Daily Quote


You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.

-Paulo Coelho

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Quote of the day


It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.

-Bruce Lee

Bulking Up, where to start


There are a lot of articles and advice out there about losing weight and cutting down but what if you have the opposite intentions, bulking up is in my opinion just as difficult if not more.

I have put a few tips below to help out, let me know what you think

1. Eat more

If you want to gain more muscle then you need to up your calorie intake, which means eating more. If you aren’t consuming more calories than you are burning throughout the day, you won’t be able to put on any muscle. Your diet should be made up of nutritious, unprocessed foods that are rich in complex carbs, protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and important nutrients needed for muscle growth, energy production and good health. Steer away from processed, sugary and fatty foods that will only mess with your blood sugar levels and promote fat gain.

2. Increase your protein intake

Protein is essential for providing your body with amino acids, which are vital for building and repairing muscles. Have some good quality protein with each meal and with snacks. Having protein with each meal and with snacks will help increase amino acid levels to optimize muscle growth. Choose healthy, lean protein choices such as lean meat, chicken, eggs, fish, legumes and low-fat dairy foods. Healthy protein-rich snacks include nuts and seeds, quinoa, yoghurt, muesli and protein bars and balls, and hummus with wholegrain crackers.

3. Protein powders are a great way to boost your protein intake

There are lots of different protein powders the market. If you find whey-based protein powders difficult to digest, and you suffer from bloating and gas when you consume them, go for a brown-rice-based protein powder instead, that is still a fantastic protein source without the tummy upset. You don’t need to go overboard with protein either as excessive amounts of protein can put you at risk of putting on fat.

4. Don’t forget to have some complex carbs with each meal

You need carbohydrates for energy, and to fuel your muscles when you train to stimulate muscle growth. Choose complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, whole oats, grainy breads and root vegies like sweet potato. These types of carbs will supply you with sustained energy.

5. Eat 5-6 smaller meals

Eating 5-6 smaller means throughout the day ensures that your body is getting a good constant supply of fuel and amino acids to build and repair muscles. Having a protein shake (that also contains some carbohydrates) around 30 to 60 minutes after weight training will help encourage muscle development by upping the production of anabolic hormones. Protein fruit smoothies are another healthy post-workout snack, made with healthy ingredients like low-fat milk, banana, berries, chia seeds, yogurt and protein powder.

With all the above I would also recommend a resistance training program to get those muscles moving.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.

Which supplement may help with cold and flu?


I was thinking the other day if there were any supplements worth looking at and trying out during this winter season. The following excerpt was taken from Kamal over at http://www.examine.com which I thought was an interesting read and worth sharing, let me know if you have tried any of these.

Here goes

 

Colds suck, and the flu is worse. So the million-dollar question is: are there supplements that actually work to ward off an infection or lessen its symptoms?

Echinacea

Taken daily, echinacea might reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections:[1] examining the trials reveals a positive but statistically insignificant trend.[2]

Echinacea has the potential to interact with medications, particularly immunosuppressive drugs. Consult with your doctor before you consider trying this supplement.

Echinacea might reduce the risk and duration of upper respiratory infections, but the studies don’t all agree.

Elderberry

Elderberry is known for its antioxidant properties, and in one randomized trial, an elderberry extract reduced the duration and severity of colds more than did placebo.[3] A few human trials have also shown elderberry to reduce the symptoms of the flu,[4] but here the evidence is weakened by small sample sizes and, in some cases, low methodological quality.

Due to the small number of studies, both the efficacy and safety of elderberry are still in doubt.[5]Should you choose to prepare elderberry juice yourself, rather than to purchase a supplement, remember that the berries must be properly cooked, since they can otherwise cause nausea or, worse, cyanide toxicity. Only ever use the berries — the rest of the plant is poisonous and should not be consumed in any form.

Elderberry is a promising but understudied supplement: it may reduce the symptoms of the cold and flu, but the evidence is still preliminary. Beware: the plant is poisonous, and even the berries can be dangerous if not prepared properly.

Glutamine

We know that the human body needs more glutamine when it gets sick, and we suspect that decreased concentrations of glutamine brought about by long exercise periods can suppress immunological functions.[6] What we don’t know is if glutamine supplementation can help fight off either the flu or the common cold.

Glutamine can support immune functions in periods of critical illness, but its effects on the common cold are not well understood. Preliminary evidence suggests that supplementation is more likely to benefit people who participate in prolonged cardiovascular exercise, such as ultra-marathons.

Pelargonium Sidoides

Pelargonium sidoides contains prodelphinidins — tannins that can help prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the throat and lungs. Pelargonium sidoides doesn’t seem to ward off colds, but it may be able to reduce their duration and severity.[7][8]

Pelargonium sidoides seems to reduce the duration and severity of colds, but the evidence is still preliminary.

Probiotics

Various probiotics have been shown to interact with immune system cells,[9] yet the evidence for their use in cold prevention is mixed.[10]

Certain probiotics might help prevent upper respiratory infections in athletes,[11] children,[12] and the elderly,[13] but much of the evidence is of low or very low quality. Higher-quality trials are needed to determine if taking probiotics can really help fight infections — and if yes, which strains should be taken.

Probiotics might help prevent infections of the upper respiratory tract, but the evidence is still too weak to recommend their use.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is marketed as the go-to supplement for preventing and treating colds.

Mechanistically, it makes sense: vitamin C helps immune cells form and function properly, and also supports our physical barriers against pathogens.[14] Moreover, at least 148 studies have found that vitamin C administration helps prevent infections caused by microorganisms.[15]

Yet, the question remains: does supplementation in humans help ward off colds? A recent meta-analysis tried to answer this question,[16] and here are the takeaways:

  • People who start taking vitamin C when they already have a cold don’t see any benefit. Some studies suggest that very high doses (several grams) might reduce the duration of colds, but more studies are needed for confirmation.
  • People who take vitamin C regularly can expect shorter colds (by 8% in adults and 14% in children) with slightly less severe symptoms.
  • Athletes who take vitamin C regularly are half as likely to catch a cold as athletes who don’t. Only people who “perform regular or acute bouts of intense exercise” seem to enjoy this benefit.

    Vitamin C can reduce the duration of colds (and even help ward them off, if you’re an athlete), but only if you’ve been supplementing regularly. If you start when you’re sick, it’s too late.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D receptors are found throughout the body, and vitamin D is involved in many cellular processes, so it should come as no surprise that a deficiency can impair immunity.

Epidemiological studies show an association between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of viral infections of the upper respiratory tract (URT). According to a 2017 systematic review of randomized trials and meta-analyses, taking vitamin D could help prevent asthma symptoms as well as URT infections.[17] In a randomized trial whose results were published the same year, the incidence and duration of URT viral infections were the same for children taking 400 IU/day and for children taking 2000 IU/day.[18]

Vitamin D serves many functions in the body, and a deficiency seems to impair immunity. Large systematic reviews have found that supplementation can help prevent upper respiratory infections.

Zinc

Zinc plays many roles in the body — including several in the immune system alone. If you easily catch colds, make sure your diet provides you with enough zinc. Athletes and other people who sweat a lot are at greater risk of zinc insufficiency, but taking too much zinc is aso a risk, so be careful.

Zinc lozenges can reduce the duration of the common cold when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset.[19] They can limit virus replication at the nasal epithelium and may reduce respiratory tract inflammation. Lozenges with zinc acetate may be more effective than lozenges with zinc gluconate (a more common form), but the trials are few, and a recent meta-analysis doesn’t show a clear difference.[20]

Zinc lozenges can cause nausea and dysgeusia (a change in taste perception), but those symptoms stop when supplementation stops.[19] In addition to nausea and dysgeusia, zinc nasal sprays can cause anosmia,[21] and this loss of smell perception may persist after supplementation has stopped. For that reason, and because the sprays have not been shown to be more effective than the lozenges, the sprays are not recommended.

Taking zinc lozenges throughout the day, starting from the very first symptoms of a cold, may reduce the duration of the illness, but supplementation should not exceed 100 mg of zinc per day for a week. Since zinc nasal sprays might cause a lingering loss in smell perception, they’re better avoided.

Recommendations

Reaching for a supplement or two can seem like a quick and simple way to defend yourself against the cold and flu. Be it for prevention or treatment, however, even taking the best supplements won’t help as much as …

  • Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet,
  • Sleeping enough and managing stress,
  • Staying away from sick people as much as possible, and
  • Washing your hands, especially before touching your face.

So, as always, choose efficacious supplements to complement your healthy habits — not to make up for a lifestyle that predisposes you to getting sick.

 

 

References

  1. Shah SA, et al. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis . Lancet Infect Dis. (2007)
  2. Karsch-Völk M, et al. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2014)
  3. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial . Nutrients. (2016)
  4. Ulbricht C, et al. An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration . J Diet Suppl. (2014)
  5. Holst L, Havnen GC, Nordeng H. Echinacea and elderberry-should they be used against upper respiratory tract infections during pregnancy? . Front Pharmacol. (2014)
  6. Parry-Billings M, et al. Plasma amino acid concentrations in the overtraining syndrome: possible effects on the immune system . Med Sci Sports Exerc. (1992)
  7. Fashner J, Ericson K, Werner S. Treatment of the common cold in children and adults . Am Fam Physician. (2012)
  8. Lizogub VG, Riley DS, Heger M. Efficacy of a pelargonium sidoides preparation in patients with the common cold: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial . Explore (NY). (2007)
  9. Meng H, et al. Consumption of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12 impacts upper respiratory tract infection and the function of NK and T cells in healthy adults . Mol Nutr Food Res. (2016)
  10. Braga VL, et al. What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about probiotics as preventive interventions? . Sao Paulo Med J. (2017)
  11. Strasser B, et al. Probiotic Supplements Beneficially Affect Tryptophan-Kynurenine Metabolism and Reduce the Incidence of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Trained Athletes: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial . Nutrients. (2016)
  12. Wang Y, et al. Probiotics for prevention and treatment of respiratory tract infections in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials . Medicine (Baltimore). (2016)
  13. Pu F, et al. Yogurt supplemented with probiotics can protect the healthy elderly from respiratory infections: A randomized controlled open-label trial . Clin Interv Aging. (2017)
  14. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function . Nutrients. (2017)
  15. Hemilä H. Vitamin C and Infections . Nutrients. (2017)
  16. Hemilä H, Chalker E. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2013)
  17. Autier P, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on non-skeletal disorders: a systematic review of meta-analyses and randomised trials . Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. (2017)
  18. Aglipay M, et al. Effect of High-Dose vs Standard-Dose Wintertime Vitamin D Supplementation on Viral Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Young Healthy ChildrenJAMA. (2017)
  19. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold . Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2013)
  20. Hemilä H. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage . JRSM Open. (2017)
  21. Alexander TH, Davidson TM. Intranasal zinc and anosmia: the zinc-induced anosmia syndrome . Laryngoscope. (2006)