I have long been fascinated with the seemingly unlimited power of our mitochondria. You probably remember from your high school biology class that mitochondria are the “powerhouses of your cells”. Their number one function is to turn the calories you consume throughout the day into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the gasoline that fuels your cells, which in turn, gives your body the energy it needs to thrive.
As if that wasn’t enough, according to a new article I recently read in The Guardian, ATP production may be just the tip of the iceberg of what mitochondria are capable of.
According to researchers at Cambridge University’s MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, our mitochondria may play a vital role in helping to solve many of the important diseases of our time, including Parkinson’s disease and even long Covid.
When it comes to Parkinson’s, researchers believe that people suffering with this disease may have a problem with mitochondrial autophagy, meaning they are not able to replace the damaged mitochondria.
Fortunately, we have a number of methods to increase mitochondrial health, such as NAD+ treatments and EBO2.
Interestingly enough, these treatments, at least anecdotally, seem to help patients with long Covid symptoms as well.
I found this to be a very informative article and I wanted to share it with you all. – JP
Here is the piece if you’d like to read further:
[Click to learn more about NAD+ and EBO2 treatments.]
We all know that one lucky person who naturally pops out of bed with a smile on their face. They’re fine with five hours of sleep. They have energy. They’re ready to attack the day every day.
Unfortunately, that’s not us. And it’s likely not you either. You like your sleep. Your bed is comfortable. Your sheets are warm. You want to stay there as long as possible, right? We don’t blame you.
But the reality is that we all have to get up and get going. What if, instead of dreading it, you looked forward to it? What if you flipped the script?
No more sleepwalking through your morning or downing unhealthy amounts of coffee. Nope. What if you finally had a plan to feel great every day?
Now you do. We’ve put together a simple three-step routine that you can follow to nurture your mind, body and spirit the minute you get out of bed.
Say goodbye to slow mornings forever:
STEP ONE: Hydration
Here’s a fact: most people wake up slightly dehydrated. Here’s another fact: most people don’t do anything about it, which compounds the problem. Rather than drink liquids that will hydrate and balance your body, too often people turn to a juice that’s high in fructose or a coffee with cream and unhealthy sugar.
Here’s a better option:
Pour yourself a twelve ounce glass of water
Squeeze in the juice from half of a fresh lemon
Then add a quarter teaspoon of sea salt or Himalayan salt
The water hydrates you while the lemon juice provides vitamin C, aids in digestion, boosts immune function and may help regulate your weight. The salt is filled with electrolytes and minerals, while also replenishing your sodium levels for muscle function. Within a few minutes that sluggish feeling will begin to fade away.
STEP TWO: Morning Meditation - 5-Minutes to Declutter Your Brain
The moment you wake up your brain is bombarded with thoughts, feelings, anxiety, to-do lists, mental notes and more. Your mind races to things you forgot the day before, stuff about your family, stuff for work... It’s a deluge you feel like you can’t control and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed and your head hasn’t left the pillow.
Rather than letting your brain run wild, after you drink your lemon water with salt, set a timer on your phone for five minutes and put it on one side of a room.
On the other side, find a comfortable place on the floor to sit cross legged in a traditional meditation pose.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Deep breaths in and deep breaths out. Meditation can take years to master, but for your beginner purposes, focus on a single word that you can repeat over and over. If you’re anxious, repeat “relax.” If you’re tired, repeat “energy” and so on.
Try your best to keep all outside thoughts from ruining your mantra. In the beginning, the five minutes will feel like hours. Eventually, it’ll feel like a matter of seconds. Either way, it often takes only five minutes to clear your mind for the day.
STEP THREE: Harness the Cold
With your body hydrated and your mind clear, it’s time to wake up and seize the day. Nothing is quicker and more effective at jolting your body and brain into a ready-state than a cold plunge or cold shower.
We know. It sounds crazy. But quite often, crazy works. In this case, it works very well.
Cold showers have long been studied for their health benefits, which may include increased blood circulation, improved neurological response and a surge of adrenaline that accompanies a feeling of happiness and alertness.
Start out with a 30-second cold shower on the first day. Then add thirty seconds every day after that and build to two or three minutes.
A 3-minute cold shower will do wonders for your energy level, your mood and your mindset.
If you haven’t heard of self-proclaimed biohacker Ben Greenfield just wait. The man is into everything. In no short order he is a former collegiate tennis, water polo and volleyball player, bodybuilder, 13-time Ironman triathlete and professional obstacle course racer. Oh yeah, he’s also written 17 books, including the bestsellers Endure, Fit Soul, Beyond Training, Boundless and more.
Greenfield also has over 300k followers on Instagram and is a coach, speaker, trainer and advisor to some of the highest power people and fitness brands in the world.
The reason we’re highlighting Ben is for his adherence to functional health and fitness. His approach to optimizing the human body blends the newest anti-aging science, longevity studies, mental tactics, psychological tuning and spiritual guidance.
He’s even spoken as the keynote speaker at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the Academy of Regenerative Practices.
Since we’re wrapping up our “Strongest You Ever” month, here are 4 important anti-aging benefits of building muscle by Greenfield from one of his newest posts, titled, “The Best Workouts, Biohacks & Supplements For Muscle Gain, Muscle Recovery, Muscle Maintenance & More!
4 Anti-Aging Benefits of Building Muscle from Ben Greenfield:
Bigger muscles aren’t necessarily better. You want lean, wiry, explosive muscles capable of exerting enormous amounts of force relative to their size.
You can achieve this type of muscle with as little as two strength workouts per week, one super-slow lifting workout, and one explosive 7-minute bodyweight workout.
Weightlifting and load-bearing workouts not only build muscle, but also improve insulin resistance and fat metabolism, and reduce the effects of aging on mitochondria and your telomeres.
You can build muscle and strength with just bodyweight workouts.
For more information on Ben Greenfield, visit: www.bengreenfieldlife.com
Did you know that you can gain muscle when rehabbing by lifting light weights with a tourniquet around your muscle?
We know what you’re thinking: Tourniquet training?
Yes, you read that right.
An exciting form of advanced physical therapy called Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFR) has proven to be especially useful after a regenerative cell procedure to strengthen the muscles around an affected joint.
The way it works is quite simple: after partially restricting blood flow using a series of well-calibrated, inflatable Velcro bands (tourniquets), patients perform muscle contractions to increase the size, strength and endurance of healing muscles.
It’s like lifting weights, but with tight cuffs on your arms or legs.
Here’s what you need to know:
BFR training can be performed 2-3 times a week for three works OR 1-2 times a day for less than three week
A good ratio for upper body and lower body is 40% arms to 50% legs (or even 50/50)
BFR is best used with four reps per set, in the following sequence: 30-15-15-15
Maximum wear time for the cuffs is 20 minutes
The ideal loads will be 20% to 50% of a patient’s one rep maximum lift
Repetitions should be slow, up to two full seconds for each positive and negative movement
Rest should be anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds between sets
Click here for Dr. Purita’s extended blog post on the science behind BFR training.
Did you know? Every single person produces testosterone. Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a very important role throughout the body. It is mainly produced in the testes in men, while in women, it’s produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands, ovaries, skin and fat cells. Each individual has an optimal balance of various sex hormones that promote overall health and wellbeing. For adult men and women, optimal testosterone levels are important to maintain everything from muscle mass and mood to a healthy sex drive. While supplementing or undergoing testosterone replacement therapy is a decision individuals should make by consulting with their primary care physician, here are six safe ways both males and females can raise their testosterone levels naturally.
High stress levels are often equated with low levels of testosterone. When your body is pumping out cortisol on a regular basis to combat your elevated stress levels, the rest of your body suffers. From depression to lack of libido, to not having the energy to exercise, a high stress life needs to be tamed to help you get a handle on your testosterone levels.
Supplement with Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a plant from the nightshade family and has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Like most herbal substances, the purported benefits are a mix between anecdotes, word-of-mouth, scientific studies and marketing. In the case of ashwagandha, a handful of studies appear to show a link between supplementation and a potential boost in fertility and men and an increase in testosterone levels.
However, to be clear, these studies have not come to any hard conclusion either way, and since Ashwagandha quality and dosage isn’t standardized, be sure to talk with your physician before supplementation.
If you begin supplementation, get your T levels checked for a baseline and then follow-up with tests after several months to track if there is a difference.
Get Sun & Vitamin D
You’ve heard about the many benefits of Vitamin D before and according to the Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D has “anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.”
But did you also know that Vitamin D may help increase testosterone levels in men and potentially women? A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism of 200 people concluded that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels in certain men undergoing a weight loss program.
This one is a no-brainer. Regular exercise is a cornerstone to any anti-aging and strength plan, but when it specifically comes to testosterone, high-level, heavy strength training will naturally raise testosterone in your body.
The exercise itself increases testosterone in the short-term and lifting or cardio on regular basis will increase your baseline in the long term.
Improve Your Sleep
A lack of quality, deep sleep is a surefire way to lower your testosterone levels. Lucky for you, it doesn’t take long for a healthy sleep habit to begin paying dividends in the testosterone department. According to a 2015 study in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, once you begin getting deep sleep and removing your sleep debt, your normal testosterone levels will return. We’ve outlined how to improve your sleep here.
When it comes to muscle-building meals, adding clean foods high in protein is key. On the flip side, avoiding processed foods and pseudo-protein foods is equally important.
What’s a pseudo-protein?
A pseudo-protein is a food that would be high in protein and considered healthy if it wasn’t lathered in carbs and sugar or fried in inflammatory oils. Think of things like any sweet-tasting buffalo wings or a fried chicken sandwich or lean ground beef covered in cheese and sour cream for a taco. We recommend saving these foods for special occasions, and being mindful to choose lower inflammatory foods a majority of the time.
In order to maximize your healthy protein per meal, stick with high-quality foods that have one ingredient. These are our top four power protein foods for muscle:
Wild-caught salmon is one of nature’s true superfoods. A simple 4oz serving contains a host of healthy nutrients, including:
24g of protein
6.7g of healthy fats
Omega-3 fatty acids
healthy doses of niacin, selenium and phosphorus
only 165 calories
Filet mignon isn’t just for fancy steakhouses anymore. With services like Butcher Box and others willing to deliver grass-fed, free range meat straight to your house, you can enjoy the taste and the protein benefits of a nice filet in your own kitchen. A serving of filet contains:
22g of protein
source of iron, B-12 & zinc
only 227 calories
Quinoa is an ancient grain that is a terrific source of plant protein. It works perfectly as a side dish to any seafood or meat, but it can also be used as a base for everything from vegetable stir fry to breakfast with blueberries and honey.
Just one cup of quinoa contains:
8g of protein
39g of healthy carbohydrates
5g of healthy fiber
1g of sugar
only 222 calories
All-Natural Pumpkin Seeds
Far too many people only eat pumpkin seeds around Halloween after carving their pumpkins. And worse, some people throw them away! Let this be a lesson to all of you. The simple pumpkin seed is loaded with nutrients, as well as a hefty dose of protein.
One quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains:
8g of protein
0g trans fat