How Can You Create New Brain Cells? A single ingredient can help.

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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Fall Season is Here

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” –Buddah

Did you know that your brain can create new neurons? It does, and you can have a major role in this process. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is one of the most important factors you probably have never heard of. Even my CNS course in undergrad did not discuss this. BDNF plays a role in creating new neurons, protects existing neurons during synapse formation, and helps protect against neurodegenerative diseases. It has been shown that individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of BDNF. The gene that increases BDNF can be activated through lifestyle changes such as exercise, sauna use, a ketogenic diet, omega-3 fatty acids specifically DHA, and turmeric.

Out of these the one that stood out to me was turmeric. I kept hearing about this from podcasts with Tim Ferriss and his guests. I decided to buy turmeric powder and start adding it to my diet. Turmeric is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has been found to be among one of the most effective compounds in the world. This is one of the main reasons turmeric can be key to disease reversal. It has been studied in regards to its effects on killing cancer cells. Turmeric is the main spice in curry and can be easily found in a supermarket. I like to add it to my vegetables with grass fed butter. I also found that Vitamin Shoppe has this as a supplemental chew. It tastes pretty good; like you’re eating a Laffy Taffy.

With these benefits, why wouldn’t you add it to your diet?

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How the Sauna Can Help with Muscle Growth, Longevity and More

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 2-3 minutes

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The Sauna I Use After Every Workout

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” -Mahatma Gandhi

After listening to a podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick I decided to dig a bit deeper on sauna use and its effects on muscle growth, endurance, and longevity. After a 45 min to 1-hour weight training and stretching session, I go right into the sauna. I put a timer on my iPhone for 5-10 minutes and bring a water bottle in. I use the water on the sauna to form steam and heat up the room. This is your average sauna in a gym so it is nothing special. For those 5-10 minutes I will tend to relax and use it as a form of meditation. To note: I don’t breathe deeply as this causes me to become short of breath. I then dry off, drink some water and hop in a cold shower when I get home.

I knew that the sauna was good for your skin, immune system and as a way to detox but I wanted to learn more about its effects on the body. Here is what I found. I was amazed.

As per Dr. Patrick, Sauna Use May:

Increase Muscle Growth: Prevents protein degradation and increases protein synthesis

  • Increases release of growth hormone
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Increases production of heat shock proteins (they help to keep proteins from misfolding which is associated with many diseases of aging)

Increase endurance by:

  • increasing nutrient delivery to your muscles
  • improving your cardiovascular mechanism and reducing heart rate
  • improving thermoregulatory control and reducing core temp during workout

Positive Effects on Brain:

  • Increases release and storage of norepinephrine
  • Increases the hormone prolactin which increases myelin production
  • Increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor which increases growth of new brain cells
  • Increases expression of dynorphin.

The Relation to Longevity:

  • Increases production of heat shock proteins
  • Activates the longevity gene: FOX03-a

How often do you use the sauna?

 

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Why you should ditch wheat and start eating more saturated fat.

Written By: Maxwell Fayans

Estimated Read Time: 5-7 mins

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“Whole wheat bread increased sugar as much as or more than table sugar, or sucrose.” William Davis.

It was great to be able to challenge myself by going on the Slow Carb Diet.  I was amazed when I lost 15 lbs in 6 weeks. Rather than a quick way to lose some fat, I wondered if this could be a lifestyle change. I decided to do some research on the many reasons one should eliminate wheat from their diet and the health effects. On the Slow Carb Diet, which mainly eliminates all white carbohydrates, I started to have more energy throughout the day, I felt more agile in the gym, I felt focused at work and even slept better. Replacing wheat with foods containing fat was something that worked. I decided to start my research by skimming these 3 books:

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers

The wheat we eat today is not the same wheat our ancestors used to eat. The alterations of wheat that could potentially result in undesirable effects on humans are due to the hybridization experiments that pre-date genetic modification. Over the past 50 years, thousands of new strains have made it to the human food supply without a single effort at safety testing (William Davis).

The consumption of wheat has been tied to many health issues including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, multiple sclerosis, narcolepsy, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Alzheimer’s disease just to name a few. One of the major culprits is inflammation, specifically when it is not under control. If the body is under assault by exposure to irritants, the inflammation response stays on and spreads throughout the body. Grain is composed of many proteins, one being lectins. Lectins are easily mistaken by the body as foreign invaders and our immune system will attack it and produce antibodies against it (Robb Wolf). Prolonged inflammation can lead to the production of chemicals that are toxic to our cells,  can lead to activation of chemical pathways that increase free radical production and the increase of oxidative stress. A free radical is a molecule that has lost an election and oxidation refers to an oxygen molecule missing one of its electrons. Oxidized tissues and cells don’t function normally and lead to further inflammation (David Perlmutter).

The whole fat free idea created in our time is something I quickly realized is false. We once thought that all fats were bad for you. Saturated fats are actually essential parts of our diet and can help build stronger bones, improve cardiovascular risk factors, improve liver health, improve lung health, improve brain health, are essential for proper nerve signaling and a stronger immune system to name a few.

To bring more saturated fats into my diet I recently started to use MCT Oil in my coffee each morning. These are medium chain triglycerides that are easily burned by our bodies and quickly turned to energy in the form of ketones. They also play a major role in brain health and can improve cognitive function. MCT’s are a rich source of the precursor molecule for beta-hydroxybutyrate. This is the most important fat for brain energy utilization. Being on a ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce amyloid in the brain, increases glutathione (a brain protective antioxidant), stimulates growth of mitochondria and increases metabolic efficiency (David Perlmutter).

I first started using MCT oil with half a tbsp. in my coffee. The next day I went to 1 tbsp. This was a mistake. A warning, you will find yourself in the bathroom. I went back to ½ tbsp. for first week and then 1 tbsp. after that and have been keeping it there since. All is well. I highly recommend that you try this supplement in your coffee. You will notice the oil forming as a layer on top of the coffee. It will also make your lips nice and smooth. It is odor free and flavor free which is what I like. I feel the energy and concentration immediately and feel even more satiated throughout the morning. I encourage you to pick up one of the books above to learn more about the importance of diet in your health. I was shocked by what I learned and I am happy to be on the Slow Carb Diet as a part of my lifestyle change.

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