NSAIDs After Exercise May Cause Celiac-Like Leaky Gut

NSAIDs and leaky gut syndromeOver the past few years I have read innumerable blog posts and articles identifying inflammation as a root cause for a variety of chronic diseases.  Consider this passage written by author and Yahoo Health blogger Lisa Collier Cool:

In a medical version of the “unified field” theory in physics, many scientists now believe that most—or perhaps all—chronic diseases may have the same trigger: inflammation. This fiery process has been linked to everything from heart attacks and strokes to type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.

Chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation—fueled by such disorders as excessive belly fat, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and gum disease—may explain why lifestyle-linked diseases have reached epidemic levels in Western countries, while remaining rare in the developing world.

“There are clear indications that inflammation explains why plaque builds up in the arteries in patients with atherosclerosis,” says Philip Schauer, MD, director of the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. “Chronic inflammation also plays a direct role in diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma and many other conditions.”

Now comes word that use of NSAIDS (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen during and after exercise may cause inflammation of the small intestine.  According to a Daily Beast article entitled Is Ibuprofen Making Us Sick?, the intestinal inflammation caused by NSAIDS mirrors the inflammation seen in patients with celiac disease. [Read more…]

Lowly Walnut Deemed World’s Healthiest Nut

A press release from the American Chemical Society (!) reports on a study showing that walnuts provide more heart healthy anti-oxidants than any other nut.   Compared to almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans, walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants.

This study is apparently the first one to compare the anti-oxidant benefits of varieties of widely available nuts.

The author of the study, Joe Vinson, Ph.D. notes that nuts account for barely 8% of the anti-oxidants in the average diet.  People wrongly believe that consuming nuts will cause weight gain or that nuts contain unhealthy fats.

Previous studies have indicated that nuts induce a feeling of satiation, and thus help dieters control calorie consumption.


How Often Should You Work Out With Kettlebells?

Over the past couple of months, my workout partner and I have re-integrated kettlebell workouts into our weekly routine at the Perimeter L.A. Fitness.  We bring out kettlebells on Tuesdays and Fridays and go through our set of exercises three times.  The entire routine takes about an hour.

Recently some of the regulars at the gym have been asking questions and one gentlemen has joined us in our kettlebell workout.  He is able to get through about 1/2 to 2/3 of each set but he keeps coming back so that is a good sign.  I’ll go into more detail about our routine in a future post.

I suspect that you could perform different kettlebell exercises each day and find something different to do every day of the week.  In our case, we have to deal with the issue of schlepping the kettlebells from the car, as our L.A. Fitness does not have a full set.  Interestingly, however, about six months after workout partner Michael and I used our kettlebells for the first time, a couple of the personal trainers there purchased four or five bells and started using them occasionally.  Right now, there is one 16kb bell, the rest are very light weights – most of the trainer clients are women who do not run through a very intense workout.  We use 16kb and 12kb bells and it is nice to have one available to use in addition to what we bring.

In the mornings at L.A. Fitness at least, most of the regulars are in their 40’s and 50’s and I doubt that too many of these folks would be able to handle an intense kettlebell workout.  On the other hand, swinging a 2kb kettlebell is not going to do much.  For  us, at this time, two days a week is about right.  I think it is better to run through a solid kettlebell workout once or twice a week, as opposed to a peripheral use of the weights once every two to four weeks.

As I will discuss in a future post, many of our kettlebell day exercises are focused on core strength and now that we are consistent, I am really starting to see some good results.  Not quite ready for photos (although I have several very solid “before” photos!).

Don’t Neglect Potassium When Pumping Iron

Over the past few months, my workout partner and I have been increasing the amount of weight we are lifting, specifically when doing bench presses.   We have been alternating between a traditional bench press with a barbell, a reverse incline bench press and unstabilized bench and shoulder presses using kettlebells or their dumbbell equivalents.

About 2 months ago, I changed my vitamin and mineral routine to take my minerals (including the pills with trace minerals) at night instead of in the morning.  About a month after doing so I began noticing some irregularities in my heartbeat and fluttering in my chest.

The chest fluttering was not painful nor did I have any shortness of breath – but it was noticeable enough that I called my doctor.  After I told him about my symptoms and that I had been working out with heavy weights he reassured me that my issue was likely not cardiac in nature and he suggested that I may be experiencing a potassium deficiency.

At his suggestion I ate a bannana prior to working out and a bannana in the afternoon and immediately my heartbeat returned to normal and I have had no issues since.

Now, obviously not ever instance of chest pain or fluttering heartbeat is benign and if you have any questions you should seek medical attention.  In my case, however, it appears that a minor potassium deficiency was at the root of my experience.  This also explains why a number of long distance runners I know carry a bannana with them in their workout bags.

Our bodies don’t need a lot of potassium or trace minerals, but take them away and strange things happen.

Alternating Stability and Instability Exercises

Over the past few months, workout partner Michael and I have settled into something of a routine.  We usually work out at least 4 mornings per week.  One day we focus on abs and light upper body work.  One day we hit the upper body combined with sprints and two days we focus on arms, shoulders and the upper body.  More recently, we have added leg work into the routine as well.

On "upper arms" days, we do exercises on both stable and unstable platforms.  Stable platform arm work includes work on the bench press and the pull down machines.  Instability work includes kettlebells, dumbbells and bar bells.

Stable platform work allows for more weight, while unstable platform work tends to be more aerobic and tone oriented.  Of all the unstable platform exercises we do, the kettlebells work the stabalizing muscles and they tend to be much more aerobic.

We have not been focusing as much on the kettlebells lately because our gym (LA Fitness) does not have kettlebells and we have to bring our own.   For whatever reason it seems to take too much effort to schlep in the kettlebells on a freezing cold morning.  In addition, I strained my back back in November and again last week and I have been hesitant to carry the kettlebells in from the car before I am warmed up.  As the weather gets warmer, we’ll get back to including the kettlebells at least once a week.