Dr. Kyle: 5 Tips To Boost Testosterone

Feeling slowed down? Always tired? Dwindling sex drive? These may be signs that you are suffering from low testosterone.

You may think that supplementing with testosterone is exclusive to hardcore bodybuilders. Social media is often flooded with testosterone boosting supplements that are marketed to increase muscle mass and improve physique.

Whatever the reason, more and more average Joes are turning to testosterone supplementation. According to recent studies, an increasing number of men are being diagnosed with hypogonadism. After discovering that their hormone levels are below average, many turn to their family doctor to start hormone replacement therapy. Others are looking to boost their levels naturally through diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications.

Here are 5 simple tips to naturally boost testosterone:

1. Exercise

• Not only will exercise improve muscle strength, bone density and balance, regular physical activity will boost serum testosterone levels as well. Weight training and high intensity interval training are the most effective forms of exercise to increase testosterone.

2. Diet

• Get a sufficient and healthy balance of proteins, fats and carbs. Eating lots of high-quality proteins will improve testosterone levels and enhance fat loss. Don’t over eat and don’t restrict food intake for too long either. Some testosterone boosting foods include oysters, tuna, almonds, egg yolks and beef.

3. Sleep

• Sufficient hours of sleep will vary person to person. It is recommended that you get 7-9 hours of sleep per night as a young adult. As we age this number will drop. Those that sleep <4 hours per night are often testosterone deficient. Men who sleep 5-6 hours per night have testosterone levels equivalent to men 10 years older! Must I continue? Sleep!

4. Minimize stress

• Research has shown that long periods of stress lead to chronically high cortisol levels. Too much cortisol in the system causes a reduction in testosterone. Stress often leads to over eating and accumulation of fat, thereby lowering testosterone levels further. Consider meditation or finding an activity you really enjoy. Be sure to utilize the strategies above to keep your stress in check.

5. Supplement

• A number of herbal supplements may help reduce symptoms associated with low testosterone. In addition to increasing testosterone levels, the herb “Ashwagandha” is thought to reduce stress, improve brain function, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation. Ginger extract may produce similar improvements. Prohormones such as Tribulus terrestris, Tinospora cordifolia, and icariin (horny goat weed) have not demonstrated significant improvements in testosterone in human trials.

Have any questions or concerns? Contact me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca and visit @drkylearam on Instagram and facebook.

References:

Kovac, J. R., Pan, M., Arent, S., & Lipshultz, L. I. (2016). Dietary adjuncts for improving testosterone levels in hypogonadal males. American journal of men’s health, 10(6), NP109-NP117.

Carol S. Johnston, Sherrie L. Tjonn, Pamela D. Swan; High-Protein, Low-Fat Diets Are Effective for Weight Loss and Favorably Alter Biomarkers in Healthy Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 134, Issue 3, 1 March 2004, Pages 586–591, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/134.3.586

SamuelMelamed*†UrsulaUgarten‡ArieShirom§LunaKahana∥YehudaLerman†PaulFroom*† Chronic burnout, somatic arousal and elevated salivary cortisol levels Journal of Psychosomatic Research Volume 46, Issue 6, June 1999, Pages 591-598

Walker, M. P. (2017). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams.

D. C. Cumming, M. E. Quigley, S. S. C. Yen; Acute Suppression of Circulating Testosterone Levels by Cortisol in Men, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 57, Issue 3, 1 September 1983, Pages 671–673, https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem-57-3-671

Ambiye, V. R., Langade, D., Dongre, S., Aptikar, P., Kulkarni, M., & Dongre, A. (2013). Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 571420.

Dr. Phil Shares: Why You Should Get up and Walk After Dinner

Why You Should Get up and Walk After Dinner

When you eat a heavy meal, it can often make you feel sluggish afterward and even disrupt sleep. But getting up and taking a short walk after eating can help combat this. Not only is walking a great low-impact activity to help you stay healthy overall, it can specifically aid digestion and control blood sugar levels — preventing crashes in energy. Here, a look at the research and why evening walks are particularly beneficial for digestion and controlling blood sugar:

EFFECTS OF HIGH BLOOD SUGAR

Chronic high blood sugar can negatively affect your health. Over time, it can cause damaged blood vessels, nerve problems, kidney disease and vision issues. Chronic high blood sugar can also lead to insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance, risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

HOW WALKING AFTER EATING HELPS

While walking any time of the day can have positive effects on health, taking a stroll after a meal may be especially effective for managing blood sugar levels. A study published in Diabetes Care found walking for 15 minutes after a meal three times a day was more effective in lowering glucose levels three hours after eating compared to 45 minutes of sustained walking during the day.

Walking at night might be the most beneficial since many people eat their largest meal in the evening and then tend to sit on the couch or lay down after. Another study focusing on individuals with Type 2 diabetes found that even 20 minutes of walking post-meals may have a stronger effect on lowering the glycemic impact of an evening meal in individuals with Type 2 diabetes, compared to walking before a meal or not at all.

HOW IT CAN HELP DIGESTION

Individuals suffering from digestion problems and discomfort may also see some benefits from walking. A small 2008 study found walking increased the rate at which food moved through the stomach. Other research has found that walking after a meal may improve gastric emptying in patients with longstanding diabetes, where food may typically take longer to digest and empty from the stomach.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Walking is one of the most studied forms of exercise, with research demonstrating it’s an ideal activity for improving health and longevity. Try going for a brief walk after a meal (especially in the evening) to help with digestion and blood sugar control.

Amp up your walking in general with these 50 tips to get more steps.

by Sarah Schlichter and myfitnesspal

shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: All of Us Really Are A Miracle

Sometimes we take our body’s for granted, so I found the illustrations and captions below, put it all into perspective.

Heart
http://en.bcdn.biz/Files/2015/8/27/41a7d347-67ee-4d23-860c-34893d8f2b49.JPG
Cancer
Brain
Stomach
Eyes
Energy
Red Blood Cells
Skin
Hair
Words
Liver
Saliva
Testicles
Kidneys
Hair
Digestion
Regeneration
Final Slide

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Thanks to My Mother for sharing this with me.

Dr. Kyle: The Consensus On Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. In the US, 64% of adults report drinking at least one cup of coffee per day. That’s a lot of coffee!

Many people choose coffee as their drink of choice for the wakefulness they experience due to the effects of caffeine. But how does all this coffee effect our health? As it turns out, coffee may actually have other important benefits than just getting us going in the morning.

A number of recent studies have focused on the protective effects of coffee for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Habitual coffee consumption has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular death and associated adverse outcomes such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and stroke.

Interestingly, healthy men and women from the ages 55-74 who consumed greater or equal to 2 cups of coffee a day showed about a 25% lower risk of CVD for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

Regular coffee consumption also appears to protect against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Some studies suggest it may even lower the risk of liver disease and cancer.

So what’s the secret?

Coffee is rich in polyphenols. These bioactive compounds act as potent antioxidants and help improve glucose metabolism and vascular function. One polyphenol in particular, chlorogenic acid, significantly reduces chronic inflammation.

That being said, excessive coffee consumption has also been associated with developing insomnia, anxiety, headaches and palpitations, largely due to the high caffeine content. For some people, large doses of caffeine will wreak havoc on their adrenals and lead to chronically elevated cortisol levels.

So what are my recommendation?

• Do not drink caffeinated coffee after 2pm.
• Some cream (or grass-fed butter) is ok, stay away from adding granulated sugar.
• Be mindful of your caffeine intake.
• Buy “washed” instead of “natural process” coffee beans
• Look for high quality coffee beans from Central America, grown at high altitude.

Last step: Enjoy your morning coffee guilt free. You may even notice a boost in energy and greater focus throughout the day.

References:

van Dongen LH, Mölenberg FJ, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Kromhout D, Geleijnse JM. Coffee consumption after myocardial infarction and risk of cardiovascular mortality: a prospective analysis in the Alpha Omega Cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017 Oct 1;106(4):1113-20.

Grosso G, Micek A, Godos J, Sciacca S, Pajak A, Martínez-González MA, Giovannucci EL, Galvano F. Coffee consumption and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in smokers and non-smokers: A dose-response meta-analysis.

O’Keefe JH, DiNicolantonio JJ, Lavie CJ. Coffee for cardioprotection and longevity. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. 2018 Feb 21.

Dr. Kyle: Why You Should Use The Sauna

Everyone enjoys a day at the spa for some much-needed relaxation, but did you know that time spent in the sauna may actually increase muscle gains?

Originating in Finland, this traditional passive heat therapy is becoming increasing popular world-wide. Saunas are often used for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain as well as headaches. Recent evidence has suggested benefits for high-blood pressure, neurocognitive diseases and pulmonary conditions.

Emerging studies have found a protective effect for cardiovascular disease with regular sauna use for both men and women. It turns out, the more you use the sauna the better. More time spent sweating it out, the more health benefits!

Need any more reasons to hop in the sauna?

Sauna use has also been associated with increased net protein synthesis. This is why amenities such as saunas and steam rooms have become more common place in gym and fitness facilities. After your workout may be the best time to jump in the sauna and here’s why:

1. Intense short-term heat exposure stimulates the production of heat shock proteins that reduce muscle degeneration cause by oxidative stress.
2. Produce Growth hormone for increased lean muscle mass.
3. Increased NO (nitric oxide) availability to promote blood flow and circulation.
4. Decrease inflammatory pathway activity and free radical production.
5. Improve insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to utilize glucose more efficiently.
6. Enhance the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) which synthesizes new brain cells.

Essentially, saunas stimulate the bodies autonomic nervous system in order to maintain a constant core body temperature in extreme heat. Short durations of heat stress induces adaptive mechanisms similar to exercise and have profound physiological effects.

It has also been found to help with anxiety, depression and improve parasympathetic function! Who doesn’t want a little extra mental clarity in their life.

For any questions or comments please email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca and be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook page @drkylearam.

References:

Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413

Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S. K., Khan, H., Willeit, P., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2018). Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC medicine, 16(1), 219. doi:10.1186/s12916-018-1198-0

Dr. Kyle: 4 easy steps to get rid of brain fog

For those of you who have ever experienced periods of brain fog, these tips are for you!

Common symptoms of brain fog include lack of focus, clarity, memory, and attention. Patients will often report feelings of anxiety or even confusion. For those of you who are high achievers, these daily lapses in judgment can put a halt on productivity. It’s time to reclaim your brain and boost your mental capacity!

There are a few key lifestyle hacks that will bring back your sharp mind and rid you of brain fog for good:

1. Reduce inflammation in your diet

• Remove food sensitivities (gluten, wheat, lectins, etc)
• Less carbs and plenty of healthy fats (grass-fed butter, coconut oil, animal fats)
• Fasting – upregulate brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) to help grow new brain cells!

2. Increase physical activity

• Lowers risk of developing depression and anxiety.
• Release BDNF and “feel good” neurotransmitters.
• Decrease pain perception and inflammation.
• Increase cerebral blood flow and improves cardiovascular health.
• Try high intensity interval training, sprint training and fast paced sports.

3. Sleep more

• Avoid blue light from computer/phone screens 2 hours before bed.
• Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal brain recovery.
• Try to sleep on your back, avoid sleeping on your stomach with head kinked to the side.
• Practice proper sleep hygiene: make sure room is pitch black, bed is comfortable, room at appropriate temperature, and noise reduced.

4. Mental detox

• Meditate every morning for 10 minutes (with diaphragmatic breathing).
• Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.
• Practice mindfulness, gratitude, affirmation and self-compassion.
• Challenge your mind with puzzles, strategy games and creative projects.
• Take care of your mental health
• READ

For more health and nutrition tips follow me @drkylearam on Instagram and facebook!

Dr. Phil Shares: Insulin Resistance Causes and Symptoms

One in three North Americans—including half of those age 60 and older— have a silent blood sugar problem known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases the risk for prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and a host of other serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, body fat and liver start resisting or ignoring the signal that the hormone insulin is trying to send out—which is to grab glucose out of the bloodstream and put it into our cells. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the body’s main source of fuel. We get glucose from grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and drinks that bring break down into carbohydrates.

How Insulin Resistance Develops

While genetics, aging and ethnicity play roles in developing insulin sensitivity, the driving forces behind insulin resistance include excess body weight, too much belly fat, a lack of exercise, smoking, and even skimping on sleep.4

As insulin resistance develops, your body fights back by producing more insulin. Over months and years, the beta cells in your pancreas that are working so hard to make insulin get worn out and can no longer keep pace with the demand for more and more insulin. Then – years after insulin resistance silently began – your blood sugar may begin to rise and you may develop prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. You may also develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a growing problem associated with insulin resistance that boosts your risk for liver damage and heart disease. 5

Signs and Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is usually triggered by a combination of factors linked to weight, age, genetics, being sedentary and smoking.

– A large waist. Experts say the best way to tell whether you’re at risk for insulin resistance involves a tape measure and moment of truth in front of the bathroom mirror. A waist that measures 35 inches or more for women, 40 or more for men (31.5 inches for women and 35.5 inches for men if you’re of Southeast Asian, Chinese or Japanese descent)increases the odds of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which is also linked to insulin resistance.

– You have additional signs of metabolic syndrome. According to the National Institutes of Health,in addition to a large waist, if you have three or more of the following, you likely have metabolic syndrome, which creates insulin resistance.

  • High triglycerides. Levels of 150 or higher, or taking medication to treat high levels of these blood fats.
  • Low HDLs. Low-density lipoprotein levels below 50 for women and 40 for men – or taking medication to raise low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.
  • High blood pressure. Readings of 130/85 mmHg or higher, or taking medication to control high blood pressure
  • High blood sugar. Levels of 100-125 mg/dl (the prediabetes range) or over 125 (diabetes).
  • High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

– You develop dark skin patches. If insulin resistance is severe, you may have visible skin changes. These include patches of darkened skin on the back of your neck or on your elbows, knees, knuckles or armpits. This discoloration is called acanthosis nigricans.8

Health Conditions Related to Insulin Resistance

An estimated 87 million American adults have prediabetes; 30-50% will go on to develop full-blown type 2 diabetes. In addition, up to 80% of people with type 2 diabetes have NAFLD.9 But those aren’t the only threats posed by insulin resistance.

Thanks to years of high insulin levels followed by an onslaught of cell-damaging high blood sugar, people with insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance doubles your risk for heart attack and stroke – and triples the odds that your heart attack or ‘brain attack’ will be deadly, according to the International Diabetes Federation.10

Meanwhile, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are also linked with higher risk for cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, cervix, pancreas, prostate and uterus.11, 12  The connection: High insulin levels early in insulin resistance seem to fuel the growth of tumors and to suppress the body’s ability to protect itself by killing off malignant cells. 13

How You Can Prevent or Reverse Insulin Resistance

Losing weight, getting regular exercise and not skimping on sleep can all help improve your insulin sensitivity. Don’t rely on dieting or exercise alone: in one fascinating University of New Mexico School of Medicine study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight people who lost 10% of their weight through diet plus exercise saw insulin sensitivity improve by an impressive 80%. Those who lost the same amount of weight through diet alone got a 38% increase. And those who simply got more exercise, but didn’t lose much weight, saw almost no shift in their level of insulin resistance.14 

Turn in on time, too. In a study presented at the 2015 meeting of the Obesity Society, researchers found that just one night of sleep deprivation boosted insulin resistance as much as eating high-fat foods for six months.15

Written by

The Role of Physical Therapy Postpartum

Concerned about post-pregnancy recovery?

 

 

During and after pregnancy, many women experience abdominal muscle seperation caused by stretching and thinning of the inter-abdominal connective tissue. This condition is known as Diastasis recti and is characterized by a >2cm separation of the rectus abdominis muscles at the level of the umbilicus. Many women will describe that they are able to feel a 2-finger width separation in their central abdominal muscles.

What causes abdominal muscle separation?

The most obvious contributor to this condition is increased abdominal pressure due to a small human growing inside you. This is compounded by pregnancy related changes in hormones that increase ligament laxity throughout the body. Weak abdominal muscles and insufficient tension in the network of connective tissue will increase the risk for developing diastasis recti.

  • intra-abdominal pressure
  • hormonal changes
  • weak abdominal muscles
  • strained fascial tissue

How do you treat abdominal muscle separation?

Do not be alarmed! This condition is relatively common and usually resolves on it own. For some women, separation of the abdominal muscles can last for months and even years postpartum. In rare instances invasive medical procedures are required to resolve the condition. The good news is, physical therapy before and after pregnancy can greatly improve patient outcomes.

  • nothing
  • breathing exercises
  • physical therapy
  • pre-pregancy exercise

I will let you in on one important exercise that is easy to perform in the privacy of your own home. This exercise is known as belly breathing. While keeping the rib cage down, push the belly button out as you inhale. This is done by contracting the parachute-like muscle known as the diaphragm.  This muscle pulls the lungs down and allows them to expand. Feel free to pause for a moment at the peak of your inhale and notice the fullness of the lungs. Next, draw the belly button in towards the spine as you exhale. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach so you can feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

As you continue to expand and contract your abdominal cavity you will start to exercise the inner muscular layers of the torso. By repeatedly activating these deep abdominal muscles the connective tissue will begin to retract and close the gap in the outer abdominal wall. As always these are only recommendation and a proper in-person assessment from a qualified health care professional should be completed before starting a physical rehabilitation program.

Dr. Phil Shares: 10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When you’re weight training, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on the scale to gauge your progress. You can use a body fat tester or a tape measure to track how many inches you’re losing.

The size of your body will shrink as you shed fat and build muscle, but your weight may not change as dramatically as you expect. Besides, what’s more important, the number on the scale or how you look in selfies?

If you’re still not convinced that you need to lift weights, here are 10 reasons you should reconsider.

1. Burn More Fat

Researchers at Tufts University found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice a week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle.

The control group, women who dieted but didn’t lift weights, lost only 9.2 pounds of fat and gained no muscle.

When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after working out. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

2. Change Your Body Shape

You may think your genes determine how you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”

So, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

3. Boost Your Metabolism

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss.

Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. Get Stronger and More Confident

Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

5. Build Strong Bones

It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.

Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

6. Improve Mood

You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help improve mood; weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.

7. Improve Sports Fitness

You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing… whatever sport you enjoy.

8. Reduce Injuries 

Weightlifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life.

It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis. A study conducted at the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, found that mildly disabled participants who lifted weights for 12 weeks increased the frequency and intensity at which they could work, with less pain and increased range of movement.

9. Get Heart Healthy

More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping.

Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

10. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Laura: A Valentine’s KISS Recipe

Valentine’s Day Dessert- a KISS Recipe!

Keep It Simple Sweetie!

Don’t you just love simple desserts? This won’t take long to make. There is no baking. It is free of gluten, dairy, egg, corn & soy! haha – It’s just fruit. So it’s vegan too.

How easy to please  any squeeze.

All you need is a heart shape cookie cutter, a knife and some fruit. Any melon will do. To cut the kiwi fruit, just peel it, then carve out a little notch along the oblong. Then sliver off a little along either side to make it shaped like a heart. Then cut across to make slices.

Voila!

Spread a little love!  It keeps you young & vibrant.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND