Recently I attended a physical therapy seminar focusing on core/trunk stability and was shocked to find that a young, trim, healthy looking woman, who also happened to be a physical therapist, had a very unstable core and back pain. I have also heard of situations with young girls playing very competitive soccer having weak and unstable core muscles. I was dismayed to learn that in 3-4 years, female soccer players have a high percentage of knee injuries. I now feel very strongly that soccer for females should be banned, unless something is done to stop the progression of knee injuries in young girls.
The current culture of using cell phones, tablets, video games, backpacks and other sedentary activities also contributes to poor posture, muscle weakness, muscle imbalances and early onset of arthritis, pain and nerve entrapment. What happened to all the moms and teachers who insisted on sitting up straight, and encouraged getting out and moving? I am seeing 30 year-olds with very slumped postures, having arm pain, jaw pain, neck pain, back pain and headaches.
My optometrist mentioned to me that there is a direct correlation between eye strain and poor trunk tone, strength and posture, due to lack of activity, which often affects a child’s ability to learn. It’s harder to focus the eyes when the trunk can’t stay stable for long periods of time, which is what it is supposed to do, which makes reading more difficult and, ultimately, learning becomes harder.
If this problem affects a young, relatively healthy and more active population, trunk or core instability probably affects many mature adults as well. This can contribute to balance problems, breathing difficulties, incontinence and lower energy levels.
The good news is that something can be done about it. It might take a little work to bring awareness to the muscles that are responsible for keeping us upright, but it will result in using smaller amounts of energy and decreasing degenerative changes in joints. Physical therapists are experts in observing posture and movement and can guide people in getting stronger, moving around more efficiently and decreasing wear and tear on the body. Exercise classes are great for this as well, and getting a customized program to address specific problems is one way to make sure that imbalances are corrected first. Gym classes often focus on the larger movement muscles of the trunk and don’t pay attention to the smaller and less visible postural muscles that work most of the time.
Moms used to say “stand up straight” and sometimes it turned into nagging that left emotional scars. I have to say, mom was right. Instead of rebelling against standing up straight, switch your thinking to developing a good stable core. You will have more energy, look younger, have better balance and may reduce a lot of strain on your knees and your eyes.
Many years ago Alhambra had the good fortune to interest a world-class runner, Lynn Jennings, in running in one of their Moonlight 8K races. She later went on to win the Bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the 10,000 meters event.
During her running clinic at Alhambra High School, she imparted some important information to the local high school track teams about avoiding running injuries. She never had a running injury in her entire running career, which is quite a feat, since most runners do not escape some form of injury. Even one of our own physical therapists ended a very promising career as a long distance runner due to his injuries. He had been considered Olympic potential at the height of his career.
Her basic common sense advice was to listen to your body and rest when not feeling up to par, and slowing down the pace of training when needed. This advice is not always heeded according to writer, Joe Henderson, of Runner’s World, especially when runners live in a community and are not completely honest about listening to their bodies. They want to keep up their training schedule and sometimes do not let anyone know of their injuries. Fortunately for Lynn, she lived in a non-runner’s community and mostly trained in the woods of New Hampshire with her faithful dog.
Another basic way to prevent injuries is doing adequate warm-ups and cool-downs, pre and post running events. The general rule-of-thumb is to start slowly and progress gradually, working your body up to a warmer temperature and even perspiring. Warms ups are done dynamically, meaning you move versus holding a position, while cool downs are characterized by static stretching. Studies show that static stretching done during the warm-up actually decreases muscle strength.
An example of a dynamic warm-up activity would be standing next to a fence or pole, holding on, and slowly starting to swing the leg back and forth to increase the leg’s flexibility gradually for about 30 seconds (20-30 repetitions), and then repeat with the other leg. Your body should feel warmer and more flexible. You increase the intensity of the workout to mimic your event. Emphasis on what you would do depends on whether you are working on speed, endurance, terrain, mobility, or some other aspect.
Equal time should be spent cooling down after the event to stretch out muscles, normalize blood flow and heart rate, and even incorporating core leg strengthening into your routine. Basic moves include hamstring stretching, quad stretching, calf stretching and hip stretching.
The key is to progress gradually and safely. If, after your routine, you feel that you never want to do it again, it means you did it way too hard. Muscles adapt much more slowly than the cardiovascular system. Better to be safe than sorry. It makes for a much more pleasant workout and keeps you on course doing the things you want to do.
Dr. Chris Shade outlined the basics of mercury toxicity and what can be done to remedy the problem. It is my hope that I can condense his wonderful knowledge into a concise, understandable and usable format without getting too technical.
Mercury toxicity presents a problem in the body because it is more binding than other metals. It never exists as a free ion and attaches itself to enzymes in the body making them inactive. It is a billion times more attaching than zinc and will bind to cell membranes including the vasculature, causing holes in arteries and triggering cholesterol production to spackle these holes. Messing with enzymes messes up the body chemistry and can cause depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, chronic fatigue and other neurological conditions.
Mercury toxicity can come from coal burning, dental amalgams, vaccines, fish consumption and flu shots. Fish get loaded with mercury from coal burning fertilizing the air with mercury, which then falls to the oceans as acid rain.
There are several forms of mercury toxicity with ethyl mercury being the most toxic followed by methyl mercury, as these penetrate quickly into the body. Inorganic mercury from dental amalgams, aka silver fillings, are very slow to break out. Seventy-eight percent of people have amalgams and 50% of dentists do not use amalgams.
There are several ways to test for mercury toxicity. Urine tests show more inorganic mercury, such as from paint. Blood tests do not make much sense for elemental mercury vapors. Hair analysis is a good marker for methyl mercury in blood but not good for inorganic sources such as dental. Testing from various labs can differ considerably. Some tests are 50 times more sensitive than others.
People with numerous dental amalgams who do not eat fish will show low mercury in the blood. People who are sickest from mercury will show lower mercury in urine because problems with the kidneys will not let mercury pass into the urine. How well you excrete mercury makes a difference in the tests.
Inorganic sources, i.e. dental, are more toxic but do not accumulate well in tissues, while the organic/fish sources accumulate more.
Detoxification from mercury should be done slowly, often over a period of several years, requiring several rounds of detoxification along with lifestyle changes.
Some ways to consider eliminating the hazards of mercury toxicity include chelation and removal of dental amalgams which should be done under the care of experts. Other lifestyle changes that can be employed even without the benefit of testing include adding the following items to your diet: vitamin C, chlorella, N-acetyl cysteine, garlic, lipoic acid, CoQ10, astaxanthin and other powerful antioxidants, plus cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage and also whey protein, but be sure they contain no hormones or BHT. Eating a diet high in antioxidants and low in carbohydrates emphasizing good quality proteins and good fats is highly recommended.
I have found a detox diet kit that is great for helping rid the body of heavy metals, although any fasting diet will help.
Recent lectures and reading that I have done point to statistics that cognitive decline is on the rise and surpassing other ailments in costs and concern over the utilization of resources in the future. The brain and the nervous system once damaged is hard to treat and return to normal, and studies are showing that development of these structures in the womb is influenced by nutritional factors that will set the course for the individual’s life.
Never has it been truer as wisely stated by Ben Franklin in his Poor Richard’s Almanac that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Researchers are putting more attention on diet and how it influences health as well as expression of good genes and bad genes. It is showing more and support that you are what you eat.
There are studies that are showing that the highest carbohydrate diet is linked to a 90% increased risk in dementia and the highest fat diet is linked to a 44% decreased risk in dementia. A recent study looking at 3 groups of diets, the first allowing people to eat anything they wanted, the second eating a Mediterranean diet high in lean meats, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and the third group eating a Mediterranean diet plus extra good fats, showed that the third group had a 30% reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and death compared to the other two. The researchers ended up stopping the study since the results were so significant in preventing heart attack, stroke and death, that they wanted to make sure the other two groups could also benefit from the third diet.
Another study looked at long term effects of high carbohydrate diets and found that in 10 years, diabetes and obesity tripled. Some people are considering Alzheimer’s to be a form of diabetes of the brain, which doesn’t allow the fuel of the brain, glucose, to get into the cells and hence causes death of the brain cells.
Higher levels of cholesterol are also being shown to be associated with lower risk of dementia, so much so that the FDA is now requiring pharmaceutical companies to put warnings on statin medication that lowers cholesterol since these are putting people at risk for dementia. There is also an increased risk of diabetes for women who are post-menopausal who are taking statins.
Statins also reduce the body’s ability to produce co-Q 10, which is important for muscle energy production, hence the warning of muscle weakness as a side effect with statins. The heart and the brain uses a lot of co-Q 10.
Cholesterol is also the raw material for developing vitamin D, which is now touted as the number 1 vitamin since it is important for bone health, immune function and acts more like a hormone than a vitamin.
Gluten is a pro-inflammatory protein that is found in wheat, rye, oats, barley and spelt. It has been associated with muscle cramps, bone and joint pain, leg numbness, chronic fatigue, foggy brain, eczema/rash, gastrointestinal symptoms and depression. Gluten is like glue and interferes with the intestinal tract in absorbing nutrients. Since the gastrointestinal tract is also important in producing much of the neurotransmitters that are needed for brain function, this may be one reason for foggy brain.
Exercise is a great way to produce antioxidants in the body that help give a protective effect for the damaging effects of free radicals, which can damage cells, cause accelerated aging, and can contribute to inflammation.
Lifestyle habits can lead to health or illness. My experience has shown that it is not easy to make changes in your daily routine, but it can be done and done with great results. Find a way to make positive steps in the right direction, no matter how small a move you make. Be consistent and surround yourself with a good support system, helpful information and keeping your motivation high. Start eating more fruits and vegetables, take more walks, laugh more often and robustly, sleep more and drink more water. Don’t wait until you “have to do something or else you will die.” Do it now, while you are in the pre-disease state. You will live healthier and happier and will live a fuller life.
I recently watched a documentary called “Food Fight” and it brought up some interesting facts about MSG.
Being third generation Japanese-American, I was brought up on MSG, otherwise known as Ajinomoto. Later, I found out that this was MSG, or monosodium glutamate, and was told it was not even a food but rather a food additive that changed your perception of taste. I also learned that it was not a good thing to eat, so I quit cooking with it and tried to avoid it.
From my research, I learned that the Japanese started using naturally occurring MSG from seaweed to flavor their foods in 1908. MSG started showing up in American foods from manufactured sources in the 1940s. The Japanese labeled a 5th sense “umami” from what MSG does to the taste buds. MSG is often made from fermentation of food starch from cereals or molasses that comes from sugar beets or sugar cane. MSG stimulates taste, smell and hunger.
In 1968, Dr. John Olmey was doing research on MSG in mice and found that all mice fed MSG became grossly obese. Mice are often used in studies since they react similarly to human beings. MSG causes a 40% increase in appetite in mice and all mice who ate MSG became obese. It is believed that human sensitivity to MSG is 5 times greater than mice and 20 times greater than rhesus monkeys. In the documentary “Food Fight,” they state that MSG is found in 85% of all processed foods and this food additive is probably meant to encourage eating and thus contributes to weight gain.
Only about 15% of the population is sensitive to MSG and the symptoms produced by ingesting MSG are short lived. MSG has 1/3rd the sodium of table salt. MSG originally came from seaweed in its natural state, but now most MSG is manufactured. Other foods with naturally occurring MSG include ripe tomatoes, Parmesan and Roquefort cheeses, mushrooms, peas, broccoli and corn.
Symptoms of MSG sensitivity include numbness and pressure in the face, heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, sweating, wheezing, shortness of breath, throat swelling, asthma and burning sensations.
Foods that commonly have added MSG include canned soups and vegetables, frozen foods, processed meats, sausage, fast food, Asian food, chips, artificial cheese flavoring, onion soup mix, bouillon, snack crackers and salad dressings.
Be aware that MSG is also known by other names such as glutamate, monosodium L-glutamate, L-glutamic acid, monoammonian L –glutamate, monpotassium L-glutamate, yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, caseinate, natural flavors, vegetable protein extract, gelatin, malted barley, maltodextrin, modified food starch, textured protein and caramel. Most processed foods contain MSG.
The obesity problem in America is serious and MSG in processed foods may be one contributing factor. Eating fresh, organic, naturally raised meats, vegetables and fruits may be our best bet in combating obesity and other health problems.
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