Tagged with 'Energy Boost'

Probiotics May Make You Happy!

  By David Perlmutter, M.D.   You’ve heard of the term probiotics and likely prebiotics as well, but now we are hearing about what are called, “psychobiotics.” These have been defined as “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness”. That’s a pretty impressive new term, and claim for that matter. But the reason that scientists have developed this terminology is because new research clearly demonstrates that certain probiotic organisms have a dramatic effect in terms of regulating mood. In recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials, it has been demonstrated that people taking a combination of two fairly common probiotic bacteria, including lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium longum, had a dramatic reduction in their level of psychological stress as compared to people given a placebo. In addition, researchers demonstrated that the level of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone”, was much lower in those receiving these probiotics as opposed to those who received placebo. We know that certain probiotic bacteria have an effect on the level of various neurotransmitters that can affect mood, like serotonin and dopamine. In addition, inflammation is a cornerstone of depression, and current research clearly identifies the stability of the bowel lining as a regulator of inflammation throughout the body. This stability is regulated to a significant degree by the level of good bacteria living within the intestines. These are just two proposed mechanisms whereby specific probiotic bacteria can affect mood. That said, well beyond just the idea of intervening with probiotic supplements as an attempt to help with mood, an important take-home message from this research should be that we should do everything we can to preserve and protect our gut bacteria today by reassessing our food and medication choices, as well as various other lifestyle factors like sleep, stress and exercise. It makes sense that if we compromise the levels of these and other probiotic bacterial species within us, it may well pave the way for debilitating mood disorders.   References: https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/probiotics-may-make-happy/

The Lowdown on Getting Up for Your Workout: 8 Keys to the Perfect Pre-Workout Drink

Pre-Workout supplementation has been one of the hottest categories in supplementation for more than a decade. and with good reason. Getting effectively motivated with the ideal nutrients before your workout can mean the difference between success and failure. Selecting a great pre-workout supplement can be a daunting task and isn’t for the faint of heart. There are literally dozens of selections out there, for every gym rat you ask you’re likely to get a different answer from each one. Here we’ll breakdown the elements that make up a great pre-workout supplement so you can make an informed decision. Caffeine Pre-workout supplements give you a pretty huge advantage in the gym for a few reasons. First and foremost, they work on motivation and energy. Typically, not unlike an energy drink, the main ingredient is tried and true caffeine (methylxanthine). Whether it comes from a coffee, a caffeine pill or in the form of a pre-workout supp, this ingredient is a potent one that provides a long list of benefits. Most importantly to your workout is its ability to stimulate your brain to get you motivated. Aside from waking you up and giving you mental energy, it has the effect of reducing your perception of exertion. Simply put, you’ll push harder because the weight actually feels less heavy than it normally would. The result – you’ll simply get more out of your workout, you’ll lift more, run harder and go longer. This is why (at least for a time) caffeine in elevated amounts was considered to be a banned performance-enhancing substance. 1-3, Dimethylamylamine or DMA In the last few years, there have been additional stimulants introduced to further enhance this effect. They, like caffeine, work on increasing the secretion of norepinephrine (NE) by the adrenal glands. One of the most contentious of these is called 1-3, Dimethylamylamine or DMA for short. This ingredient is a chemical that was said to have come from Geranium extract, but this has been scientifically challenged scientifically both for and against. It has since been declared illegal in many countries and banned by certain sports organizations like WADA. Hordenine, Synephrine and Octopamine There are other key ingredients that you can rely on to provide a very similar stimulant action, Hordenine, Synephrine and Octopamine. All of these exert very similar stimulant actions and complement caffeine very nicely. Naringin is an ideal addition, as it extends the action of the stimulants by reducing the rate at which your body breaks them down. This increases the activity time of the stimulant and improves their effect. Yohimbine The one stimulant that is unique to the others and highly effective is Yohimbine. Unfortunately, this ingredient in illegal in Canada, but is very popular in US formulations. The advantage with this ingredient is that it is known to increase blood flow and act on specific fat receptors in the buttocks and thighs, generally lowering body fat. In terms of pre-workout supplementation, it produces a strong stimulant effect that tends to work well in conjunction with caffeine. Aside from the stimulant effect so important to getting your head in the game, the elevation of norepinephrine also has a strong fat-burning effect. So, in addition to getting the mental focus and motivation critical to getting a good workout, you will simultaneously burn more fat. The mechanism of action is a liberation of stored fat in the form of long-chain fatty acids that can be burned by the body to produce energy. L-Carnitine The addition of L-Carnitine to your pre-workout supplement is an ideal complement to your pre-workout stack, but it should be taken between an hour and 30 minutes before you train (whereas your pre-workout absorbs very quickly and should be taken right before you train.) L-Carnitine in the body transports the long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) into the cell where the mitochondria burn the LCFA as energy. It is well known that mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, but less well known is how the supplementation of L-Carnitine supports this process. Arginine Arginine is a primary component of most of these pre-workout supplements, and for good reason. It has been a standard in medicine for increasing nitric oxide in cardiac patients for decades. Nitric oxide (NO) relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow. One of the keys to Arginine is uptake and absorption. This is why you will often see blends of varied forms of Arginine to ensure that your body actually uses the Arginine for NO production. Another key factor of Arginine that is lesser known is its ability to help stimulate the release of growth hormone. Arginine also happens to be one of the substrates that your body uses to endogenously make Creatine. Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng and Citrulline Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng and Citrulline are top favorites and worth having in any pre-workout supplement – Ginkg ...

6 Ways To Elevate Your Smoothie Game

Smoothies have long been a part of my day. If I don’t blend one up for breakfast, I’m usually whipping one up to fight that 3PM slump. The smoothies I make typically need to be quick and easy.  Here are six things I’ve been doing lately to make my smoothie game strong. 1. One Glass Don’t dirty five cups to make one smoothie. Lately I’ve been drinking my smoothie right out of the glass I use to measure ingredients. Mason jars make great measuring cups, allowing you to precisely measure out liquids thanks to the measurement lines marked on the side. Or, use your blender for everything! Most blenders have cup measurements on the side and I find “handfuls” are pretty good measurements when trying to eyeball 1/2 cup berries or 1 cup baby spinach. Take it one step further by throwing a straw into the blender container and drinking straight from the source! 2. Waste Not Have some leftover coffee in the pot, two spoonfuls of pumpkin left in the can, or just three sips of almond milk left in the container? Pour or place leftover ingredients into ice cube trays or muffin tins. When you’ve got a hankering for a mocha smoothie (or whatever flavor is calling your name), grab your frozen cubes, add the rest of your ingredients and you’re good to go! 3. Make Smoothie Pops Do you ever have that annoying ½ cup smoothie left in the bottom of the blender that doesn’t fit into your to-go mug? You could take a big gulp before rushing out the door, BUT alternatively why not pour leftovers into ice pop molds? You’ll have a cool, sweet treat waiting for you (or your kids) for another time of day. 4. Make Smoothie Packs Carve out a few extra minutes of meal prep on Sundays to prepare some smoothie packs for the week. Measure out fruit and Vega® plant-based protein powder and place into single bags (or even the Mason jar you plan to drink the smoothie from!). In the morning, toss into the blender with your favorite liquid and Vega protein powder and blend. 5. Freeze Smoothie Ice Cubes If you love thick creamy smoothies, try shaking a scoop of Vega powder with non-dairy milk and pouring into ice cube molds. For an evening when you’re craving a thick chocolate shake (or any time of day) place cubes in a blender with frozen banana and some more non-dairy milk and blend until creamy. 6. Save Overripe Foods If you’re preparing to leave for a trip, or maybe you’ve just returned, or you just went overboard on your last grocery trip, don’t throw away fruits and vegetables that you just can’t finish before they wilt away. You can freeze everything from brown bananas, to wilting greens, to very soft avocados. Even steamed cauliflower! Stash all in freezer friendly containers to add to smoothies. PS. Avocados and steamed cauliflower take smoothie creaminess to the next level – trust me! On days that I feel just so busy even taking minutes to blend a smoothie—even with these hacks—feels impossible, I reach for Vega® Protein+ Shake* as I run out the door. What are some of your go-to tips and tricks for blending up the perfect smoothie every time? Reference: https://myvega.com/blog/smoothie-hacks/

Avoiding the Afternoon Slump: Maca, the Caffeine-Free Alternative.

The mid-afternoon slump. It can hit you when you least expect it. It often sets in when you still have a long way to go on your work and home “to do” lists for the day. In those moments, it’s so tempting to reach for that second (or third) cup of coffee to give you the energy you crave. What if you could find a caffeine-free alternative to increase vitality and optimize your natural energy levels?* Look no further than the high Andes mountains of Peru, where you’ll find Maca growing more than 12,000 feet above sea level. Fortunately, you don’t have toactually travel to South America to be able to enjoy the benefits of the highest altitude crop in the world! Maca has been consumed for 3000 years, and is an adaptable plant that demonstrates an amazing ability to adjust to extreme climates.* Interestingly, when Maca root is ingested by humans, we actually refer to it as an “adaptogen”, meaning it helps with our adaptability to the demands of stress*. In the world of botanical medicine, we often see this direct parallel between a plant’s growing strategies in the nature, and its beneficial qualities in humans. MegaFood has created two unique formulations where Maca plays a starring role. In Daily Maca Plus for Women Over 40, Maca teams up with other botanicals, including Ashwagandha, a renowned Ayurvedic plant that helps promote a healthy stress response.* Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen, and is an excellent herb for supporting balanced energy levels when taken on a daily basis.* The addition of Chaste Tree Berry and Black Cohosh in this women’s blend help to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.* Daily Maca Plus for Men Over 40 features different botanicals that complement Maca to promote strength and vitality for men.* Saw Palmetto and Nettle Root support healthy prostate and urinary tract function.* Reishi mushroom, also referred to as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in traditional Chinese Medicine, is best known for its role in promoting healthy aging.* With these two MegaFood Nutrient Booster Powder blends, you can bring gender-specific energy and stress support directly into your daily routine.* Please note:  while these blends are designed for the Over 40 Crowd, younger adults can still enjoy them, too! Each one offers a caffeine-free daily boost, and just might help you wave good-bye to the afternoon slump.* Simply add a scoop to your favorite smoothie, or try one of the following delicious recipes! This article is provided to you by Mega food blog. 

Best Under the Weather Foods

Best Under the Weather Foods Coughs, colds, and flu are rife at this time of year, thanks to the sharing of germs at school, more time spent in close quarters indoors, and on packed public transit. When we’re sick it can be a real challenge to eat anything at all, but sticking to regular meal times and even increasing your intake of calories can be helpful in fighting off an infection. This is because your body uses up more energy when you’re unwell, especially if you have a fever. Skipping meals could leave you more susceptible to infections and increase the duration of sickness, so if you’re feeling under the weather, make sure you have plenty of the following foods on hand to help you get back to feeling like yourself in no time:

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Beyond Caffeine and Coffee: How to Boost Your Energy

There are dozens of reasons why you may be tired. In many cases, there is a clear answer as to why; maybe you’ve been running on 4 hours of sleep each night of the week, you’ve been working 12-hour days for the past month, or you have a 3-month old newborn (you get the picture). But sometimes the reason is not so clear. Despite eating well, getting high quality sleep and exercising regularly, you seem to be dragging on. So the classic solution, yet often the incorrect solution, is to seek the nervous system stimulant caffeine by drinking coffee…and more coffee and more coffee. For the record, I am not inherently opposed to coffee. There is actually quite a lot of positive research supporting the consumption of coffee for various health concerns (including prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and various cancers). The problem arises when we drink 3-4 coffees per day just to get by. In other words, relying on coffee is not a great sign of health, whereas having a daily coffee for recreation is okay and may actually be beneficial for our health (Sidenote: the creams and sugars are not beneficial for our health, and there are illnesses that are better managed when coffee is removed from the equation, but these are both separate issues). So what do we do when we notice that we need coffee just to get through the day or when even our three XL-sized timmie’s aren’t giving us that energy boost? First and foremost, if you’re not doing all of those healthy things that I mentioned before (eating vegetables, sleeping 7-8 hours per night, getting 20 minutes of exercise per day, etc.), then that is the first and most important step toward boosting energy. All of those basics provide your body with nutrients important for energy and they also regulate hormones (cortisol, melatonin, thyroid, etc.) that drastically affect mood and energy. At the same time, you need to see your doctor and have labs done to determine your iron, vitamin B12, and thyroid hormone levels. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients and/or hormones are very common causes for fatigue if they have gone undiagnosed. As an FYI, a “normal” lab result for one person may be abnormal for another person. Thyroid hormone tests only assess a portion of the equation and they tend to leave out the possibility of impaired peripheral conversion or activation. In these scenarios, certain nutrients like zinc or selenium may be helpful. Assuming you have ruled out the possibility of these concerns with your doctor, consider a deficiency of all B-vitamins. Many B-vitamins are depleted through poor nutrition and stress. These deficiencies may also be present as a result of conversion issues from common B-vitamin forms to their biologically active forms. For example, B6 is commonly supplemented in the form of pyridoxine HCl but it is actually used in the body as pyridoxal-5-phosphate. If your body cannot convert to this active form, it can’t use the vitamin in numerous cellular activities. If your energy is low, a high-quality, biologically active B-vitamin complex can do wonders. Next, it’s time to look at your stress and cortisol levels. What often happens is that we push ourselves so hard to stay on track and keep up with the demands of everyday life. Our bodies can only hang on so long until they finally crash. Cortisol (aka our “stress hormone”) is great at getting us through an acutely stressful situation, but with chronic stress it eventually flatlines. This is where many adaptogen herbs (“adaptogen” is the term for herbs that help our bodies “adapt” to stress) and nutrients can target this low or imbalanced cortisol level. Panax ginseng is a well-known adaptogen for boosting energy, improving physical performance and improving mental performance under times of stress. AOR has combined this herb with potassium nitrate (to increase nitric oxide production) in EnergyNOx for improved delivery to the tissues. As another option, Rhodiola rosea has very similar and well-documented benefits to those of Panax ginseng. For the very depleted individuals, AOR’s Ortho Adapt has been formulated with a variety of adaptogenic herbs, vitamins and glandular extracts to improve cortisol levels and boost energy in the face of stress. With herbs like Rhodiola rosea, Eleutherococcus senticosus (siberian ginseng) and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root), it also acts as an anti-microbial and blood sugar regulating aid. Ortho Adapt is AOR’s most powerful energy booster in cases of cortisol depletion. Lastly, nutrients such as ribose, aspartic acid and malic acid can also be considered when trying to remedy fatigue due to an unknown cause. These nutrients are involved on a cellular level in the production of ATP, the main energy molecule in the human body. They have been found to ...