Exercise as a Treatment for Depression

Watch the video instead on ‘exercise vs. drugs for depression’.

We’ve known for decades that even a single bout of exercise can elevate our mood, but could it be enough to be used as a treatment for major depression?

We’ve known that physical activity has been associated with decreased symptoms of depression. For example, if you look at a cross-section of 8,000 people across the country, those that exercised regularly were less likely to have a major depression diagnosis. That’s just a snapshot in time, though. In that study, the researcher openly acknowledges this may be a case of reverse causation. Maybe exercise didn’t cut down on depression, maybe depression cut down on exercise. The reason depression may be associated with low physical activity is that people may feel too lousy to get out of bed. What we’ve needed was an interventional study where you take people who are already depressed and randomize them into an exercise intervention.

That is what researchers from Duke University Medical Center did. They randomized men and women over age 50 with major depression to two groups: one who did an aerobic exercise program for four months and another that took an antidepressant drug called Zoloft. In my video Exercise vs. Drugs for Depression, you can see a graph of their changes. Before exercise, their Hamilton Depression scores were up around 18 (anything over seven is considered depressed). Within four months, the drug group came down to normal, which is exactly what the drugs are supposed to do. What about the exercise-only group, though? Exercise had the same powerful effect.

The researchers concluded that an exercise training program may be considered an alternative to antidepressants for treatment of depression in older persons, given that they’ve shown that a group program of aerobic exercise is a feasible and effective treatment for depression, at least for older people.

Not so fast, though.

A “group program?” They had the exercise group folks come in three times a week for a group class. Maybe the only reason the exercise group got better is because they were forced to get out of bed and interact with people—maybe it was the social stimulation and had nothing to do with the actual exercise? Before you could definitively say that exercise can work as well as drugs, what we would need to see is the same study, but with an additional group who exercised alone with no extra social interaction. And those same Duke researchers did just that.

They created the largest exercise trial of patients with major depression conducted to date, and not just including older folks, but other adults as well with three different treatment groups this time: a home exercise group in addition to the supervised group exercise and the drug group as before.

And, they all worked about just as well in terms of forcing the depression into remission. So, we can say with confidence that exercise is comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder.

Putting all the best studies together, researchers indicate that exercise at least has a moderate antidepressant effect, and at best, exercise has a large effect on reductions in depression symptoms and could be categorized as a very useful and powerful intervention. Unfortunately, while studies support the use of exercise as a treatment for depression, exercise is rarely prescribed as a treatment for this common and debilitating problem.

https://nutritionfacts.org/2017/01/24/exercise-as-a-treatment-for-depression/

High Blood Pressure: The ‘Silent Killer’


I learned about high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, at a surprisingly early age. My grandmother has had high blood pressure for as long as I can remember. I remember asking my parents about it at a young age, but I never really understood what it was. I grew up with two misconceptions. First, I believed that high blood pressure didn’t seem that bad. Despite my parent’s concerns, it didn’t seem like my grandma’s blood pressure was affecting her much. She was thin, active, mentally sharp, and had a bubbly personality. Second, I had the impression that you couldn’t really do anything to get rid of high blood pressure. I knew that grandma took medicine for it, but the medicine didn’t seem to do anything. If it was really working, why were my parents still discussing it? As I grew up, I kept these (false) thoughts about hypertension with me. It just didn’t seem important. I’m sure my experience is not unique. Many of us still hold on to misconceptions about health stemming from misunderstandings and simply being misinformed. Today, let’s do our part to correct this.

The Truth about High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the ‘silent killer’. It can cause damage to the body in many ways. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurism, and kidney failure. If left uncontrolled, it can even cause blindness or heart failure. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 400,000 deaths are attributed to hypertension each year.

Worldwide, over thirty percent of adults have high blood pressure. The proportion of the population affected increases with age. This means older generations are affected particularly harshly. Once someone enters their 50s, they have about a 50% chance of having high blood pressure. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that awareness is lacking. About half of the people who have high blood pressure don’t know that they have it. It truly is a silent killer.

That was the bad news, but don’t stop reading yet. There’s good news as well…great news actually. Hypertension is not only treatable, but it is preventable—and that’s not all. This can be accomplished through natural means. You don’t need to rely on drugs or expensive treatments; simple lifestyle changes can have substantial effects.

Here is a list of some things you can do:

Reduce your salt intake. Salt is the major source of sodium in our diets. (Remember, salt is called ‘sodium chloride’.) High sodium intakes are known to raise the blood pressure. By reducing your intake of salt, your blood pressure levels can start to drop after only a matter of days.

Right now, the average American is consuming about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. This is far more than we need. The CDC recommends that adults should consume no more than 2,300 mg a day. However, that recommendation drops to 1,500 if you are over the age of 50, are African American, or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease (combined, these groups constitute 50% of the adults in the United States).

Reducing your salt intake is not as hard as most people think. In fact, I can give you one tip that, if followed, will drastically reduce your salt intake: stop eating processed foods. Processed foods, including a majority of meals served at restaurants, are sodium bombs—there is just no other way to describe it. A landmark study on the sources of sodium in the diet found that processed foods contributed to 77% of Americans’ daily sodium intake.

Avoiding processed foods is by far the most important thing you can do to lower your sodium intake. If you do eat something that’s processed, be sure to read the nutrition label carefully. Also, be aware that salt goes by many different names including: monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate, baking soda, and a host of other names that begin with ‘sodium’ (e.g. sodium citrate).

Eat a balanced diet. One of the best things you could do to lower your blood pressure is eat a balanced diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Besides lowering your salt intake, diets like this will keep your fat and cholesterol intakes low. Over time, fat (especially saturated fats and trans fats) and cholesterol will clog your arteries and raise your blood pressure.

Studies have shown that minerals such as potassium and magnesium help to lower blood pressure. What foods are high in potassium and magnesium? You guessed it; fruits and vegetables are great sources. In addition to this, eat whole grains instead of refined products. And you know what? Eating a handful of nuts every day will help too.

Be physically active. Exercise is an important factor in lowering blood pressure. You don’t need to sweat hours away at the gym or have impressive athletic ability. Simply go for a walk or light jog during your lunch break or after work. You’ll have time to contemplate your day or talk with family or friends. Incidentally, exercise (as well as diet) will help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which is another factor in lowering blood pressure.

Also remember that even minor changes in our daily routines can have measurable results. Make choices that encourage you to move. Take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Choose a parking space that is far away from the store. (The walking won’t take you any longer than driving around looking for that perfect space anyway). Or simply walk over to a coworker instead of emailing them or shouting across the room.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco products are known to raise blood pressure in two ways. First, tobacco causes a temporary raise in blood pressure after using it. After a while, the blood pressure will drop again. However, because tobacco use is almost always habitual, it’s not likely to stay down for long. Secondly, tobacco also contains chemicals that damage the lining of your arteries. This damage can cause the arteries to narrow, which is another cause of high blood pressure. The CDC offers succinct advice to people seeking to ‘take control’ of their blood pressure: “If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.”

Alcohol is another substance that should be avoided. If you are seeking to lower your blood pressure, many health organizations, (including the WHO and the Mayo Clinic,) advise you to abstain from drinking. Over time, drinking too much has the potential to damage your heart (not to mention your liver). For women of any age, just one drink a day is enough to raise blood pressure levels.  Besides this, alcohol has a high caloric content and can contribute to weight gain. As we mentioned earlier, this is another risk factor for high blood pressure.

Manage your stress. Have you ever been so stressed that you felt your head was going to explode? I recently fiddled around with my cell phone software and almost lost several years of data. Boy was that a high-stress experience. I can testify that I could really feel the pressure building up inside. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that high stress levels can raise the blood pressure quite dramatically. Although the increase is only temporary, for individuals who lead stressful lifestyles, this is cause for concern. Further complicating the problem is the fact than many people manage stress by comfort eating, smoking, or drinking. As discussed above, these things may only serve to raise the blood pressure even further.

The Results

This year, the World Health Organization is focusing on raising awareness about hypertension. What’s really cool is that they are advocating lifestyle changes, similar to those we detailed above. Why? Because pursuing a healthy lifestyle is the real solution to the problem (not only for high blood pressure, but for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer). Think about it, do we really want to put 1/3 of the world’s population on medication for their high blood pressure when it can be treated and prevented naturally? In addition, this is something that anyone can do regardless of nationality or socio-economic standing. Now, that’s great news!

If you’re looking for more information on reversing hypertension naturally, be sure to check out this excellent resource: Reversing Hypertension Naturally, with Dr. David DeRose.

[1] “CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Americans Consume Too Much Sodium (Salt).”[2] “CDC – Salt Home – DHDSP.”[3] Mattes, R. D., and D. Donnelly. “Relative Contributions of Dietary Sodium Sources.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 10, no. 4 (August 1, 1991): 383–393.[4] “CDC – High Blood Pressure Facts – DHDSP.”[5] Sheps, Sheldon G. “Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Blood Pressure?” Mayo Clinic.

by Jonathan Ewald

https://lifeandhealth.org/nutrition/high-blood-pressure-the-silent-killer/23292.html  

Endurance-training but not resistance-training is keeping our cells young

As the days are getting longer and warmer, more and more people feel attracted to go out and enjoy nature. You can also see more people out there bicycling or jogging and it seems that together with nature our drive to sports is awakening. The positive effects of sport are widely known. Activity is strengthening our cardiovascular system and it is able to prevent us from many kinds of various diseases. People who are doing sport are healthier, more balanced and live longer than people who are not active.

Just recently I was reading an article about the effects of sport on our cells that was very interesting to me. Professor Laufs from the University of Leipzig in Germany was examining the effects of different types of sport on the cells of our body and he found out, that it makes a great difference, what kind of sport we are doing! If you want to do sport, you have principally two choices: Either you can do endurance-training like swimming, running or cycling, or you can do resistance-training, and strengthen your muscles. You would typically do this with dumbbells or other fitness-devices in a gym. It was astonishing to me, that Professor Laufs found out, that endurance-training had a much greater benefit on the health of our cells, than resistance-training!  

Professor Laufs and his team were examining 266 inactive young people and putting them basically into 3 different groups. The first group was starting with endurance-training (running) 3 times a week, the second group was doing resistance-training (pumping iron) 3 times a week and the third group was continuing their inactive lifestyle from before. After six months blood-examinations were taken from the participants and their Leukocytes were examined for length of telomeres in the cell nucleus. Now Professor Laufs found out, that the length of telomeres in the “running-group” was increased, while resistance-training did not show these effects! But what does this mean?

The DNA contains our genetic information in the cell nucleus. It is packed in 46 Chromosomes. Now each Chromosome is “protected and sealed” by a special cap on each end, which is called “telomere”. The problem is, that this cap is shortening with each replication of the cell and that this shortening of telomeres is viewed to be an important mechanism of cellular aging. But there is one enzyme in our body, called “Telomerase” that can reverse this shortening of Telomeres. Now Professor Laufs found out, that the length of Telomeres and the activity of Telomerase was increased in the “running-group” compared to the “inactivity-group”, but that resistance-training (pumping) did not show the same effects! That means, that endurance-training like running, cycling or swimming has an outstanding potential of keeping our cells young!

To my knowledge this was for the first time, that it could have been scientifically shown, that sport can keep our cells young on a molecular level! The reason for the increased activity of telomerase in the running-group may be due to an increased level of nitric-oxide in the blood-vessels during endurance-training, which is acting like a hormone and providing different cellular changes. You can say, that we are made for moving outside and that by doing so, we can do our part for “healthy aging”. It was very interesting to me also, that sport is not all the same, but that endurance-training seems to be more healthie for our body than resistance-training! Resistance-training can be an addition or complement to endurance-training, but it can never replace it.  Another advantage of endurance-training is, that you can easily do it outside and get an additional extra-portion of fresh air and sunlight! And you can practice it in a group together with other people! So why don’t use the warmer and brighter days of springtime to go out and do some exercise? Your cells will love it!    

Source: “Endurance but not resistance training has anti-aging effects”, European Society of Cardiology, 27.11.2018 (ESC Press Office)

Link: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/endurance-but-not-resistance-training-has-anti-aging-effects

The Secret To Winter Exercise You Need To Know

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The holiday season is strange. It’s filled with happy things, like food, family, and fun, but as the season grows colder and darker, and the holidays throw your schedule off kilter, you end up getting out of whack, too. Exercise gets put off until the New Year when you realize that a whole ‘nother year has passed, and you haven’t made any progress – or worse, you’ve gone backward – on your health goals. Well, I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case. There are some secrets to exercising in the winter.

Okay, I’ll admit I did click bait you just a little with the title of this post. There is no secret, per se, to getting good exercise in winter. First off it’s not just one secret, but several. Also, the secrets are not bound by any season. Excuses like, “it’s too cold today,” or “it’s too dark outside,” or “I’m too busy” are just that: excuses. They can be and are used all year-round. The same goes for the “secrets” I’m about to share – they can be used all year-round, too.

So listen up. These principles will help you exercise regularly, regardless of location, people, time, climate, and virtually any other excuse for not exercising.

1. What is your “why”?

The biggest reason people don’t exercise is because they cannot find a good enough reason to do it. It may sound too simple to be true but please read on, because it’s true. If the reason isn’t important to you, you’re not going to spend the time and effort on it.

There’s a flip side to this. Nowadays, medical care is so good that a lot of people just don’t care about their health. They think, when I have my heart attack they’ll just put one of those stent things in me through my wrist and I’ll go home in a day. As a cardiologist, I see this all the time. Years ago, heart attack patients used to have to be placed under medical care for months. (The medical community stopped requiring this after many of those patients died from blood clots from inactivity). When I was in training to be a cardiologist, the typical stay after a heart attack was one week. In the past twenty years, that has dropped down to just 48 hours for an uncomplicated heart attack! It’s no wonder people don’t worry about their health – it just doesn’t seem as serious as it did before!

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Global Wellness Day

Have you heard of “Global Wellness Day”? Wellness is far more than spa and beauty. They define wellness as:

“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.  It is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. A good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity; welfare.

“Wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – The World Health Organization.”

In their 7 step manifesto they promote

  1. walking an hour a day
  2. drinking more water
  3. don’t use plastic bottles
  4. eat healthy food
  5. do a good deed
  6. have a family dinner with your loved ones
  7. sleep at 10:00pm

Sound familiar to anything you know?

This year its on Saturday June 10. Is there a way we can use this to connect with people?

Check out there website for more info at http://www.globalwellnessday.org

Showdown: Vegetarier vs Fleischesser – ZDF

Amüsante Sendung mit überraschenden Ergebnissen:

Ist fleischlos leben wirklich gesünder und besser für die Umwelt? ZDFzeit macht den Test: Vier leidenschaftliche Fleischesser und vier überzeugte Vegetarier müssen gegeneinander antreten.

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Pills vs. Diet For Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance. It is present in up to 30 million men in the U.S. and approximately 100 million men worldwide. The U.S. has less than 8% of the world’s population, yet up to 30% of the impotence? We’re #1!

But hey, we’ve got red, white, and blue pills like Viagra. The problem is that the pills just cover up the symptoms of vascular disease and don’t do anything for the underlying pathology. Erectile dysfunction and our #1 killer, coronary artery disease, are just two manifestations of the same disease: inflamed, clogged, and crippled arteries, regardless of which organ it affects (See Survival of the Firmest: Erectile Dysfunction and Death).

Atherosclerosis is considered a systemic disorder that uniformly affects all major blood vessels in the body. Hardening of the arteries can lead to softening of the penis because stiffened arteries can’t relax, open wide, and let the blood flow. Thus erectile dysfunction may just be the flaccid “tip of an iceberg” in terms of a systemic disorder. For two-thirds of men showing up to emergency rooms for the first time with crushing chest pain, their penis had been trying to warn them for years that something was wrong with their circulation.

Why does it hit the penis first? Because the penile arteries in the penis are half the size of the coronary artery in our heart. So the amount of plaque we wouldn’t even feel in the heart could clog half the penile artery, causing symptomatic restriction in blood flow. That’s why erectile dysfunction has been called “penile angina.” In fact, by measuring blood flow in a man’s penis we can predict the results of his cardiac stress test with an accuracy of 80%. Male sexual function is like a penile stress test, a “window into the hearts of men.”

Forty percent of men over age forty have erectile dysfunction. 40 over 40. Men with erection difficulties in their 40s have a 50-fold increased risk of having a cardiac event (like sudden death). I said before that various things increase heart disease risk by 20% or 30%. That’s nearly 5000%, leading the latest review to ask, “is there any risk greater?” That’s because it’s not so much a risk factor for atherosclerosis as atherosclerosis itself. A man “with erectile dysfunction (even if he doesn’t have cardiac symptoms) should be considered a cardiac patient until proven otherwise.”

Erectile dysfunction is considered to be a cardiac equivalent; it’s a marker of the coronary artery one likely already has. Thus, there’s more to treating ED than establishing an erect penis; it offers an opportunity for reducing cardiovascular risk. The reason even young men should care about their cholesterol is because itpredicts erectile dysfunction later in life, which in turn predicts heart attacks, strokes, and a shortened lifespan.

May 20, 2014 by Michael Greger M.D.

Rückenschule zwischendurch

Um Rückenschmerzen im Alter vorzubeugen ist das richtige Sitzen und auch Übungen zwischen durch sehr essentiell.

Ziel ist es vor allem die Rückenmuskulatur zu stärken und das Zusammenspiel mit den Wirbelkörpern und auch deren Vorspannung zu intensivieren.

Wenige Übungen zwischendurch zeigen dabei schon eine große Wirkung.

Schau dir dieses Video an um darüber zu erfahren, was gut für deinen Rücken ist!