For Just 15 cents per Egg You are Getting Great Nutrition Value

Eggs are a bargain. For just 15 cents per egg you will get a lot of nutrition value. Check out my instagram post on this topic.

References:

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 2015; 8.

2 American Medical Association. Proceedings of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates. 2017; Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/media-browser/public/hod/a17-resolutions.pdf.

3 U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Retail prices for beef, pork, poultry cuts, eggs, and dairy products.

4 Coleman-Jensen, A., et al. Household Food Security in the United States in 2017. 2018.

5 Wallace, T.C., A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span. J Am Coll Nutr, 2018. 37(4): p. 269-285.

6 Mares, J., Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers in Eye Health and Disease. Annu Rev Nutr, 2016. 36: p. 571-602.\

7 Seddon, J.M., et al., Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. JAMA 1994. 272(18): p. 1413-20.

8 Wallace, T.C. and V.L. Fulgoni, Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg and Protein Food Consumption in the United States. Nutrients, 2017. 9(8).

9 Johnson, E.J., Role of lutein and zeaxanthin in visual and cognitive function throughout the lifespan. Nutr Rev, 2014. 72(9): p. 605-12.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. 2019; Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Retail prices for beef, pork, poultry cuts, eggs, and dairy products. Available from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/meat-price-spreads.aspx.

Coleman-Jensen, A., et al. Household Food Security in the United States in 2017. 2018; Available from: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/90023/err-256.pdf?v=0.

 

The Health Benefits of Collagen for Skin, Bones, and Muscles

Thanks to Life Extension for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Collagen is a structural protein that keeps skin looking young, bones and tendons healthy and ligaments strong. You can support collagen production in the body by consuming a good-quality collagen peptide supplement along with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. Let’s explore:

What does Collagen do in the Body?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is an important structural component in skin, bone, tendons and ligaments where its strength helps resist tension. This makes collagen important for strong, younger looking skin that doesn’t sag, healthy bones and tendons and stiff ligaments. Collagen is also found in lymphatic, cardiovascular, liver, lung, spleen and intestinal tissue where it is part of the structural framework.(1)
Though an important component in the body, collagen levels decrease with age due to both a decrease in collagen production and increase in collagen breakdown. In fact, adults can lose up to 1% of collagen each year!(2) This loss is probably most dramatically seen in skin tissue where the skin starts to sag and lose volume.

Improving Collagen Production

The body can make collagen by combining amino acids from protein-rich foods such as eggs, dairy, soy and beef. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis and stabilization.(3) Also, the mineral copper is critical for the enzymatic steps necessary to make collagen.(4)

Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and potatoes.

Citrus Fruit

Copper rich foods include sesame seeds, oysters, cashew nuts, pink or red lentils, sunflower seeds, radishes, kidney beans, walnuts, Brazil nuts and chestnuts.

The protein we consume is broken down in the body into amino acids, which are used as needed. Therefore, we can eat eggs or beef and the amino acids in both foods can help build collagen. Though it may seem as if it doesn’t matter what type of protein is consumed as long as we get enough of the right type of amino acids, collagen is a unique protein supplement, unlike any other protein.

Collagen is loaded with a unique sequence of amino acids that are the building blocks of collagen in the body. These amino acids include glycine, lysine, hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine. No other protein or combination of proteins compares to collagen. Also, as we age our body becomes less efficient at relying on single amino acids from different protein sources to make collagen.

While collagen supplements can support collagen production, not all collagen supplements are the same. Due to smaller particle size, collagen peptides are absorbed directly into the small intestine, improving absorption. Collagen peptides also reduce the activity of an enzyme called metalloproteinase 2, an enzyme that breaks down collagen.(5)

How Collagen Supports Bone Integrity

Though we often think of calcium and vitamin D for their roles in bone mineral density (vitamin D is needed to help bring calcium into bones while calcium helps strengthen bone), approximately one-third of bone tissue is protein. Type 1 collagen is a major component of bone tissue and is surrounded by calcium and phosphate, which help form mineralized (hard) bone.(6,7)

It is important to build bone during adolescence and early teenage years – the peak bone building years. Though bone turnover happens throughout life where old bone tissue is replaced by new bone tissue, by the early 30s a person stops building bone density. At this point moving forward throughout life bone density can only decrease. Therefore, it is important to build and maintain peak bone density.

Tips for building strong, healthy bones:

    1. Take collagen peptides
    2. Engage in resistance training at least 2 times a week, preferably 3-4 times per week. This will help build up collagen in bone tissue making bones stronger.
    3. Consume sufficient amounts of calcium to ensure peak bone mineral density. Adults and children > 4 years of age need 1300 mg of calcium daily. Calcium rich foods include dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, kefir), fatty fish, fortified orange juice. Leafy greens and other vegetable sources of calcium contain far less of this mineral compared to dairy foods.
    4. Consume enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption. Adults and children > 4 years of age need 600 mg of vitamin D daily. Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fishes, egg yolks, cheese, fortified orange juice, and fortified milk. Some yogurts are also fortified.
    5. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for bone health – lycopene rich produce like watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, bell peppers, and papaya, as well as beta cryptoxanthin rich orange colored fruits and vegetables such as squash (including pumpkin), bell peppers, tangerines, oranges, and carrots. Lycopene has been shown to support bone health.(8) Beta cryptoxanthin has a protective effect on bone tissue.(9)

In addition to its role in bone, collagen can improve tendon health and ligament strength. For more information including how to take collagen for healthy tendons and ligaments, click here.

Improving Muscle Function with Collagen

Muscle is important throughout the lifespan. Muscle enables us to not only work out but also engage in activities of daily living including lifting a child, lifting groceries or opening a jar of food. The top thing we can do to build muscle is engage in resistance training (strength training): any activity that forces the muscles to contract against resistance. In addition to resistance training, a healthy diet helps build muscle.

Just like collagen production decreasing with age, muscle mass also declines with normal age. Inactivity and poor protein or calorie intake can all affect muscle health.(10)

Though muscle is built with complete proteins, those containing all essential amino acids, collagen has a role in muscle as well. Collagen supports the endomysium, the layer of connective tissue that covers individual muscle cells. Collagen adds structure to this connective tissue and improves muscle functioning by support muscle fiber absorption and muscle contraction.(11)

How can you support healthy muscle functioning?

  1. Supplement with collagen peptides
  2. Consume high quality, complete proteins at least 3 times a day at mealtime. A complete protein has all essential amino acids. All animal proteins are complete as is soy. Plant proteins, other than soy, must be combined to make a complete protein.
  3. Exercise and include resistance training in your program at least 2 days per week, preferably 3-4 days per week. Plus, switch up your exercises so you aren’t always doing the same thing day after day.

How Does Collagen Support Youthful Skin?

Have you wondered why skin changes throughout the lifespan? Young children have a clear canvas typically uniform in color. With normal age, skin thins, and loses moisture.

Skin layers

The second layer skin tissue, the dermis, is composed of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Collagen provides strength and structure to the skin while elastin provides elasticity. As we age, collagen production declines by about 1% per year and skin starts to sag.2 Skin that has been exposed to environmental exposure has decreased collagen content likely due to greater collagen breakdown. In aged skin, collagen also looks disorganized.(12)

In addition to a decline in collagen production with age, there is also an increase in enzymatic breakdown of collagen, increased glycation and increased transdermal water loss. All of these factors contribute to older looking skin.

In addition to collagen, hyaluronic acid helps skin retain healthy moisture. In fact, 50% of the body’s hyaluronic acid is found in the skin where it is an essential component of the structurally important space between cells throughout the body. Supplementing with hyaluronic acid helps stimulate HA synthesis, restoring youthful levels of this essential compound and encouraging healthy skin hydration. Hyaluronic acid is relatively rare in foods though it is found in organ meats, bone broth and collagen.(13) Luckily, both collagen and hyaluronic acid are in Life Extension’s Gummy Science™ Youthful Collagen gummies which have zero added sugar, so you get all the skin-nourishing goodness without ingredients you don’t want! Gummy Science™ Youthful Collagen gummies contain clinically studied dosages of 2500 mg of VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® and 120 mg of hyaluronic acid. These gummies support healthy skin hydration, smooth the appearance of wrinkles and support skin elasticity.

VERISOL® collagen is an ultra-bioavailable form of type 1 collagen that is absorbed as both free amino acids and as intact collagen peptides that are transported directly to your thirsty skin. VERISOL® collagen stimulates the formation of new collagen, as well as elastin, a molecule in your skin that helps keep it smooth and supple.

Compared to placebo, VERISOL® collagen showed considerable improvement in skin elasticity levels after just 4-8 weeks of once-daily supplementation.(14) VERISOL® collagen also produced a dramatic 20% reduction in the volume and appearance of eye wrinkles after just 8 weeks (compared to placebo).(15)

There are several things you can do to support the texture of skin:

  1. Consume a collagen peptide supplement to support collagen synthesis and modulate enzymatic breakdown of collagen. Consuming collagen peptides will result in skin that looks more youthful.
  2. Consume a hyaluronic acid supplement for healthy skin moisture. Life Extension’s Gummy Science™ Youthful Collagen gummies make it easy to get both collagen and hyaluronic acid.
  3. Use a good quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen every day (even in the winter) to help minimize environmental exposure.
  4. Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to help maintain youthful skin.(16) Be sure to focus on vitamin C-and copper-rich foods.
  5. Watch sugar intake. Excess sugar binds to collagen in a reaction called glycation. This can affect the structure and function of collagen.

Collagen is an important structural protein in bone, tendons, ligaments, muscle and skin health. Though you can find collagen in food sources like bone broth, collagen peptide supplements are more easily absorbed than other forms of collagen. A healthy, plant-based diet is also critical for collagen formation and decreasing collagen breakdown in the body. In particular, a diet containing plenty of vitamin C-rich foods as well as copper-rich foods supports collagen synthesis in the body. Also, along with collagen, calcium, vitamin D and other bone building nutrients, food sources of lycopene and beta cryptoxanthin (found in many fruits and vegetables) support healthy bone. Lastly, staying well hydrated and well rested will improve skin texture.

VERISOL® and Bioactive Collagen Peptides® are registered trademarks of GELITA AG. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

 

 

References:

1 Shuster S, Black MM, McVitie E. The influence of age and sex on skin thickness, skin collagen and density. Br J Dermatol 1975; 93(6):639-43

2 Peterkofsky B. Ascorbate requirement for hydroxylation and secretion of procollagen: relationship to inhibition of collagen synthesis in scurvy. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;54(6 Suppl):1135S-1140S.

3 Borkow G. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin. Curr Chem Biol 2014; 8(2): 89–102.

4 Shoulders MD, Raines RT. Collagen structure and stability. Annu Rev Biochem 2009; 78: 929–958.

5 Zague V, de Freitas V, da Costa Rosa M, de Castro GA, Jaeger RG, Machado-Santelli GM. Collagen hydrolysate intake increases skin collagen expression and suppresses matrix metalloproteinase 2 activity. J Med Food 2011;14(6): 618-24.

6 Tzaphlidou M. Bone Architecture: Collagen Structure and Calcium/Phosphorus Maps. J Biol Phys 2008; 34(1-2): 39–49.

7 Ritchie RO, Buehler MJ, Hansma P. Plasticity and toughness in bone. Physics Today 2009;41-46.

8 Sahni S, Hannan MT, Blumberg J, Cupples LA, Kiel DK, Tucker KL. Protective Effect of Total Carotenoid and Lycopene Intake on the Risk of Hip Fracture: A 17-Year Follow-Up From the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. J Bone Miner Res 2009; 24(6): 1086–1094.

9 Yamaguchi M. Role of carotenoid β-cryptoxanthin in bone homeostasis. J Biomed Sci 2012; 19(1): 36.

10 Bone Health and Osteoporosis. A Report of the Surgeon General. Office of the Surgeon General (US). Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2004.

11 Gillies AR, Lieber RL. Structure and Function of the Skeletal Muscle Extracellular Matrix. Muscle Nerve 2011; 44(3): 318–331.

12 Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol 2012; 4(3): 308–319.

13 Kawada C, Yoshida T, Yoshida H, Matsuoka R1, Sakamoto W, Odanaka W, Sato T, Yamasaki T, Kanemitsu T, Masuda Y, Urushibata O. Ingested hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin. Nutr J 2014;13:70.

14 Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2014;27(1):47-55.

15 Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, Segger D, Degwert J, Oesser S. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2014;27(3):113-9.

16 Mekić S, Jacobs LC, Hamer MA, Ikram MA, Schoufour JD, Gunn DA, Kiefte-de Jong JC, Nijsten T. A healthy diet in women is associated with less facial wrinkles in a large Dutch population-based cohort. J Am Acad Dermatol 2019;80(5):1358-1363.

 

Are Greens Powders Worth the Money?

There is little to no evidence that greens powders are important for good health. But, this doesn’t mean they are worthless. Before you take anything, ask yourself, “what do I hope to achieve by taking this and, is there a better alternative?” If you don’t eat greens, figure out a way to eat them (check out the last paragraph here). If you are really stubborn and refuse to eat greens, a greens powder might make a difference. There’s little to no good research to tell us it will help you. But, it might help and it probably won’t hurt (unless you are on a blood thinner that warrants eating consistent intake of vitamin K rich foods). If you love your greens supplement, try mixing some into meat patties when you are grilling or cooking (read on to find out why).

Health Benefits of Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are good for us. They are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as plant-based compounds that protect our body from harm. Leafy greens are part of the MIND Diet, a diet associated with better brain health and lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the DASH diet or a Mediterranean style diet. As part of the MIND diet, eat at least 6 servings of greens per week. (1) A diet high in green leafy and cruciferous vegetables significantly reduces the incidence of several types of cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and blood vessels). (2) Greater intake of fruits and vegetables is related to lowered risk of cognitive impairment, lowered risk of a number of types of cancer and lowered risk of death from all causes. (3, 4, 5, 6)

Greens Supplements

Greens supplements contain some vitamins and minerals (all of which you can get elsewhere). Some contain fiber, others do not. For most greens powders on the market we don’t know if the beneficial compounds in greens are actually found in the finished product. While greens contain antioxidants and other plant compounds that are important for good health, some of these are destroyed upon exposure to high heat and processing. At times cooking (boiling and steaming) improves the antioxidant content of vegetables (7). But, we don’t know if this holds true for greens supplements.

I found one good study on dried powders (a wide variety of veggies including beets, broccoli, carrots, celery and more were used) that found several different powders (the kind used by food scientists) improved oxidative stability of turkey patties while decreasing the formation of potentially toxic compounds formed during cooking. In this study the greens powders used clearly contained bioactive compounds that can positively impact human health. (8)

Here’s how to add more leafy greens to your diet:

  • Freeze greens that are about to go bad and blend them and shakes. Very sweet fruits such as mango (I use frozen mango), pears and apples will overpower the bitterness in some greens.
  • Blend leafy greens into red tomato sauce or other sauces
  • Coat your favorite leafy green such as kale with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.
  • Blend them into pesto.
  • Incorporate leafy greens in your favorite bowl.
  • Pile pizza with leafy greens.
  • Add greens to sandwiches and wraps
  • Add greens to soups (cut finely).
  • Use greens in stir fry dishes (bok choy is a favorite here).
  • Massage curly kale with olive oil (yes, massage with your hands) and add a little salt. You won’t believe how good this is!
  • Cut greens into fine strips and add to pasta dishes.
  • Make a meal from a baked potato with cheese or cottage cheese, leafy greens and nuts or seeds
  • Use lettuce wraps instead of bread.
  • Add greens to your omelets, burgers, casserole, pie (dinner pie not dessert pie) and meatloaf.

References:

1 Alzheimers Dement 2015;11(9): 1015-1022.
2 JRSM Cardiovasc Dis 2016 Jan-Dec, 5: 204 8004016661435.
3 Front Aging Neurosci. 2017; 9: 18.
4 Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 May;83(5):1126-34.
5 Ann Oncol. 2016 Jan;27(1):81-96.
6 BMJ. 2014 Jul 29;349:g4490
7 J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (1), pp 139–147
8 Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1241–1252.

Collagen for Strong Tendons and Ligaments

collagen for stronger tendons and ligamentsCollagen (or gelatin) + a good source of vitamin C can make your tendons and ligaments stronger. This may help you return to play faster. Take this combination 60 minutes before activity. It takes 30 – 60 minutes for the amino acids in collagen (namely proline, glycine, lysine, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine, which are building blocks of collagen, the primary protein in ligaments, tendons and bone) to peak in your bloodstream. This way they will peak right when the pumping action of joints (from physical activity or physical therapy) delivers blood and therefore nutrients including these amino acids and vitamin C to your tissue. You need vitamin C to build collagen. A glass of juice or an orange delivers plenty of vitamin C. You don’t need a supplement. Large doses of vitamin C are not beneficial for muscle and can delay the process of building new proteins in muscle after resistance training.

Building Healthy Tendons

Training with fast, explosive movements builds stiffer tendons. Stiff tendons make athletes explosive (I think of it like a pogo stick; anyone else play on these when they were kids?). Tendons connect a soft tissue, muscle, to a hard tissue, bone. Therefore, tendons must be more pliable near the muscle and stiffer as they get closer to the bone. Stiffer tendons have more molecular crosslinks connecting collagen to fibrils. This ability to stretch near the muscle helps protect the muscle from injury by absorbing shock. Tendons that are too stiff are more likely to be injured (think of an old rubber band that is stiff, pull it too much and it may break).

If you have a tendon injury, your physical therapist or strength coach might have you do slow movements (eccentric movements – lengthening the muscle, like the downward phase of a biceps curl; isometric holds). These movements increase collagen content but decrease collagen crosslinking in the part of the tendon closest to the muscle making it more pliable and therefore less prone to injury. Take collagen / gelatin + a source of vitamin C beforehand to further benefit collagen production in tendons.

Building Healthy Ligaments

Ligaments connect bone to bone. They need to be stiff to resist injury. Collagen synthesis in ligaments (and bone) is maximized by intermittent bouts of up to 10 minutes of activity separated by 6 or more hours of rest. Your physical therapist or rehab specialist may have you performing < 10-minute bouts of activity targeting the injured tendon or ligament separated by 6 hours before another bout. Be sure to take collagen or gelatin + a source of vitamin C 30 minutes to 1 hour beforehand to improve collagen synthesis even more.

There are huge differences in a person’s response to collagen hydrolysate and gelatin. Expect more coming out soon from Keith Barr about this.

Heating destroys vitamin C so, jello won’t do the trick (unless you already have a sufficient amount of vitamin C in your body).

Vegan? Try soy but, you need a lot more to get higher doses of these amino acids (around 58 grams of soy protein has the same proline and glycine as 15 grams of gelatin).

Interesting tidbits: Lack of physical activity makes tendons stiff. An athlete with a boot on his leg may feel very explosive once that boot comes off. In women, when estrogen is high during the menstrual cycle there is decreased crosslinking of collagen in ligaments leading to decreased stiffness of ligaments and greater chance of ligament rupture (ACLs etc.).

Am J Clin Nutr 2017;105(1):136-143.
Sports Med 2017;47(Suppl 1):5-11.

Are NSAIDs Safe for Cartilage and Health?

NSAIDsNSAIDs can help decrease inflammation and pain from musculoskeletal injuries, menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis and more. However, they come with some major potential side effects.

NSAIDs can Destroy Cartilage

NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Advil) and indomethacin may speed up the breakdown of cartilage in osteoarthritic joints. They might also inhibit tissue repair. But, not all studies show NSAIDs damage cartilage. It may depend on the specific NSAID. The best study I’ve seen to date (and also published in a very reputable journal) found older adults (a group that commonly has osteoarthritis) who used NSAIDs including diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, ketoprofen and piroxican for an extended period of time had higher risk of cartilage defects and nonsignificant loss of cartilage compared to nonusers.

Osteoarthritis is very common (athletes, older adults, those who are overweight, those who have been very active their whole life) and is “wear and tear” arthritis; symptoms include joint pain and stiffness.

If you have mild osteoarthritis look for other solutions including curcumin, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and boswella serrata AKBA.

NSAIDs Can Lead to Major Side Effects:

In most cases the increase in risk is statistically significant but very small (see below in blue).

  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Risk increases even with short term use (1 week) and increases more with higher doses of NSAIDs used for a longer period of time.

The increase in risk is about 20 – 50% higher if using NSAIDs vs. not using them. What does this mean? If you take NSAIDs the risk of heart attack is about 1% per year. 

Aspirin does not increase risk.

  • Heart attack and stroke risk is greatest in those who already have heart disease though people without heart disease are at risk.

“Patients treated w/ NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to those not treated with NSAIDs” (FDA).

  • Increased risk of a bleeding ulcer in the stomach or intestines. Bleeding often comes without symptoms. Bleeding could lead to death. Risk increases in those who drink alcohol, smoke, take corticosteroids and anticoagulants, those who are older and people in poor health.
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage; very low risk
  • Anemia; when used for a prolonged time due to wearing of the stomach lining and therefore decreased absorption of iron and / or an increase in bleeding.
  • High blood pressure
  • Central nervous system issues headache, fatigue
  • Asthma attacks in those with asthma
  • Risk of bleeding
  • Hives

Safer Use of NSAIDs

Lower your risk of harmful side effects from NSAIDs by doing the following:

  • Take the lowest effective dose.
  • Take your NSAID for the shortest possible time.
  • Don’t take more than one NSAID at a time!
  • Find other solutions for pain (see my previous and upcoming posts, especially on Instagram).
  • If you notice any other symptoms including black tar like poop, skin rashes, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes, nausea, feeling tired, swelling or vomiting, call your doctor ASAP.
  • Call 911 ASAP if you experience any heart attack, stroke or allergy symptoms including but not limited to shortness of breath, pain in chest, arm or neck; difficulty speaking, headache, blurred vision, droopy face, swelling in throat or face.

Tylenol may be a better option though it can cause liver damage if taken in doses > 4 g per day

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) might be okay for very short-term use if you have:

  • No bleeding history
  • You are well hydrated, healthy and without renal issues.

Types of NSAIDs:

There are many different NSAIDs on the market and each one has a generic name and sometimes several trade names.

Types of NSAIDs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind, NSAIDs are not a long-term solution to pain. Also, most NSAID safety data is not from athletes.

References:
FDA
Br J Clin Pharmacol 2010;69(6):689-700.
Ther Clin Risk Manag 2015;11:1061-1075.
Eur J Rheumatol Inflamm 1993;13(1):7-16.
J Prolotherapy 2010;(2)1:305-322.
Arthritis Rheum 2005(52):3137-3142.
Inflammation 2002;26:139-142.
Am J Med 2009;122(9):836-842.
World J Gastroenterol 2010;16(45):5651–5661.

NSAIDs Can Help Decrease Inflammation and Pain but Impact Muscle Gains

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) including ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib and indomethacin can decrease pain. Take them for the shortest possible time as they can be harmful.

Should you use NSAIDs? If you must get back to work ASAP then consider the risks vs. benefits. Talk to your pharmacist and physician (MD).

NSAIDs can help decrease inflammation and pain

NSAIDs can Help Decrease Pain from:

  • Acute ligament sprain – use for < 5 days. NSAIDs reduce pain and swelling so you can return to activity faster.
  • Osteoarthritis (cartilage wear and tear)
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness. When taken for several days before muscle damaging exercise, NSAIDs may reduce soreness. Take with caution as they can wreck your strength gains (see below).
  • Muscle bruise (contusion). Short term use can decrease inflammation with no adverse effects on healing.
  • Tendonitis – reduces inflammation and helps recovery. NSAIDs may do more harm than good for chronic tendon issues.

How NSAIDs Impact your Strength Gains

  • Short-term low dose (400 mg ibuprofen) use may have no real impact on muscle strength or size.
  • Longer term, higher doses (1,200 mg ibuprofen) may compromise muscle growth and, when training was preformed with all-out max reps, strength gains were also compromised.
  • The elderly may benefit due to a decrease in inflammation from taking NSAIDs. Chronic inflammation, which is not uncommon in the elderly, impairs strength gains. NSAIDs help tame inflammation.
  • After muscle injuries, NSAIDs can help reduce strength loss, soreness and muscle markers of inflammation, particularly when lower body muscles are injured.

Why do NSAIDs Impact Training (Strength) Gains?

NSAIDs work by blocking COX enzymes. COX enzymes alter prostaglandin synthesis, mediators of inflammation and pain. Prostaglandins have other actions in the body including regulation of muscle protein metabolism. Decreases in the prostaglandin PGFare associated with decreased protein synthesis and reduced muscle fiber size. In one study, 1200 mg ibuprofen blocked protein synthesis after resistance training. Other studies show signaling responses in muscle are decreased for hours or days after resistance training when NSAIDs are used.

References:
Arthritis Res Ther 2013;15(Suppl 3):S2.
Annals of Phys and Rehab Med 2010;278-288.
Am J Sports Med 2004;32(8):1856-9.
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2002;282(3):E551-6.
Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2018;222(2).
J Physiol 2009;587(Pt 24): 5799-5800.
Am J Sports Med 2018;46(1):224-233.

 

Supplement Testing for Banned Substances

Banned substance testing

You can’t guarantee your supplement is completely free from banned substances. However, choosing a supplement that has been 3rd party tested (tested for banned substances by an outside company) provides added safety. Just because a supplement passes 3rd party testing this

doesn’t mean the supplement is safe for you. A sports dietitian with experience can determine if a supplement is safe for you. They will take your medical history, medications, health status, diet, training and other factors into account. It is also a good idea to double check supplement ingredient and drug interactions with your pharmacist.

  1. No testing company tests for all substances banned by MLB or WADA (World Anti-doping agency). Check out the WADA list by clicking here.

No certification program covers all banned substances for any sporting group. Why not? None of these lists are finite – they are always changing. Almost all sporting bodies (MLB, WADA, NFL etc.) include language that drugs with ‘similar biological effect or similar chemical structure’ or ‘including but not limited to the examples below’ are banned. These means drugs not listed may be banned. MLB says the list is a ‘non-exhaustive list’.

At this time, testing companies such as NSF, BSCG, Informed Choice and Aegis Shield fall short on testing for peptide hormones on the MLB list. The digestive track breaks down these drugs (such as HGH or IGF-1) when taken orally,  rendering them useless. So they will not likely have an effect if added to a supplement and taken orally (though they will if injected). MLB would like 3rd party testing companies to add peptide hormones to their tests. NSF and BSCG test for some though not all SARMs (selectiveandrogen receptor modulators). SARMs are tissue-selective (designed to decrease the progression of sarcopenia, the slow progressive decline in muscle mass and strength that occurs with age starting when a person is in their 40s or 50s).

    1. No testing company ensures a product meets 100% of its label claim (this isn’t a FDA requirement). For instance, a supplement may say it contains 20 grams of protein. However, it may actually contain 16 grams (or less because no testing company takes amino spiking / nitrogen spiking into account).

Click on the link below for a thorough snapshot of the most popular 3rd party testing programs:

Supplement Testing Programs

How do banned substances get in supplements?

Spiking supplements with banned substances can make the product “work.” Banned substances may also contaminate a supplement during processing. As an example, let’s say a production line (bottling line) bottles pharmaceutical weight loss drugs. A dietary supplement uses the same line to bottle their products. It is important to clean the machinery thoroughly after the weight loss drug is bottled and before the supplement is bottled.

You can’t be 100% sure your supplement contains no banned substances. However, you can go the extra mile by choosing a 3rd party tested supplement.

Are you in the NFL, NHL or MLB? You must use supplements that are NSF Certified for Sport only.

References:
1 FDA Guidance on Labeling. 
2 NSF for Sport. 
3 Informed Choice.
4 https://www.aegisshield.com/file/4839211-certification/GQ-6.Flooid.Green-Apple.216152.pdf
5 NSF 306 Guide 2016. NSF International Certification Guideline for Certified for Sport Program.
6 They spike compounds into formulas and run the formulas through analytical tests to ensure their tests will pick up banned substances within a supplement or food matrix.
7 The Aegis Shield app reviews products for banned ingredients listed on the product label. The app is not an assurance of safety as products listed on the app have not been through 3rd party testing.
8 This includes drugs on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and other banned substance lists like the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, PGA, LPGA, CrossFit, UFC and other related programs.
9 This includes drugs that are on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and other banned substance lists like the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, PGA, LPGA, CrossFit, UFC and other related programs.

 

 

Summertime Entertaining Recipes that will Delight Your Guests

What should you serve when it’s close to 100 degrees outside and you have guests coming over? Though it may be tempting to run to the store and buy prepared dips and potato salad, I have a few fresh ideas that will impress your guests.

Cool down with seasonal beverages

Individual sun teas with fruit come in beautiful colors and flavors to quench your guest’s thirst for something unique. Tea (black, green and oolong) is calorie free yet packed with health benefits. Regular tea drinkers have a low risk of developing heart disease. Adding fruit – orange slices, blueberries, and sliced peaches lends flavor and a healthy touch.

POM Princess is one of my new all time favorite drinks. Find the recipe here. The color pops and it’s refreshing + pure pomegranate juice also boasts polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant compounds being studied in the areas of athletic performance, memory and cognition, gut health, and more.

Pack Plant Foods into Mini Dishes

Plant-based mini dishes add eye appeal, flavor and great nutrition. Cucumber egg salad mini sandwiches are a good source of protein thanks to the eggs. Plus, using cucumbers as the bread helps you get more vegetables in your diet and lends a crunchy and pleasing texture on the outside of the creamy egg salad.

Who doesn’t love cheese Tortellini? Well this version, tortellini with pistachio basil pesto, is even better thanks to pistachio basil pesto. This pesto is easy to make and packed with good nutrition. Pistachios contain good for you fats. In fact, nearly 90% of the fats found in pistachios are the better-for-you mono and polyunsaturated type. Plus, they provide a good source of protein and fiber, for a trio that can help keep you fuller longer.

Baked cauliflower bites are super easy to make and so tasty even those who claim they don’t love vegetables will fall for this dish.

Give them a Sweet Treat

No party is complete without dessert and I love summertime desserts because they’re typically lighter and refreshing. Plus you can provide small portions that are inviting and satisfying. For mini portions – I love individual key lime cheesecakes.

 

SpringTime Entertaining Ideas that will Delight Your Guests

What should you serve when it’s close to 100 degrees outside and you have guests coming over? Though it may be tempting to run to the store and buy prepared dips and potato salad, you can wow your guests in no time with these ideas from registered dietitian Marie Spano.

 

Me: If you are thirsty for new ideas, I’m sharing a few new twists on Summertime entertaining.

 

Cool down with seasonal beverages
I have a few drinks that your guests will love! Individual sun teas with fruit are full of beautiful colors and flavors to quench your guest thirst for something different. Tea drinkers have lower risk of heart disease and the addition of fruit lends an added healthy touch.

 

Pom Princess is a flavor-packed drink made with POM wonderful 100% pomegranate juice, lemon juice and sparkling water. The color pops and it’s refreshing + pure pomegranate juice also boasts polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant compounds being studied in the areas of athletic performance, memory and cognition, gut health, and more. Each 8 oz bottle contains the juice of two whole pomegranates– no added sugar, fillers or preservatives.

 

Peanut Butter Whey Protein Bites

Protein Bites are easy to make and packed with good nutrition – including fiber and protein. Plus you can alter this recipe based on the flavor or texture you are looking for (see below for ideas). Here are two basic recipes:

Protein Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats (use quick oats for a smoother texture)
  • 1/2 cup whey protein (vanilla, chocolate or plain)

Change the flavor by adding any of the following:

  • Vanilla powder or sugar
  • 100% maple syrup instead of honey
  • Any nut or seed butter instead of peanut butter
  • coconut flakes
  • chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • orange peel (use honey and walnut butter instead of peanut butter)
  • caramel

Decrease the sugar and calories by using part VitaFiber and part honey.

Directions
Add all ingredients to a KitchenAid mixer or other high powered mixer and blend until smooth. Shape into bars.

Almond Protein Bites

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup whey
  • 3 Tbsp agave syrup

Directions:
Bake at 320°F for 30 minutes.

Here is a recipe I’ve been meaning to try (and add protein powder too) because it looks amazing: Margarita Energy Bites