores capably support our system’s waste disposal of metals like mercury and arsenic which we may have ingested or absorbed through our skin contact over time. Sweat enough and bye-bye toxins. Just don’t sit around in sweaty athletic attire as your skin may re-absorb some of the exited toxins!

Other lifestyle habits which support non-hyped and science-based detoxification are:

Limit or cease ingesting/inhaling noxious or potentially deadly “things”

  • Big fish like swordfish, shark, some tunas (at top of the marine food chain) retain mercury. As much as some of us love these fish, we shouldn’t exceed healthy metal limits of 1x per week.
  • Use ceramics vice metal amalgam for dental fillings you need or possibly replace existing metallic fillings with non-metallic ones.
  • Use glass or non-plastic containers in a microwave oven.
  • Duh – limit extended exposure to toxic work site or proximate living spaces because:

“long term exposure of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants may play an important role in liver physiology of the inhabitant population living near the polluted sites.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4395329/

Yes, this was a long article.  Yet our liver health and overall health should be

enabled by:

√ Getting away from “man-made” toxins as best we can

√ Optimizing bodily generation of critical glutathione (or supplement!)

√ Sweating from exercise or warm ablutions.

Yes, you and I can help our vital livers “quiet down.”

Be well,

df